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English vs Western bits

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  • English vs Western bits

    So I just went on ActionRiderTack.com (thanks to the recent thread with their HILARIOUS shipping e mail!) and I noticed that there was a section for "English Bits" and "Western Bits."

    Obviously, this is helpful for the shopper, but it got me thinking.
    What exactly makes a western bit western and an english bit english? I know a lot of western bits have shanks and they're used differently due to amount of contact, etc. But is a western snaffle similar to an english one?
    I looked at the snaffle sections in both and they seem to have very similar bits.

    Lastly, is it okay to use an "english bit" on a western bridle or vice versa? I let my SO borrow my eggbutt snaffle for his pony who wasnt responding well to other bits he was trying. Pony seems to like it better.
    Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
    White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

    Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.

  • #2
    Originally posted by AliCat518 View Post
    What exactly makes a western bit western and an english bit english?
    Style and tradition.

    A ring snaffle is a ring snaffle, whether it's marketed for dressage or dressed up with silver.

    If you aren't showing you can use whatever bit you want on whatever bridle you want.

    Just be prepared for the barn fashion police to be ahgasted.

    Comment


    • #3
      What gaited said- A snaffle is a snaffle. Some bits however you will only find in the english or western world. I've never seen a western horse ridden in a mullen mouth rubber pelham or an english horse ridden in a cathedral port.
      Fils Du Reverdy (Revy)- 1993 Selle Francais Gelding
      My equine soulmate
      Mischief Managed (Tully)- JC Priceless Jewel 2002 TB Gelding

      Comment


      • #4
        As far as ring snaffles they are all the same.

        Western snaffles usually attach to the cheek piece in a kinda T shape like this:
        http://www.amazon.com/Copper-Mouth-D.../dp/B001AVNDZW

        English ones attach is all sorts of ways that I'm sure you're used to. Since I have rode english for about 15 years and only western for about 4, I have many, many more english bits that western so I school a lot of western horses in english snaffles... I wouldn't show in them however, but it really makes no difference to the horse, snaffle wise.

        Comment


        • #5
          In my experience, the difference is usually price. I could pay $60 and up for an elevator bit or find the same thing in 'western' for $25 (and yes, I've used it foxhunting and not been struck by lightning or the fashion police). Conversely I have English egg butt bits that might go on a western headstall depending on the horse.

          If I were to be showing I suppose I would make sure I passed muster. But since I rarely do these days, no worries!

          Comment


          • #6
            sometimes the mouthpieces in the snaffle will be thinner for a western snaffle

            also the western D will look like the one in the link overhunter posted while an english D will look more like a D

            you are also much more likely to find a sweet iron or copper mouth in the western bits and rubber for english bits

            Comment


            • #7
              Interesting question. There are western pelhams, sorta kinda, but no Western kimberwicks/kimblewicks, although I'm sure a wretched Myler D-ring with "hooks" comes real freaking close. I've tacked up Western many a time with a cute little kimberwick bit on my cute little horse and gone on to trail ride. And I've wondered, why the heck couldnt I ride my horse (that's accustomed to go in a curb alone) using a weymouth alone? Would the world end? I mean, I'd really rather NOT use a bit with 8 inch shanks on it, seems like overkill.

              Comment


              • #8
                There are alot of similarities, and to me, with your basic snaffle bits they can cross over between the two. The D ring snaffle I am using on my hunter right now is the same snaffle bit I used to show my western pleasure horse in when she was young. And my "AA" tradition ruled trainer thinks that it is perfectly fine. When you get to more advanced bits, there are some differences, but there are always going to be similarities. For example - when I was showing all-around at the breed shows, my horses that showed in curbs for western usually went in a kimberwick or a Myler with a port - very easy for the horse to cross over between the two.

                On a side rant - I wish people would realize the similarities here. I board at an all discipline barn that is closer to my house than my trainers and had a natural horsemanship person come up and accuse me of all "English" bits being too harsh on a horses mouth (see smooth mouth D ring snaffle or rubber covered snaffle above), too tight in the mouth (she thought there should be no wrinkles at the corner of the mouth - my mare has 2), and that I was being cruel for using both a hackamore and a bit (ie my cavesson). She had no interest in me showing her the "cruel" bit, that no reins were attacked to the "hackamore", just pointing out how cruel I was. Okay, I'm going to end here - just had to vent for a sec.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by sandsarita View Post
                  On a side rant - I wish people would realize the similarities here. I board at an all discipline barn that is closer to my house than my trainers and had a natural horsemanship person come up and accuse me of all "English" bits being too harsh on a horses mouth (see smooth mouth D ring snaffle or rubber covered snaffle above), too tight in the mouth (she thought there should be no wrinkles at the corner of the mouth - my mare has 2), and that I was being cruel for using both a hackamore and a bit (ie my cavesson). She had no interest in me showing her the "cruel" bit, that no reins were attacked to the "hackamore", just pointing out how cruel I was. Okay, I'm going to end here - just had to vent for a sec.
                  At least we cruel English people don't feel the need to walk around with big whips where ever we go... Oh wait, carrot sticks...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by sandsarita View Post
                    a natural horsemanship person come up and accuse me of all "English" bits being too harsh on a horses mouth (see smooth mouth D ring snaffle or rubber covered snaffle above), too tight in the mouth (she thought there should be no wrinkles at the corner of the mouth - my mare has 2), and that I was being cruel for using both a hackamore and a bit (ie my cavesson).
                    'Natural' does not IMO figure into the equation. This is just a person lacking in general horsemanship and knowledge!

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