• Erin Long

Bits: The No-Hit Bit

It's time for TidBIT Tuesday and today we're going to be covering one of the worst bits on the market - the "No-Hit Bit". For the sake of my sanity, I'm going to ignore the mouthpieces, but in general they come in terrible, even worse, and atrocious. 

The No-Hit Bit is cleverly named such because it claims that picking up on the reins "will not cause a jerk on your horse, causing them to lift their head, like they would in a snaffle". Let's get something clear off the bat: if your horse is feeling a jerk in any bit, it is a result of the rider no knowing how to control their hands. Any rider with elastic contact will not cause a "jerk" in any bit (save bits like the 5 shank that cause a jerk even with a smooth pull). So let's assume you cannot control your hands, and do jerk on your horse. In a snaffle, your horse is going to feel the bit ran into his tongue and bars at 1:1 pressure. In a no-hit bit, the leverage will instantly engage, first jamming into the tongue and lips, then dragging them higher with exponentially increasing pressure. Guess what that's going to do - tell your horse to lift his head! As much as they would like you to believe, there is no "nice warning" or "pre signal" with this bit. The instant you touch the reins, your horse feels leveraged pressure, lip stretch, and his tongue is balled up in his mouth. Combine this with some of the mouthpieces they offer (chain, thin twisted wire, and even a life saver with wire wrapped cannons) and you can imagine how little "warning" your horse gets. Unlike a draw gag, this bit has metal shanks, meaning that there is little friction standing in the way of this bit being drawn all the way up. The top of the bit sits behind the molars, so a fully engaged no-hit bit not only exhibits somewhere around 7:1 pressure, but also hits the molars and causes extreme lip stretch. If you want to use this bit, go for it. But please be aware that you are causing your horse pain with just a light tug, and it is nowhere near as gentle as a snaffle.

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