Honestly, it's a crap shoot for a fussy mare I have who goes... okay... in a baucher but is freaking brillant bitless.
My trainer finally sighed and said "Maybe a leatherbit??" so, I called and asked if they could make them and they agreed, they had no idea what they were doing and neither do I, but if it makes the princess happy, then... it's worth a shot.
Yes, they could certainly be chewed through but I'm not concerned about that with my girl.
how is the leather cured? i've been thinking of a leatherbit for my mare and would want one without toxicity but with apple or peppermint flavour instead for her. though i can just imagine how drooly she'd be,lol.
A synthetic alternative is the Herm Sprenger Duo. Flexible, thin-ish plastic. Not as soft as leather I assume, but much more flexible than happy mouth. More durable than leather. I don't often see them in tack shops but they are in the HS catalog. Shops can order them if needed.
I've seen several different leather bits on racing tack shop sites and have been tempted to try them over the years for sensitive mouthed horses. Usually they are thicker than the ones OP posted. Makes sense and better than wrapping with latex tape.
I tried my mare in a Nathe and she REALLY didn't like it. I was kind of thinking the leather would evoke the same response, but it certainly did not.
She has gone well in a waterford and a happy mouth previously, so I think this is a similar feel for her with less bite.
It's also very light weight and she gets a little twitchy about her ears and poll (goes best in a micklem) so I think that helps, also.
One of my students pony goes in a waterford to jump and a french link on the flat and is very defensive of any bit contact. I wouldn't jump her in this but she went right to sitting in the contact when I worked her on the flat. Relaxed back, no tension. No "popping" up when I tried to make an adjustment.
I rode my gelding in it today, who normally goes in a happy mouth and is very soft mouthed, and he curled up and wouldn't sit on it at all. Very interesting testing these!
I have one more soft mouthed TB who goes in a nathe that I'd like to try in it.
I do find it interesting that a waterford is not legal for dressage, but a strip of leather is.
Years ago I used a leatherbit when breaking a young horse...I have no idea who made it, but it looked just like the ones the OP posted, and about the same thickness. It was soft for this baby we used it on.