Whether you ride English or Western, the eggbutt snaffle is a great bit to have in your collection. It’s great for young horses and older horses, green horses and finished ones.
What is an eggbutt snaffle? An eggbutt snaffle is a mild bit where the cheek piece is shaped in a way to eliminate pinching. The actual mouthpiece can vary. Eggbutt snaffles can have mullen (straight) mouthpieces, a single joint, a french link joint, a roller joint or even a twisted mouthpiece among others.
I, personally, extremely dislike a traditional loose ring snaffle. So much so that you won’t find one in my barn. The eggbutt makes for a much more comfortable bitting experience for the horse. Let’s look at the five reasons to use an eggbutt snaffle.
1. It Isn’t Likely to Pinch
The problem with some snaffles is that they can pinch your horses cheek when they are used. This is especially true of a loose ring snaffle. As the ring slides through the mouthpiece, the skin of the horses muzzle can get caught causing the bit to pinch.
The last thing any rider needs is for a horse to associate riding with pain. While it may not be an everyday experience, loose ring snaffles like the one pictured below can pinch your horse and even cause bleeding and sores.
2. A Variety of Mouthpieces are Available
Each horse is an individual and their training should be approached based on the needs of the horse. In the equestrian world, there is an almost limitless variety of bits and mouthpieces that can be used to help the rider communicate effectively to the horse. Here are some mouthpieces you might find on an eggbutt snaffle.
Plain Eggbutt Snaffle
This bit has a regular, single jointed mouthpiece. This mouthpiece is one of the most basic types available and is seen with a variety of different snaffle styles including loose ring, D-ring and Full Cheek snaffles among others.
This is a great starter mouthpiece that should be comfortable for almost any horse. As with any mouthpiece, light hands make light horses.
Eggbutt Snaffle with French Link
The French link snaffle bit is like a plain snaffle but it has a linking chain between each side of the snaffle mouthpieces that separates left from right. This center piece is the “French Link”.
On a french link eggbutt snaffle, no matter how hard the rider pulls on one or both reins, the middle piece can’t be immobilized. The french link will rest on the horses tongue. For a great resource on choosing a good quality French link bit for your horse, check out this excellent informational 3 minute video.
Eggbutt Snaffle with Lozenge
This mouthpiece is very similiar to the french link above however, instead of a french link, there is a thicker “bead” connecting each side of the mouthpiece. This type of snaffle is designed to try and encourage the horse to move forward and push into the contact.
Eggbutt Snaffle with Mullen Mouth
A mullen, or straight, mouthpiece on a snaffle has no joint at all. It is just a straight bar going from one side of the horse’s mouth to the other. A mullen mouth snaffle is one of the more milder types of bits and is excellent for sensitive mouthed horses.
Eggbutt Snaffle with Twisted Mouthpiece
A twisted mouthpiece in any bit is typically considered more severe. Twists can be tight or slow (wider). The type of twist can increase severity but, true severity with this type of bit occurs when it is used by riders without soft hands.
A twisted mouthpiece can be helpful to teach a horse not to lean on the bit and to be light. A twisted mouthpiece can be as light as any other in the right hands but, typically, is best used only under supervision if you aren’t experienced with it.
3. Different Materials are Available
When choosing a mouthpiece, material can be a concern. Bits can be made out of a variety of different metals as well as a variety of different types of rubber. Each material has it’s own pros and cons. You can find eggbutt snaffles in the following types of materials:
Most bits are made out of stainless steel. It’s easy to clean and doesn’t typically rust. These are the shiny, metal bits you’ll see hanging in tack rooms across the country. Plain steel bits are a great way to start out. They provide a clean look and are easily disinfected if they need to be used on different horses.
Eggbutt Snaffle in Copper
A copper mouthpiece on any bit is designed to encourage the horse to salivate. The more a horse salivates, the more a comfortable a bit will be for him. This lubrication also makes it easier for the bit to slide in the horses mouth and signal him properly.
Happy Mouth Eggbutt Snaffle
The “Happy Mouth” mouthpiece is a type of polymer mouthpiece. Typically it is scented for palatability. The mouthpiece is designed to be gentler on the bars of the horses mouth. For me, I love using a Happy Mouth snaffle on young horses. It’s my favorite mouthpiece to teach horses to carry a bit. It is also a great choice for an easy horse to carry down the trail or just go out on a leisurely hack.
Sweet Iron Eggbutt Snaffle
A sweet iron snaffle bit works similiar to a copper snaffle to increase salivation. One of it’s unique features, however, is that this bit is actually designed to rust. The rust will improve the bits palatability to the horse over time.
Rubber Eggbutt Snaffle
The rubber mouthpiece is yet another milder type of bit. The rubber type can vary between manufacturers from being soft or hard. The softness of the rubber makes it easy for horse to lean into the bit but care must be taken so they don’t learn to ignore it. This is yet another great mouthpiece for the sensitive mouthed younger horses.
4. They are Versatile
Eggbutt snaffle bits make an excellent bit choice for almost any discipline. They can be used on your English horses, your western horses, your dressage horses and even endurance horses.
It’s the type of bit that is great to have in the barn to just grab and go. They make a great starting point if you buy a new horse. First, try the horse with an eggbutt snaffle and see how he goes, make decisions to change and training plans based on how he responds.
5. They Look Great
An eggbutt snaffle gives a nice, clean look to the mouth when the horse is bridled. Sure, looks aren’t important…but aren’t they? I mean, after we’ve considered all of the important factors like comfort, function, materials and versatility, it would be silly not to also look at style.
While you shouldn’t choose any bit just because it’s pretty, in the case of the eggbutt snaffle, it’s just the icing on the cake!
I hope you have been able to learn more about the eggbutt snaffle bit. It’s definitely a versatile bit that can be of use in any barn. I have one hanging in my tack room, shouldn’t you have one too?
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