Different metals and materials will provide horses of different tastes, comfort, and texture in their mouths. Some horses will prefer different types of materials over another. When you see your horse being able to comfortably hold the bit without excessive chewing or evading it means you are on the right path.
Stainless steel is the most common material when it comes to bits. It is pretty standard with a neutral taste and smell. It is light and durable however the quality can vary.
Copper is a soft metal, and you will find it often when looking at bits. Horses like the taste of copper typically, and it promotes salivation. However, it can wear fast and unevenly. This is why most bits have a mix of copper or copper inlay as true copper doesn’t hold up to the daily wear and tear.
Even though the name implies it as an Iron, this material is actually a type of steel. This material is from a process called cold-rolled steel. It is dense but still softer than stainless steel. It tastes sweet and helps to promote salivation. Sweet Iron will rust.
This unique material is patented by Herm Sprenger. It is an alloy metal made up of 85% copper, 4% silicone and 11% zinc. This material is a great option for horses that have a nickel allergy. It is highly durable, unlike true copper.
Naturally a soft and flexible material with a neutral taste. However because it is soft, rubber has a tendency to pit and wear unevenly due to chewing. It is important to keep an eye on these bits as they will sometimes have a wire or metal bar core. Rubber bits are typically thicker in diameter, which doesn’t make it a great option for horses who have a shallow pallet. It is a great option for sensitive horses who don’t like the feeling and taste of metal.
Happy Mouth is a brand of engineered plastic. It usually has an apple flavoring to make it more inviting to horses. It can be another option for sensitive horses. This is another material that does need daily inspection as it can crack and leave sharp points.