The English & Western Curb Bit in Horse Riding and Training …
A curb bit uses leverage and includes the pelham bit and the Weymouth curb along with the traditional curb bit used by Western riders.
A curb bit works on several parts of a horse’s head and mouth.
The bit mouthpiece acts on the bars, tongue and roof of the mouth.
The shanks add leverage and place pressure on the poll, thru the crownpiece of the bridle, to the chin groove via the curb chain, and, especially with a loose jaw shank, may act on the sides of the mouth and jaw.
In this Section …
The Western Curb Bit …
A basic Western Curb Bit has a gently ported mouthpiece and shanks to which the reins attach.
As the rider takes a feel of the reins, more leverage is exerted on the horse’s mouth and also on the poll.
By increasing the amount of port on the mouthpiece, pressure is also applied to the roof of the mouth.
A curb bit is a leverage bit, meaning that it multiplies the pressure applied by the rider.
Unlike a snaffle bit, which applies direct rein pressure from the rider’s hand to the horse’s mouth, the curb can amplify rein pressure several times over, depending on the length of the curb bit shank.
Shank sizes vary from the Tom Thumb (2 inches long) to more than 5 inches.
Since Western horses are ridden on a loose rein, the longer shank allows the rider to utilise the leverage by giving extremely light rein aids and attaining the same result as a rider using a snaffle on a firmer contact.
The English Curb Bit
In the English Curb Bit the port can also vary in severity.
In general the shanks on English bits are shorter than on Western bits – four to five inches on an English bit as opposed to up to eight or nine inches on a Western one.
The English Curb bit is often used in a double bridle.
In the double bridle, two bits are actually used. One is the curb, called the Weymouth and one is the snaffle, called the Bridoon.
Both of these bits are used together to refine the aids in the higher levels of dressage competition and in the show ring.
Curbs are generally placed lower down in a horse’s mouth than snaffle bits, touching the corners of the mouth, or creating a single slight wrinkle in the lips.
The lower the bit is placed, the more severe it is as the bars of the mouth get thinner and so pressure is more concentrated.
The curb chain should be adjusted correctly, lying flat against the chin groove and only coming into action against the jaw when the shank is rotated, but not so loose that the shank exceeds 45 degrees of rotation.
Consider all your horse bit and bridle options and make sure you choose the correct type, size and combination for the sort of work you want your horse to do.Local Riding