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  • Erin Long

Removing Your Horse's Bit

This is something I don’t see nearly enough care given to by most riders. Spoiler alert: a bit crashing into their teeth is jarring and not fun. Just taking your horse’s headstall off and causing slack in the cheekpieces will cause the bit to fall in his mouth when he chooses to release it. 

I don’t want any part of the bitting process to be uncomfortable for my horse, because everything I do is either preserving his softness, or dulling him. When taking out the bit, I remove the bridle from the ears but continue to support the bit. When the horse releases the bit (this can take some time - tickling the side of their lips may encourage them to do so), I begin gently lowering it in the mouth, using my other hand to stabilize it. Once I get near the teeth, I wait for the horse to open wide enough for the bit before lowering the bit further, and lift it slightly with the stabilizing hand to keep it from getting caught on the bottom teeth. 

Doing it this was encourages your horse to hold his bit. When you don’t support it, he knows it will crash into his teeth, and so wants to spit it out as quickly as possible. This causes a horse who is constantly wary and fearful of the bit, which is the exact opposite of what I want. Do you take your horse’s bridle off slowly? Are you going to start?

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Concord, NC 28027

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