Friday, 17 December 2010

Our New Web Shopping Site Launched Today

Sherwood Equestrian is delighted to announce that their new Equestrian supplies on-line shop has gone 'live' today. Catering for competing equestrians, Show and Eventing clothes for men, women and juniors are supplemented by specialist equestrian underwear and horse care products.


We have uploaded thirty of our most popular items for the web shop launch and will be adding a number of products each week.

Sherwood Equestrian recommends the EQUETECH® clothing range in the secure knowledge that the garments are designed by riders for riders - and the majority of products have been manufactured in Britain by British companies. We are stockists for the superb ranges of products from EQUETECH® SHIRES, CHARLES OWEN, RACESAFE, ELICO and others.

Quality clothing is constantly developing. Our selection of event and showing garments include Hats, Jackets, Jodhpurs, Breeches, Shirts, Waistcoats, Stocks, Ties, gloves etc. for all age groups. Please visit www.SherwoodEquestrian.co.uk

Monday, 6 December 2010

Small Gifts for Horses & Riders

At Sherwood Equestrian's ebay shop, we have gifts from just £1!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Equestrian Christmas Gifts: stocking fillers


... for your horse, your children, your friends, yourself!

Our featured product:

2 New Elico Christmas Rein Sleeves
Great present for any horse lover or simply treat yourself (& your horse) this Christmas.
Fun and festive
Approx 12 inches in length.
Bell in the middle of the sleeves to give that festive sound.
Colour: Red with white imitation fur at each end.
Only £1.50 for the pair

Here are some more examples of what's in our shop right now (all under £10):

children's socks £4.99
children's socks £4.99
children's socks £4.99
Ladies socks £3.00
Argyle Socks £4.50
Phone Holder £3.50
Comb Set £1.50
Equerry Wash Brush £5.25

Grooming Glove £2.75
There are many more stocking fillers under £10 - visit our ebay shop now!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

A ROUND-UP OF EQUESTRIAN BITS

There are many factors that should be considered when choosing which bit is appropriate for your horse, for advice on which is most suitable for your needs, someone with lots of experience who knows you and your horse should be consulted.

Bits work on many different areas of the horse’s head: the tongue, bars, corners of mouth and lips, roof of mouth, side of fact, chin groove, poll and nose.

There are essentially five difference types of bit. All work on different areas of the horse and therefore have a different result. Within the different types, bits have varying severity, for example, in the snaffle family, a Dr Bristol is far more severe than a French Link, even though they are both snaffles. To help explain how this works, we have had a look at the different families of bit to help you decide which one is right for you.


Links: SNAFFLES, DOUBLE, PELHAM, GAGS, BITLESS 


As well as choosing the type of bit, consideration needs to be given to the appropriate material:
  • Stainless steel - safe and easy to clean, stainless steel is the normal material that bits are made from.
  • Copper - is softer and can be used to cover other metal mouthpieces, It can be used to help horses mouth the bit and encourage salivation. Many horses like the taste.
  • Cupro Nickel and German Silver - these bits have a light gold colour and have a unique flavour which can help the horse to soften
  • Sweet Iron – is darker in colour and encourages the horse to salivate, This in turn produces a pleasant taste.
  • Rubber – makes a very soft and very kind bit. Because of the nature of the material, bits made from rubber should always have metal reinforcement running through the centre in case the horse chews through.
  • Synthetic – usually light but very strong. They are also quite gentle on the horse’s mouth.
  • Vulcanite – a type of rubber that is hardened by heat. Vulcanite mouthpieces are often very thick meaning that they gentle on the horse’s mouth.


Link: FITTING & SIZES



Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Do you know the HorseWorld Charity?


HorseWorld was set up in 1952 as "The Friends of Bristol Horses Society" in a campaign to save the lives of working horses who were rapidly being replaced by motorised vehicles in industry. Under the banner of “Retirement Not Slaughter” - for many were destined for the abattoir - we offered a safe haven in Bristol for the big-hearted horses, ponies and donkeys that had worked all of their lives on the railways, in the dockyards, the coal mines, the armed forces and on the roads.

Although almost 60 years later working horses are largely a memory of the past, there is still a very real demand for the charity to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home up to 100 abandoned, neglected and mistreated horses every year.

HorseWorld is now responsible for over 100 horses, ponies and donkeys at their Bristol site and over 300 who have been re-homed throughout the South-West.

If you are able to: re-home a horse.

If you're not able to re-home a horse but would like to adopt one at a distance, how about: Popeye.

