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The Challenge of Finding the Right Bit


In my bodywork and lesson practice, I sometimes encounter horses that 

  • resist the bit,
  • shake their head during rides,
  • grind their teeth,
  • lean on the bit or open the mouth during the ride, 
  • show tension, pain response and restriction in the poll area,
  • lock up the TMJ, and more.

There can be many reasons for this behavior, including missed training steps. Many times, however, you trace this behavior or condition to a problem with the horse’s bit.

Selecting the right bit for your horse can be challenging and many factors determine whether the bit will fit your horse, from the shape of the bars, depth of the mouth cavity, size of the tongue, width of the jaw and more.

What Are We Overlooking?


A horse in discomfort is tense, distracted, and unwilling. Good partnership and performance starts with your horse’s wellness. Bitting can be part of the solution.  Stefanie Reinhold

Many riders with hard-to-bit horses have tried many bits — from ‘happy’ bits over lozenge snaffles to specialty bits that look like medieval torture instruments, all under the label ‘gentle’ — and spent much money to no avail.

In an effort to avoid all ‘metal in the mouth’, many turn to bitless bridles, which often exacerbates the problem.

What are we overlooking? The horse simply wants to FEEL GOOD and NOT WORRY about discomfort. We need to eliminate the source of discomfort. That source may be in the bit or …. in the bridle.

Riding Without Bridle…

… does not mean riding without bit. Some horses are very sensitive behind the ears and do not appreciate a bridle, no matter how well-padded it may be.

For those horses, the Meroth® Freedom Leather Snaffle provides much-needed relief. Riders often find that they have a sensitive connection with their horse after switching to the Meroth® Freedom Snaffle — often for the first time in their history with this particular horse.

“…to be frank it’s the first time [my mare] is relaxed when there is any sort of bridle about. I’ve tried everything over the past 14 years, to the point where I stopped riding her . …Just wish I’d found you lot earlier. Thank you.”

“”When I first showed my ear / bit/bridle shy 20 year old mare it, she started the head up no thing, but once she realized there was no headpiece going to touch her ear, I’ve been able to pop it in and out without any bother…. and to be frank it’s the first time she is relaxed when there is any sort of bridle about. I’ve tried everything over the past 14 years, to the point i stopped riding her . …Just wish I’d found you lot earlier. Thank you.””

horse with meroth leather freedom snaffle

Sheila R., UK

“My horse moves so much better in the Meroth® leather snaffle! He has never moved so freely. We both enjoy riding without bridle!  No head shaking! I would recommend this snaffle to anyone.”

meroth leather snaffle

Chrissy M., USA

“My mare loves the Meroth® bit! I did not think there would be such a noticeable difference compared to the  previous bits we tried. I believe it’s riding without bridle that makes all the difference. Thank you!”

horse and rider with meroth leather snaffle bridleless

Kelly N., USA

Why an Original Meroth® Bit?

The original Meroth® bit is a patented design:

  • 100% non-toxic leather, tanned in Europe in a plant-based process
  • patented design conforms to the shape of your horse’s mouth
  • non-chafing edges (after initial oil soak)
  • durable, non-chafing stitching
  • patented break-away design
  • stainless steel hardware
  • proven, tested, loved for over 35 years

Why is 100% non-toxic leather important?

Most leather is tanned in a toxic slurry of aldehydes, chromium sales, alum, or synthetic polymers. None of these toxic substances should ever get in touch with your or your horse’s mucus membranes and enter your horse’s body.

In a time-consuming, old-fashioned vegetable-based tanning process, the manufacturer uses tannins found in vegetables, trees, barks, etc. Meroth uses leathers that meet European baby toy specifications and are absolutely safe for your horse to ingest.

horse with original meroth leather snaffle

The original Meroth® snaffle is 100% non-toxic. Beware of ”copy cat products”: Most leather is tanned in a toxic slurry of aldehydes, chromium salts, alum, or synthetic polymers that should never be ingested...”

white horse with a leather snaffle

A Meroth® leather snaffle will bring a new-found freedom to you and your horse.

  • Enjoy a sensitive connection.
  • Your horse reaches for the bit more trustingly.
  • No pinching behind the ears.
  • Accommodates tricky mouth conformation, such as bars with narrow ridges.
  • Encourages salivation.
NOTE:
  • The bit is not recommended for beginner riders, who balance themselves off the reins!
  • If your horse has a very flat underside, not a fleshy enough mouth, you may need to use the Meroth® leather bit with a bridle.
  • For horses with normal (fleshy) mouths, use the bit with a bridle for the first 2 or 3 rides, until the bit has conformed to the shape of your horse’s mouth.
  • Detailed instructions are included with the bit.

jumping in a meroth bit

Freedom to focus on the job!

Horses that are distracted by bit or bridle discomfort often do better at their job after t switching to the Meroth® Leather Bit. 

Other applications for use of this bit are:

  • Your horse has an injury or had a procedure that does not allow for a bridle.
  • Your horse had dental surgery (after vet clears the horse for the leather snaffle).
  • You simply LOVE the way this feels and looks! 

“If you can make it easier on your horse, why not? When it comes to bitting, not all solutions work for all horses. Less is often more. In my experience, the Meroth® Leather Bit is often a ‘life saver’. I’ll be happy to help you answer any questions.”

Stefanie Reinhold

Stefanie Reinhold

Meroth® Brand Expert