The roller bit is designed with a trainer in mind who wants to change his horse’s habitual way of responding to a bit.
Description: This bit has a ??” thick copper roller in the middle of a 5” wide mouthpiece. Two hinges (as opposed to joints) flank the roller, and the arms of the mouthpiece are about ??” in diameter. The roller is free to slide right and left on its bar. The bit rings are D-shaped with hinge attachments. The straight side of the D is 3 ??” long.
Mouthpiece Material: The mouthpiece is made of copper and stainless steel. Any jointed bit should be examined for symmetry. An asymmetrical bit can affect the straightness of a horse’s whole way of going. Also check that any joints/hinges move freely without a place where the bit gets stuck in a certain position. Check that a roller rolls easily and smoothly. In some positions our test bit got stuck, and the roller didn’t keep rolling.
Features: The arms of the mouthpiece on each side of the roller are straight. The two hinges let this bit fit around the contours of the lower jaw and tongue. The roller invites the tongue to move. The D rings add stability to control the position where the bit sits in the mouth and also help prevent the bit from being pulled through the horse’s mouth laterally.
Action/Fit: The D rings limit the amount that the mouthpiece can rotate within the horse’s mouth. When pressure is applied, the two hinges fold around the lower jaw, causing much less of a nutcracker effect than a single-jointed bit. The hinges allow the bit to bend only in two directions as opposed to the looser swivel of a traditional joint.
When using a hinged or jointed bit, take into account the size of the horse’s lower jaw. If the bit is too wide a horse can slide the joints back into his mouth and irritate the molars and his palate or roof. When folded forward, the bit can hit the teeth or the horse can easily get his tongue over it. These problems can cause a horse to toss his head in discomfort, even with a mild bit.
The horse’s tongue should find the roller inviting, encouraging movement and relaxation of the jaw. The copper in the roller is supposed to stimulate salivation, which acts as a cushion to soften the feel of the bit in the mouth.
The roller on this bit is large enough to cause irritation in a horse with a low palate. Check the height of the horse’s mouth by either looking in from the side and waiting for the mouth to close or placing your fingers inside carefully.
The D rings can cause discomfort to horses with upper molars of a certain type of conformation. As the top corner of the D moves (from bit manipulation or the horse’s normal chewing), it can hit the cheek on top of the upper molar. The horse will then flip its head from the discomfort. A horse who needs its teeth attended to will be much more violent about it.
Not all horses have this problem with D ring bits. Some horses like the stability a D ring provides and will go much more quietly in a D than a loose ring with the same mouthpiece or even an egg butt with the same mouthpiece.
Uses: Our test horses surprised us. The first horse behaved as if the bit were a mullen mouth, an unjointed bar bit. She didn’t play with it, and it stayed still in her mouth. The second horse decided this bit was painful, and she couldn’t deal with it. She tossed her head and threatened to rear. She has a busy mouth and likes to chew on her bits, including this one. We saw teeth marks from her molars on either side of the hinge. It’s likely that this bit in a smaller size would be more useful to her. Oddly, the horse that carries her bit quietly found she could lean on this bit and ignore it, and the horse who normally has a busy mouth went crazy and could not deal with it. Be observant if you try this bit, noting your horse’s reactions.
The bit is best as a schooling bit for an older horse. It would most likely be used by an experienced trainer for a horse that is ignoring its current bit. It needs to be carefully fitted. We do not recommend it for green horses or riders.
Legality: Not legal for dressage and combined training. Libertyville Saddle Shop #5-1130 $29.50. 800/872-3353.
Also With This Article
Click here to view ”The Fit Affects Bit Severity.”