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Lifespan of the Average Bit?

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  • Lifespan of the Average Bit?

    A couple of years ago I bought a bit from a "big name" gaited horse trainer's booth at Equine Affaire. It cost about $70. The bit has a copper ball in the center of the mouthpiece, which allows each side to move independently. It seemed to work pretty well for me and my TWH. I generally ride him a minimum of 2.5 hours at a time, several days a week. He was relaxed and responsive to it (though I don't give the bit credit for MAKING him that way).

    However, a couple of months ago I noticed that the mouthpiece was separating from the copper ball on one side. Not a huge gap, but enough to make it a concern that it COULD create pinching or discomfort for my horse. I soon learned that other people have had similar experiences with the bit.

    The "trainer" who markets this bit has a message board where people can post questions and comments, and a few posted about the issue with the separation and concerns about the comfort for the horse or whether the bit could potentially break entirely during a ride. I was more than a little disappointed in the trainer's direct response to some of the questions.

    In the trainer's own words, "As you've had 'a couple years of good use' from the product, which was/is economically priced, you've got your original money's worth. I highly encourage anyone who has been using any piece of equipment for long to check it out before every single ride. Horses are notoriously hard on gear. We all know that bridles, bits, saddles, breastcollars, etc., are prone to 'wear and tear,' and if not carefully checked regularly, might fail at a crucial moment" and "I'm convinced that everyone got their money's worth with this piece of equipment. Personally, if I got two or more years of use from a product in this price category, and decided it needed replacement, I'd never consider asking the retailer for a refund or replacement. I guess that's the price one pays for always going the extra mile to try to keep everyone happy."

    A few of the trainer's "fans" stepped in to back the trainer up, saying that they expected to replace their bits every couple of years because their horses chewed on them so much.

    My question is - is it too much to expect a $70 bit to last more than a couple of years?

    (And no, I won't be "replacing" my current bit with another of the same. I have other independent-side-movement bits that have held up through years of use, and I will stick with them in the future.)
    Please copy and paste this to your signature if you know someone, or have been affected by someone who needs a smack upside the head. Lets raise awareness.

  • #2
    Um, I have a bit that I've been using for about 25 years.

    I guess if it has fancy-schmancy stuff on it, it might break somewhere down the line, but several years later?

    If I paid $70 for a bit, I'd damned well expect it to last more than 2 years.
    Homeopathy claims water can cure you since it once held medicine. That's like saying you can get sustenance from an empty plate because it once held food.

    Comment


    • #3
      Uh, yeah, a bit should last for years.

      "As you've had 'a couple years of good use' from the product, which was/is economically priced, you've got your original money's worth" - not

      Economical is my $25 Coronet french link - but while the price is economical, the construction is sound and it's still going strong 6 years later.

      Hmph.
      <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.

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      • #4
        I expect a metal bit to last indefinitely.

        $70 is a premium bit, more than double the cost of an ordinary bit. I would expect it to last indefinitely, and if stainless steel, indefinitely + 1.
        If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

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        • #5
          There are bits in the storage shed on my grandparents' ranch that were used, regularly, for 40 years.

          Comment


          • #6
            The "average" bit is a simple shape made of stainless steel and lasts practically forever.

            A complicated shape made of a soft metal like copper? I'd expect that to last a lot less time.

            Comment


            • #7
              I would be angry about having to replace any bit within 5 years, maybe 10, with the exception of rubber or rubber covered bits. That said, I have bits that are at least 20 years old and no where near retirement.

              Comment


              • #8
                I replace X's bit about once a year. It's a rubber snaffle and he chews the rubber. However I've been riding Kaye in the same snaffle for at least 10 years. It cost me $20 and it's still going strong. I'll probably still be using it in another 10 years. If I paid $70 for a bit I'd be pretty pissed at replacing it after 2 years.
                http://xtrapony.blogspot.com <-- X's Blog

                http://photobucket.com/xtrapony

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                • #9
                  I dunno, without seeing the bit in question - if the bit was designed so that it had a "weak spot" or used soft metals that could break/wear with wear and tear I'd say you took the risk when you bought it (same with a rubber or Nathe bit (same price range)). If you horse likes it and you like it then you probably did get your money's worth (but that's personal). You can definitely spend a whole lot more $$$$ on a bit.

                  I'd do some research to find a similar bit made with different materials or slightly different construction before reinvesting though.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I think the issue is that copper roller. Copper is a softer metal and the tongue/saliva actually will wear it down in time more then stainless or other metals. Having said that we have a copper mouth D that while now is definately thinner then it started is just now going to be replaced this year at 7 years old of daily use and it was $20 new. My Happy Mouth bits I replace every 2-3 years because they will get teeth marks in them, but again I am paying $25-$35 for them. I don't see how a $70 bit is economically priced at all. The most expensive bit I own was $65 and that is the curb bit on my double bridle, which is now 15 years old.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by tangledweb View Post
                      The "average" bit is a simple shape made of stainless steel and lasts practically forever.

