Icelandic Horse Connection

Metal Differences In Bits

The most important thing for your Icelandic Horse, if you use a bit, is to have one that fits him and that he likes.

If he opens his mouth when he has the bit, it may indicate that it doesn't fit; maybe he needs a different style, or brand.

Icelandic Horses have low palates, in general, and single jointed snaffles may be too severe for them by poking them and never having any relief from the joint, particularly if the rider rides with contact.

Try riding / training your Icelandic Pony on a casual rein (no contact). He will probably appreciate it!

By Brandon Carpenter:

This is about preferences in metal on the bit mouthpieces.

The Myler I like is sweet iron or what was once called mild steel. It is inlayed with very small bits of copper. All the different horses I used this bit on have one thing in common. The inlay portion of the bit is positioned between the lips because it is on the outside portion of the bars. I doubt very much if the copper has any affect at all on the horses. I sure haven't noticed any salivation differences with this bit.

Copper will cause more salivation in some horses than others. It can be a very useful tool to keep a mouth moist, but if the salivation is because the copper is offensive to the horse then I won't use it.

Stainless steel seems to not be as pleasant as sweet iron. I have found horses to just not have quite the response with stainless. They seem to not accept the bit as well.

In my opinion aluminum is horrible. It definately makes the horses mouth go cold the longer it is in the mouth. Aluminum has the same affect on us. If you hold it quite a while, you can feel the affect. Ever sit on aluminum bleachers during a sporting event? Anyone I have ever watched begins to figit and complains of a numb butt. I know my butt gets numb quickly, not like sitting on wooden bleachers.

My Grandfather was given a pair of aluminum spurs. Every time he wore them, after a few hours he complained that his feet felt like they were asleep. Over the period of many weeks, he couldn't figure out what was causing the problem. He checked that they were spread wide enough on his boot, and not pinching even in the slightest. He then thought about what aluminum does to a horses mouth. He didn't figure that it could do the same thing through his boot. He began to not wear them at times and had no problem when he left them off. When they went on, his feet felt numb.

We have experimented with this on others. Without them knowing what we were doing, we have had them wear the aluminum spurs. Guess what happened? Yes, hard to believe, but true.

As a little kid, I had a pair of aluminum spurs and my feet also felt numb after time, I just didn't know the difference until I out grew the spurs.

I have tasted and held bits in my mouth many times. Usually not where anyone would see so I could be confirmed crazy. Others I have talked to have done the same thing. Copper seems to have the widest variety of tastes or sensations of most of the bits tried. Our body chemistry I suspect is the culprit. There is no reason why horses don't have the same differences in chemistry to cause the same differences.

One of the things I have seen many horses salivate because of is over flexing at the pole, especially when the rider won't get out of the mouth. The salivary glands are being palpated constantly causing excess salivation. Ever see some of the big lick horses have a river of drool?

Brandon Carpenter
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