Although there are hundreds of design variations, the basic families of bits are defined by the way in which they use or do not use leverage. They include:
- Direct pressure bits without leverage:
- Leverage bits:
- Curb bit: A bit that uses a type of lever called a shank that puts pressure not only on the mouth, but also on the poll and chin groove.
- Pelham bit: A single curb bit with two sets of reins attached to rings at the mouthpiece and end of the shank. Partly combines snaffle and curb pressure.
- Kimblewick or Kimberwicke: A hybrid design that uses a slight amount of mild curb leverage on a bit ring by use of set rein placement on the ring.
- Bit combinations
- Non-curb leverage designs:
- Gag bit:A bit that, depending on design, may outwardly resemble a snaffle or a curb, but with added slots or rings that provide leverage by sliding the bit up in the horse's mouth, a very severe design.
- In-hand bits are designed for leading horses only, and include the:
- Chifney Anti-Rearing Bit: This is a semi-circular-shaped bit with three rings and a port or straight mouth piece used when leading horses. The port or straight piece goes inside the mouth, and the circular part lies under the jaw. The bit is attached to separate head piece or the head collar and the lead is clipped onto the bit and headcollar to limit the severity.
- Tattersall ring bit
- Horse-shoe stallion bit
Bits are further described by the style of mouthpiece that goes inside the horse's mouth as well as by the type of bit ring or bit shank that is outside the mouth, to which the reins are attached.
Types of headgear for horses that exert control with a noseband rather than a bit are usually called hackamores, though the term "bitless bridle" has become a popular colloquialism in recent years.
Read more about this topic: Bit (horse)
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