Or, if you're just in the vicinity of Bristol, why not spend the day? There's lots to see and do for adults and children. Take a look at their Visitor Centre.
 

Friday, 15 October 2010

Sherwood Equestrian Supplies StormTrooper Boots.

We recently received an interesting 'thank you' letter enclosing photographs of some riding boots purchased by one of our customers.

In her spare time, Samantha Jones is an Officer in the Imperial Army of Stormtroopers, part of the UK Garrison, which in turn, is part of a worldwide costuming group called the 501st Legion.

Over 300 costumed members belong to the UK Garrison, appearing at various events around the country for a charitable donation. Primarily supporting Make a Wish Foundation and MediCinema, they also support local or small scale charity events to help boost their fundraising.

Samantha says that the Stormtroopers are often invited to help promote various media events such as film screenings and celebrity appearances. As a no-profit group, donations are put in their charity 'pot'.

Lucasfilm has generously allowed the group to operate using the StarWars 'Intellectual Property' in order to raise funds for communities and charities, enabling the volunteers to enjoy their hobby to its full extent, whilst raising money for worthy causes.

Their web site, www.ukgarrison.co.uk, has a lot more information.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Common Skin problems in Horses

There are a number of common skin conditions and a horse's coat is a good indicator of poor health, or possibly one of the conditions listed below:-

Mud Fever
Most common in Mid Winter. Not caused by mud. Easy to spot usually on lower legs and belly.

Symptoms are:
  • Lesions and scabs with possible discharge,
  • Hair loss,
  • Heat,
  • Swelling and discomfort.
Caused by constant wetting of the skin which causes a breakdown of the protective barrier of the epidermis. This allows bacteria to enter and infection to take hold.

Treatment is mainly keeping the skin dry and clean. The horse may have to be stabled away from the mud and wet outside.

The treatment may include dealing with the specific organisms under the scabs. These therefore have to be lifted and removed at the beginning. Area should be washed using a mild disinfectant such as chiorhexidine, iodine wash, surgical scrub. or use a medicated shampoo. Rinse well and dry thoroughly.

There are several creams and lotion that may help such as Zinc, Caster Oil, Lead Acetate and several others. These can all play a part.

Ringworm

This is an infection of the skin and hair and is caused by a fungus. It can be passed between animals and humans.

Symptoms appear as scaly areas and small crusted spots. It also appears as circular scaly areas of skin. It can appear with or without hair loss.
  • Treatment can be by anti-fungal shampoos and washes.
  • All equipment should also be thoroughly disinfected.
Urtocaria

This is an allergic response which causes unsightly lumps over large area of skin. Although unsightly it does not cause the horse discomfort.

It is generally caused by an allergy to something in the feed or environment.

Causes include:-
  • Feed,
  • Medication,
  • Supplements,
  • Change of Hay,
  • Insects,
  • Pollen and mould.
Treatment is to try and revert back to previous environments, feed or bedding.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Quick Tips for Clipping your Horse

Top Tips for Clips:
  • Get used to feel and weight of the clippers before starting.
  • If you are a beginner it makes sense to start with a horse that is well behaved.
  • With a horse being clipped for the first time, start with shoulders/neck to allow them to get used to the clippers in a less sensitive area.
  • Use a small pair of clippers that make less noise. Introduce the horse to the feel of the clippers over a period of a few days by placing them on the coat but not actually cutting any hairs, let them get used to the noise.
  • With a horse used to clipping start with the head as they can get bored.
  • Make sure your clippers are well maintained with blades that are sharp to avoid pulling the hair.
  • Make sure the clippers do not get too hot and carry out regular oiling of the blades.
  • Thoroughly groom your horse before clipping and remove any grease and mud.
  • Put a bandage on the tail to prevent long hair getting in the way. Plait mane and forelock if needed.
  • Use a piece of chalk or saddle soap to get straight lines. A numnah that is normally used can be used as a template to get the shape and position right when carrying out a Hunter Clip.
  • Run the clippers against the lie of the coat. Make sure you have all the equipment to hand before starting with the horse, groomed and in a head collar.
  • Long smooth strokes help to avoid the appearance of tram-lines with the natural lines of the coat followed and the blades moving in the right direction.
  • Keep a rug close by to partially cover the horse to keep them warm while you continue the clip.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Clipping your Horse

Nature allows horses to evolve their coats to suit changing seasons and climates, i.e. their coats will grow thicker in winter to help them cope with colder weather. Renewal is a natural way of keeping horses and ponies coats in good health and condition.

