Our Boucher bit is a 5” wide, single-jointed snaffle. What makes the Boucher different is the fixed location of the loops for the cheek pieces. The bars of this bit are about ??” in diameter tapering to 1/3”. The joint is about ??” in diameter. The rings for the bit are 2 1/4” with the straight 3” up to the loops for the cheek pieces. Cheek loops are 1 1/4” diameter.
Materials: This bit is made of German silver and is light gold in color. German silver is an alloy of 60% copper that is heavier than stainless steel.
Features/Workmanship: The bars of this bit are only slightly curved, almost straight. Any jointed bit must be closely checked for the symmetry of its bars. If the bars are not equal in length, the bit may lie crooked in the horse’s mouth and contribute to the horse evading the aids by traveling crooked. For example, approaching a fence, the horse will have its head and neck a little to one side and swing its haunches the other way, making steering difficult and maybe causing a run-out refusal at the jump. The rings for the reins are not loose but in a fixed position with a separate loop for the cheek pieces, like an old type of Pelham but without the shank.
The bars attach with a hinge-like arrangement, which could pinch the corners of some horse’s mouths. Although this bit is well joined to minimize pinching, it could begin to do so if it becomes loose or worn.
To check the amount a bit might pinch the corners of the horse’s lips, place the bit against the seat of your thumb and first finger. Move the hinge back and forth. Just like the corner of the horse’s mouth, you can feel if your loose skin can be pinched or abraded there. Even an eggbutt bit can pinch in this area if it is improperly manufactured leaving sharp edges or rough areas.
Action: When rein pressure is applied, the joint closes and squeezes on the lower jaw, lips and bars and, depending on conformation of the mouth, the tongue. The joint itself will, on a small number of horses, hit the roof of the mouth. This is more likely to occur in horses with low palates.
The high cheek loops theoretically apply some pressure to the horse’s poll, encouraging a lowering of the head. Although this pressure is slight, bear in mind that the poll area is quite sensitive.
The cheeks also stabilize the bit in the horse’s mouth, holding it at a precise angle. If the bit can’t rotate, it is more likely to work on the same area of the mouth each time. The horse’s tongue can’t play with this bit as easily as a loose ring. Some very sensitive horses may go better in it because they are less likely to use their tongues to drag the bit back and forth against the roof of their mouths and hit their teeth with it. It’s actually good that a horse plays with the bit a little because that shows he knows it’s there and it causes him to salivate more. However, a horse that plays with the bit too much ignores the rider’s cues in favor of his own feedback from the bit.
A single-jointed bit better enables the rider to send signals to one side of the horse’s mouth at a time than a straight bar. The jointed bit also gives a softer feel in the rider’s hands. However, a traditional loose-ring bit will give a softer, more mobile feel to a rider’s hands than the Boucher with its fixed ring and fixed cheek.
Warnings: Because this bit can pinch, keep an eye on the corners of the horse’s lips. Also, as with any jointed bit, be certain it fits the width of the horse’s mouth. An overly wide bit can be pulled back and dropped forward in the mouth by the horse’s tongue, irritating the roof of the mouth, hitting the molars, or hitting the tush teeth in a gelding (and some mares). Too wide a jointed bit also provides for the horse more opportunity to get his tongue over the bit. And, of course, if the bit is too narrow, the chance of pinching the corners of the mouth increases.
Uses: We would suggest this bit for horses that either fuss with the bit and or are high-headed.
Legality: It is legal for dressage and combined training.