Curb Bit - Mouthpiece

Mouthpiece

The curb bit's mouthpiece controls the pressure on the tongue, roof of the mouth, and bars. A mullen mouth places even pressure on the bars and tongue. A port places more pressure on the bars, but provides room for the tongue. A high port may act on the roof of the mouth as it touches. Some western style curbs, particularly the Spade Bit, have both a straight bar mouthpiece and a high welded port., thus acting on the bars, tongue and palate. In the wrong hands, such bits can be extremely severe, but on an exquisitely trained animal, they allow the rider to communicate with the horse with a simple touch of the fingertips to the reins.

Curb bits can also be purchased with a variety of jointed mouthpieces that are sometimes mistakenly called "snaffles", some of which (like the twisted wire) can further increase severity. Jointed mouthpieces increase the pressure on the bars due to the nutcracker action of the mouthpiece. In addition, the joint angle is altered by the shank leverate to tip the bit downward and into the tongue. These bits, sometimes called "cowboy snaffles" due to their popularity among western riders, are actually more harsh than a curb with a simple, solid, ported mouthpiece.

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