It seems strange, then, to clip that nice warm coat - just to replace it with a rug! But clipping is an important part of horse management, especially for competition horses. Because of the relationship between humans and horses, their thick winter coat is usually no longer required; many horses are now stabled during the winter and, together with concentrated feeds and artificial heating, can result in the animal becoming overheated. Many horses are now clipped in order to prevent such situations.

Overheating can cause many problems for horses, just as for humans, and it is difficult to keep a horse in good condition if there is excessive sweating.

Horses could also catch a chill if a thick coat takes a long time to dry after exercise, etc.; the coat can be difficult to groom and may become matted or cause skin infections.

Clipping can make it easier to inspect the horse's skin when grooming. This should be a daily check. Thick coat hair provides ideal conditions for bacteria to thrive, so clipping can prevent medical conditions from occurring.

When to Clip 

In the UK and similar climates, clipping usually occurs in October as this is when the weather begins to get cold and the growth in the winter coat is just beginning. By coincidence(?), the start of the hunting season begins in October and the horse needs to be fit for the hunt.

A second clip may be required in December and, again, lightly in February. Clipping will, of course, depend on the rate of growth, the weather and the specific horse. Most books advise not to clip after February.

Use your own judgement or that of a someone with experience when deciding if and when to clip, to be of highest benefit your horse. The timings and style of clip should never be a copycat exercise just because someone else you know has already done it.

Types of Clips
  • Full clip - Total removal of all coat including legs and face. Used with many hunters and eventers.
  • Hunter - Removal of all coat except legs and saddle patch.
  • Blanket - Coat left in legs and wither to tail. Extends halfway down sides. Keeps loins and kidneys warm for horses that are in turnout.
  • Chaser - The coat is left on top half of neck and body.
  • Trace  - Top part of coat and legs and head is left on. Good for horses in medium work or those that are turned out a lot.
  • Bib - Neck and belly coat removed. Good for light work that causes a little sweat but still needs some coat protection.

Friday, 13 August 2010

New Web Site Launch Countdown

It's been a long time coming but we are pleased to say that our new web site with on-line shop will be launched sometime in the next few weeks, we are aiming for end of November.

Sherwood Equestrian will launch the site with a select number of items, ranging from horse-care products to clothing - men's and ladies' underwear and popular good quality equestrian clothes.

We hope to see you in our 'shop' and in the meantime, please see our eBay store for end-of-season equestrian boots & riding wear bargains.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

THEFT OF FOAL FROM CALDECOTE ROAD, BALDOCK, HERTS.

This is a message from Karen Broad the Police Community Support Officer for Hertfordshire Horse Watch.

"Between 06.00 and 13.30 hours on 26th July 2010, a mare and 2 month old foal were stolen from a field in Caldecote Road, Baldock.

The mare was later found a few fields away minus her foal; the foal is 2 months old, dark Brown in colour with no marks (we are still awaiting photos and more details).

Please keep your eyes peeled for this little foal as her mother is desperate for it back and I am sure the foal is missing its mother.

Please keep your foals safe as you cannot micro chip them till they are a bit older it makes them very vulnerable."

If you have any information on the above foal please call 0845 33 00 222 and quote ref G4/10/567

Monday, 2 August 2010

The Welfare of your Horse

Herts-based CleanRound has launched a new product range that:

  • Prevents Strangles -- Clean Round's potent ingredient, DuoMax E10 kills the Streptococcus Equi bacteria
  • Kills Ring Worm -- DuoMax E10 in Clean Round kills a broad spectrum of Fungi, Bacteria and viruses
  • Controls Sweet-Itch -- DuoMax E10 has been shown to alleviates the symptoms of Sweet Itch

We've not tried CleanRound equine wash products ourselves but we are following with interest. If you have any feedback, we'd love to hear from you.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Equestrian underwear that won't ride up!

Active equestrians, both male and female, are more comfortable with clothes designed for the rigours of horse-riding. This most certainly includes under garments that stay put despite all the activity.

Some of Sherwood Equestrian's most popular product ranges are men's and ladies' undies - bras as well as pants.

Here are some examples from our extensive Equetech range:

Friday, 25 June 2010

What is an English Saddle and why do they enjoy world-wide popularity?

The design of an English saddle has no horn nor other elements that protrude above the main tree of the saddle. Historically based on the English hunting saddle that developed to allow the rider more movement and flexibility due to its low pommel, the English saddle is now the standard for all of the Olympic equestrian disciplines.

