It is a well known fact that I love learning and talking about bits! Like many parts of the equestrian sport, it is both a science and an art. Science in how a bit will function as it is physics and an art as feel, and preference come into play.
This week’s #TackTipTuesday I want to talk about rubber bits. Bits do come in many different materials, and as technology progress even more hit the market. One of the most traditional non-metal option is rubber.
Why choose rubber? Rubber can be softer in the horse’s mouth compared to a traditional metal bit. It is gentler on the bars and tongue inside the horse’s mouth. You can find bits that are mostly rubber, or now just rubber lined.
Rubber bits are typically quite thick. This can make them good options for young horses or horses with large mouths, but not the best for the tiny mouthed horses with low palates. There is also a wide variety on the suppleness of rubber bits. Some are a hard rubber and other are a very soft flexible rubber. The difference comes to the horse’s preference when you are choosing one for your collection. It does become tricky to tell the pliability of the rubber when ordering online due to stock images looking the same.
With rubber bits, and actually all bits, daily inspection is vital. Rubber bits can be easily chewed on by horses, and leave uneven edges, or in some cases down to the wire core. Happy Mouth or plastic bits can leave sharp edges which can lead to cuts in your horses mouth.
Rubber bits are typically found in a mullen style, but can also be found in thicker snaffles, gags, and pelhams.