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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb. 25, 2011
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    6

    Default Bits: Purchase Length vs Shank Length

    I'm still learning about western bits and have read many bit descriptions that list the purchase lenght and the shank length. I know which part of the bit each of these terms is referring to. But am wondering how the length of the purchase affects the severity/action of the mouthpiece. Also not exactly sure on how the shank length affects this too. Any advise?

    Thanks!!!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 2005
    Location
    Strasburg, PA "Just west of Paradise"
    Posts
    3,969

    Default

    Purchase = upper part
    Shank = lower part

    See picture
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 25, 2011
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Yes, I know this. I'm wondering how the length of each affects the action of the mouthpiece/bit.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 3, 2008
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    243



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 2, 2007
    Posts
    514

    Default

    The other thing that's worth keeping in mind is that, as warm and fuzzy as "tongue relief" sounds, by removing pressure from the tongue on some bits it increases pressure on the bars. That can make a mouthpiece dramatically more harsh independently of the shanks.

    Some curve to the cross bar of a mouthpiece can sometimes be beneficial to accommodate some tongue shapes, but a tall, wide port build into that bar can be quite harsh as well.

    Conversely something like a spade, even with a tall port, offers so much surface area that it's comparatively much less pressure in any one given area and in some ways can be considered much less "harsh".



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2003
    Location
    MI USA
    Posts
    7,150

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by aktill View Post
    Conversely something like a spade, even with a tall port, offers so much surface area that it's comparatively much less pressure in any one given area and in some ways can be considered much less "harsh".
    Anyone using a Spade bit as you describe, pulling and spreading out the pressure, shouldn't be allowed to have the bit!

    It isn't surface area that lets the Spade bit work well, it is balance and TRAINING of the horse. Training a horse to wear a Spade bit is nothing that happens fast. Those skilled horses work with barely a lift of the reins and pulling on them is a nasty thing to do with the Spade bit in their mouth. They don't need the pull to respond if well trained, just the touch or lifted rein.

    Not all horses going into the training, will reach the level of skill needed to wear the Spade bit well. Those less skilled horses need to be wearing another style bit other than a Spade bit of any design.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 2, 2007
    Posts
    514

    Default

    With respect, I didn't describe using it any way. I'm well aware of what's required to prepare a horse for the spade. My point was merely that a spade has multiple ways of signalling pressure and is much more horse friendly than almost any non-signal curb bit (especially a correction bit).



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