The English saddle, designed to allow the horse freedom of movement, provided the basic design for show jumping, dressage and eventing saddles.


A show jumping saddle features a forward flap that allows for shorter length stirrups for controlled jumps.

For dressage, the pommel is slightly higher and the stirrups are longer. The seat is deeper and usually wider for a more comfortable position.


The English showing saddle is a direct descendant of the English hunting saddle.

English saddles are also used for polo. They are no longer manufactured only in England and many of the cheaper varieties are made in India. However, England-based English saddlery companies are held in high regard.

Sherwood Equestrian clothing is available at www.SherwoodEquestrian.com

Photographs courtesy of www.MoritzSaddlery.com, exporters of English Saddlery.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Testimonials from some of our Customers

As a family-run business supplying good quality Equestrian clothing via the Internet, we like to provide our customers with a quality service to match.

The following feedback can be found on our eBay shop where we sell off much of our previous season Equestrian clothing at keen prices:
  • fantastic doing business with you thank you very much x
  • The Item is good quality and came very quickly
  • Great product really fast delivery - delighted thanks!!!!
  • very quick delivery and a pleasure to deal with, thanks
  • Well made gloves and excellent packing
  • arrived quickly..look great on..great bargain..Many thanks
  • Arrived promptly and is just as described. Very pleased.
  • excellent service and as described : )
  • BRILLIANT SERVICE FROM A GREAT SHOP. THANK YOU
Sherwood Equestrian.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

2012 Olympic Games, Equestrian Events at Greenwich Park

The governing body for the sport of Eventing in Great Britain recommended Greenwich Park as a venue for the 2012 London Olympic Games after a range of options was considered; it has been confirmed as the chosen venue for the equestrian competitions.

The site places equestrian sport at the heart of the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, only a few minutes from the main stadium and Olympic Village. It will enable the three equestrian disciplines to take place at a single venue.

Greenwich Park is visually stunning and the stadium in front of the Queen's House will be one of the finest settings ever seen in an Olympic Games and promises a wonderful atmosphere, giving equestrian events the best possible chance of TV coverage.

Friday, 30 April 2010

Equestrian Clothing

Did you know that the Sherwood Equestrian eBay shop has 100% positive feedback? If you are looking for good value good quality equestrian clothing, why not try our eBay shop? Link via our web site page at www.sherwoodequestrian.com
:o)

Monday, 19 April 2010

Equestrian Designer Zara Phillips

Zara Phillips has been designing a new range of equestrian wear and testing the finished products. Jackets, a gilet and tops will sport the logo "176" which is Zara's eventing number.

Better known for sailing clothing, Musto recently expanded into lifestyle outdoor clothing ranges, including shooting and equestrian. Their Zara Phillips equestrian range is expected to be available in the Autumn.

Daughter of the Princess Royal and her first husband, Captain Mark Phillips, the Queen's grand-daughter and Eventing World Champion was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2006.

Zara's world champion horse, Toytown, is currently out of action but she is focusing on the 2012 Olympics, either with a recovered Toytown or one of her other horses.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Caring for your Tack Leather

Taking care of your tack can help to prolong its life, make it more comfortable for the horse and make it easier to use.

Here are some top tips to help you get the most out of your leatherwork:
  • Oil before use
  • If the leather is muddy, clean it first with warm water
  • Use good quality saddle soap after each use
  • Store in a cool, dry environment
  • If the leather becomes wet, allow it to dry slowly; 
    do not place over a radiator or in front of direct heat
  • Do not tie your horse up using the bridle reins.

For safety reasons, all leatherwork should be checked regularly.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

UK sporting country breaks with that WOW factor


Corks Creak Sporting Breaks recently launched a web site to advertise their expertise in putting together the perfect sporting break or holiday in the UK countryside.

With their geographical and sporting experience plus a growing network of contacts for hospitality / accommodation, fishing proprietors, shooting agents, qualified guides, ghillies, loaders and coaches, they will specialise in breaks and holidays with a maximum WOW factor – scenery and environment to allow the soul to breathe and the brain to relax.

According to Corks Creak Sporting Breaks founder, Paul Blackman:
"I started fishing at the age of four, fly fishing by the time I was twenty something. Fly tyer from several years after I started 'chucking fluff'. I have a long and varied past in field sports arenas.
"I started to arrange holidays for folk as a matter of courtesy about five years ago simply because I had the contact base to do so, and  I am that sort of bloke really."

Trekking, anyone?

Monday, 1 March 2010

The Running Martingale

The Martingale is the strap of a horse’s harness that connects the girth to the noseband and is designed to prevent the horse from throwing back its head.

