So you’ve decided to take the plunge and buy your horse a new Neue Schule Bit! They will love you for it. But before you go ahead and buy the bit, there are various measurements to consider when deciding what bit to go for. These include the length, thickness, ring size and overall design. A poorly fitting bit can cause trauma to your horses mouth in the form of cuts, rubs or abrasions so it’s important to ensure the fit is correct before buying.
The first thing to do is to take your horses mouth measurements which will determine the length of the mouthpiece. The easiest DIY way to do this is using a piece of string, or a the handle of a wooden spoon. Place either into your horses mouth (hoping they cooperate!) and mark where the corners of their mouth are either with a rubber band or a marker. Then, lay the string or wooden spoon handle against a ruler to determine the length. Depending on which bit you are buying you may need to add an extra 1/8th of an inch either side to the overall measurement. We’ll go into the different bits below.
The bit you would like to go for will slightly influence the length needed for your horse. When fitting for a fixed cheek (Fixed cheek bits include the Baucher or Hanging Cheek, Full Cheek, D Ring, Eggbutt, Cheltenham Gag, and Nelson Gag.) the lip should gently brush up against the side of the ring for sung but not tight fit.
If you choose to go for a loose ring bit (loose ring designs include the NS Team Up, Universal, Beval and Balding Gag), then you will need to add an extra 1/8th of an inch either side. This is due to the fact that the corners of the horses mouth could get pinched into the holes of the loose ring.
The width of a bit refers to the thickness of the mouthpiece. Generally, the thinner the mouthpiece, the more severe it will be in the horse’s mouth. In contrast, the thicker the mouthpiece, the easier it will be in the horses mouth. However, it’s important to remember that the bit can’t be too thick in relation to the space in the mouth. Horses with a thicker tongue will actually need a thinner bit, as a thicker one will be uncomfortable for the horse, and even make swallowing difficult for them. If you’d like to check your horses tongue size, it’s best to consult your equine dentist or vet for them to check. Generally, 14-16mm is a good middle ground for the thickness of the mouthpiece.
If you’ve gone for a loose ring design, you’ll also need to double check the ring sizes for your horse. This measurement is taken from inner edge of the loose ring and is generally measured in millimetres; 70mm being the average for the standard loose ring bit; 55mm is the typical bridoon ring size.
Neue Schule bits are produced using state of the art design and manufacturing techniques. They work with Computer Aided Design and a mathematical formula is inbuilt, so they do not lose the integrity of the design with varying sizes. All of the mouthpieces use individual casting moulds and the designs are available in quarter inch increments. This ensures that a correct fit is obtained to effectively employ the correct pressure points within the mouth to maximise on the horses comfort.
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