                      A complicated shape made of a soft metal like copper? I'd expect that to last a lot less time.
                      Understood. The only copper on the bit is a "ball" in the center of the mouthpiece, so it's not what I'd consider a complicated shape. It's not significantly wider than the rest of the mouthpiece. No more than the center in a French link. And the copper itself still looks as new as the day I bought it. There is something in the way that the steel mouthpiece attaches to the center ball that is faulty and causing it to break away.

                      As I've spent more time reading the trainer's boards, I've noticed that the names of other brands of saddles or tack, besides the trainer's own line, are edited out of posts (leaving only asterisks) by the moderators. Apparently, the trainer does not like any alternative or "competing" brands to be mentioned.

                      Wish I'd known that before buying the bit. . .seems that the trainer has quite a few Kool-aid followers.

                      Live and learn, I guess.
                      Last edited by JollyBadger; May. 14, 2009, 02:11 PM. Reason: Clarification
                      Please copy and paste this to your signature if you know someone, or have been affected by someone who needs a smack upside the head. Lets raise awareness.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        http://images.google.com/imgres?imgu...a%3DN%26um%3D1

                        Ok, granted, the address is very long, but I'm not that computer savy.....

                        Is this the type of bit that you were using? I've had mine for going on 10 years and its still in great condition. I would also be upset at having to replace a bit after only 2 years...

                        If this is what you're talking about, just google "Billy Allen Bit" and you'll find hundreds, most less than $30-$40.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Even English bits with copper roller pieces don't cost anywhere near $70.

                          I tend to stay with the D-ring french links and loose ring snaffles, but I don't see any reason a bit with a copper roller should break apart after only 2 years.
                          Homeopathy claims water can cure you since it once held medicine. That's like saying you can get sustenance from an empty plate because it once held food.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I know some cavalry re-enactors who ride with original Civil War era bits.

                            The more complex a bit the shorter its likely life expectancy (which is true about almost everything).

                            I'd send it back to manufacturer and ask for a replacement. If they do it then they are "stand up" folks and you should disclose the "big name." If they refuse they are schmucks and you should disclose the "big name."

                            G.
                            Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Unless is a Happy Mouth or something Rubber, I'd expect a replacement unless it was obvious that I did something to screw it up.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I would expect a metal bit to outlast several horses.
                                ... _. ._ .._. .._

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  The bit that was used regularly on the last horse left the ranch in the early 80s was a ported curb with a roller. I recall it as having hinged cheeks too, but I could be misremembering. That bit was at least 40 years old, I've seen photos of my dad riding with it as a child. I think you should be able to expect more than 2-3 years, even if there are moving parts

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    If I paid $70 for a bit, I'd be pissed if I ever had to replace it, at least on account of anything a horse's mouth could do to it. If I ran over it with the truck, then maybe not.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I had to replace my Happy Mouth after a year - methinks it tasted a little too good for the little bay mare. But I have had metal bits last for years and year - I have a twisted D-ring that is still going strong after 8 years, and a Myler that is still working hard after about 5 years. For a regular snaffle or mullen mouth, I wouldn't think they'd ever wear out - you start adding more pieces to it and more moveable parts and softer metals, yeah that should wear out faster, but two years? I think not.
                                      http://www.chronicleofmyhorse.com/profile/Ashley26

                                      "You keep one leg on one side, the other leg on the other side, and your mind in the middle." -- Henry Taylor, "Riding Lesson"

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by Char View Post
                                        http://images.google.com/imgres?imgu...a%3DN%26um%3D1

                                        Ok, granted, the address is very long, but I'm not that computer savy.....

                                        Is this the type of bit that you were using? I've had mine for going on 10 years and its still in great condition. I would also be upset at having to replace a bit after only 2 years...

                                        If this is what you're talking about, just google "Billy Allen Bit" and you'll find hundreds, most less than $30-$40.
                                        The one I have is a different bit - specifically "designed/created" by the trainer. Though I bought it directly from the trainer's booth at Equine Affaire a couple of years ago, I think that it is now being sold exclusively through National Bridle Shop, along with all of the trainer's whole line of expensive gaited horse items (saddles, bridles, pads, you name it).

                                        Apparently the bit I purchased is no longer being made with the copper-ball center.
                                        Please copy and paste this to your signature if you know someone, or have been affected by someone who needs a smack upside the head. Lets raise awareness.

                                        Comment

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