Martingales are used by many riders, particularly when jumping and when riding young or strong horses. The Martingale helps to give that extra control by preventing the horse from raising its head beyond the point of control.

The most popular is the Running Martingale which separates into two straps with a ring at the end of each. The reins pass through the rings and evens the stability of the reins and bit and makes downward pressure on the mouth if the horse raises his head too high.

The Martingale has no effect on the horse if it is performing correctly and provides a neck strap for awkward moments. It also allows the rider to open the reins a little.

The Running Martingale is very commonly used in show jumping and cross country and is very popular with riders in general.

A problem can arise when some horses try to grab the straps of a Running Martingale in their mouths. In these instances an alternative Martingale might be used, such as a Bib Martingale.

The Bib Martingale will be covered in a future article together with details about Sliding Martingales.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Spartan Missile and the Grand National

Arguably, Spartan Missile was the best Point to Pointer/Hunter Chaser of all time. He stood head and shoulders above the other horses in his class and almost won the Aintree Grand National.

The horse's owner, John Thorne, an amateur rider in his 50s, came out of retirement to ride this horse that he had bred and trained because he believed it would allow him to attain his dream of riding the winner of the Grand National.

John Thorne had also bred and ridden Spartan Missile’s dam, Polaris Missile, and returned to race riding after his son Nigel was killed in a car accident. After graduating to Hunter Chases from Point to Points he won the Aintree Foxhunters in 1978 and again a year later. The 1978 win was particularly memorable as the pin in one of his leathers broke and he had to ride over the last 8 jumps with no stirrups.

Spartan Missile missed 1980 through injury and, on his return a year later, John Thorne weighed in at 13 stone. Needing to get down to a race weight of 11 stone 2lbs, he trained with the soldiers at his local barracks and managed to achieve 11 stone 5lbs, just over 3lbs heavier than his target.

John Francome, the champion jockey at this time, offered to ride Spartan Missile in the big race, but John declined. The likelihood is that if John Francome had ridden, it would have won, thereby denying Aldaniti and Bob Champion of their fairytale ending.

Spartan Missile was settled at the back in the race and made a bad mistake at the first fence on the second circuit setting him even further back. Slowly he made his way through the field but Aldaniti had set sail for home already. Clawing his way past horse after horse, at the last fence only Aldaniti was in front of him. Relentlessly gaining length after length on the run-in, the post came just in time for Aldaniti. The galloping grandpa had just failed.

Great sportsman he was, John Thorne was pleased for Bob Champion, the rider of Aldaniti, and even had a drink with him in the local pub that evening.

Unfortunately, this story does not have a happy ending. The following year, John Thorne was tragically killed in a fall at a Point to Point and Spartan Missile never ran again.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

A Bit Special - part 3.

Concluding our Bit Special ...

Fit

Even if you have chosen the perfect type of bit for your horse, if it is the wrong size, it will cause the horse discomfort and could be rather ineffective.

To measure a horse for a bit, look at your existing bit in the horse’s mouth. If you gently pull the bit to one side of the horse’s mouth (so the opposite bit ring sits flush against the horse’s face can you fit one or two fingers between the horse’s lips and the bit ring? Ideally, there should be around ½ inch of bit either side of the horse’s mouth.

If this bit is OK, then remove the bridle and measure it. This is easily done, simply lay the bit on a flat surface and measure between the two rings. Simple as that, you have the size of the bit!

Bit Size Chart

Imperial/Metric





Materials
  • Stainless steel - safe and easy to clean, stainless steel is the normal material that bits are made from.
  • Copper - is softer and can be used to cover other metal mouthpieces, It can be used to help horses mouth the bit and encourage salivation. Many horses like the taste.
  • Cupro Nickel and German Silver - these bits have a light gold colour and have a unique flavour which can help the horse to soften
  • Sweet Iron – is darker in colour and encourages the horse to salivate, This in turn produces a pleasant taste.
  • Rubber – makes a very soft and very kind bit. Because of the nature of the material, bits made from rubber should always have metal reinforcement running through the centre in case the horse chews through.
  • Synthetic – usually light but very strong. They are also quite gentle on the horse’s mouth.
  • Vulcanite – a type of rubber that is hardened by heat. Vulcanite mouthpieces are often very thick meaning that they gentle on the horse’s mouth.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

A Bit more - part 2 of 3 - Double, Pelham, Gags & Bitless

In part 1, we looked at Snaffles. Here are the other Bits.

