Control Points

Bridge of Nose - Hackamores (side pull)
Chin Area - Curb chain (loose or tight)
Corner of Lips - All mouthpieces
Bars - All mouthpieces
Palate - Higher ports
Poll - Shank bits and draw gags
Tongue - Chain, 3 piece snaffle
Cheek - Ring Snaffle, Offset Dee (side pull)



  • Larger diameter mouthpieces give less control
  • Smaller diameters give more control.

Bit thickness does not alter the basic mechanism by which a bit works.  Wide bits move less in response to a rein aid, and  tend to "neutralize" strong half halts.  They may be of advantage to men with great upper body strength, but in general, a woman will get a better response with a thin bit.  It is a myth that thicker bits are kinder to the horse, provided one does go to a "cutting" degree of thinness. 

Think of the bit like a piece of candy.  A wide bit is like a jawbreaker, and takes up a lot of room.  Since the horse can't spit it out, he may try to spit out his tongue instead, or else to open his mouth.  In general, thinner bits are most comfortable for the horse.

Bit Weight: There is an advantage to a heavier bit.  It is silly to worry about the horse having to carry the weight of the bit, when you compare that with the weight of his head, and the weight of a rider.  A too light bit may not return to its original position with the giving of the rein, so that the horse will not get feel a release.  A bit should feel substantial.


  • Wide ported mouth pieces provide tongue relief.
  • The longer the shank (more leverage), the more control the bit has.
  • A twisted mouthpiece offers more control than a solid mouth piece.