Double

Double bridles are made up of three parts, the bradoon and the curb bit and the curb chain. These are easy to distinguish as:
  • A bradoon will have a link and round rings
  • A curb bit has no link and has cheeks in some form of another
  • A curb chain is a piece of fine metal chain which attaches to either side of the bit and then lies in the chin groove.
Double bridles apply pressure to two further parts of the horse, the chin groove and the poll, which can encourage a more advanced head carriage and/or improved control. For this reason, they are used when the horse has reached a stage in his training where he requires further refinement, such as advanced dressage. Doubles can also be used when showing, hunting or jumping.

Pelham

A Pelham is a rather cunning bit where the two bits of a double bridge have been combined into one. Pelham bits can be used with one rein (with roundings) or two reins to encourage further refinement. This type of bit has the following variations:
  • Straight bar or gently curved (mullen)
  • With a port (a raised section in the centre of the bit)
  • Jointed
  • Kimblewick, which is a single reined bit with two rein positions, This is a strong bit.
Rugby Pelham can be used with a sliphead, like a double bridle, and can be made to look like a double for the show ring.

Pelhams are generally quite severe and should only be used by experienced people. They are not acceptable in dressage.

Gags

Gags are related to snaffle bits but are more severe.

They usually employ a lever action which works on the poll and are commonly seen when horses are going cross country, show jumping or playing polo. They are illegal for dressage.

There are many variations. Like the snaffle, they can have straight bar, single joined or double jointed mouthpieces in addition to a variety of different rings/cheeks, but these are often specific to that type of gag.

Gag snaffles should be used with two reins in a similar style to a Pelham. To use a type of bit like this with one rein does not allow any reward for the horse if he behaves, or give the rider any other option than employing the lever action. If a rein is attached to the snaffle ring and then a ring below, the rider has the best of both worlds.

Gags are very severe and if used inconsiderately can cause a lot of problems. That said, if used correctly and sympathetically, they can provide the rider with a further degree of control. Gags should only be used by very experienced riders.

Bitless

A bitless bridge or Hackamore is not technically a bit (hence, bitless) but a special attachment is available to provide the rider with control without the need for a traditional bit. These ‘bits’ rely on points of control outside the horse’s mouth, especially the nose. Bitless bridles have difference degrees of severity depending on the length of the shank between the nose and reins, and the paddying/width of straps around the head.

Bitless bridles are great for horses that do not like traditional bits or have damaged mouths, but they are not allowed in dressage competitions. Don’t be fooled … bitless bridles can be very severe and should not be used by inexperienced people.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

A "BIT" Special - part 1 of 3 - Snaffles.

Introduction.

There are many factors that should be considered when choosing which bit is appropriate for your horse, for advice on which is most suitable for your needs, someone with lots of experience who knows you and your horse should be consulted.

Bits work on many different areas of the horse’s head: the tongue, bars, corners of mouth and lips, roof of mouth, side of fact, chin groove, poll and nose.

There are essentially five difference types of bit. All work on different areas of the horse and therefore have a different result. Within the different types, bits have varying severity, for example, in the snaffle family, a Dr Bristol is far more severe than a French Link, even though they are both snaffles. To help explain how this works, we have had a look at the different families of bit to help you decide which one is right for you.

Snaffles.

Snaffles can be used for all sorts of equestrian activities and can be straight bar, single jointed or double jointed. The number of joints has an influence on which areas of the mouth the bit works on, for example:

A straight bar will work on the lips, the bars of the mouth and tongue.

A single jointed has what is known as a ‘nutcracker’ action which means that when the reins are pulled, the tongue is squeezed as the bit closes. A single jointed also works on the bars of the mouth and the lips.

A double jointed has no nutcracker action but works on the bars of the mouth and the lips.

There can also be a variation on the types of rings which link the bridle to the bit. These can be:
  • Fixed to prevent pinching
  • Loose to allow more movement
  • D Ring to help to prevent the bit being pulled through the mouth and aid steering
  • Full Cheek which has full sides to help with steering and a fixed ring to prevent pinching
  • Fulmer which has full sides to help with steering and loose rings to allow more movement
  • Hanging cheek to prevent the horse getting his tongue over the bit due to the fact that the bit is suspended in the mouth.
As you can see, there are a myriad of difference options, but there are also some general guidelines regarding snaffles, for example:
 - the thicker the mouthpiece the milder the bit, and
 - any uneven surface inside the mouth increases the severity.

Part 2 will cover: Double, Pelham, Gags and Bitless.