What is your horse’s bit made of?
Well, sometimes it’s very simple, like stainless steel. Other times it’s more complicated, if a bit manufacturer has come up with a combination of metals and given it a fancy marketing name and maybe a patent, too. But there are a lot of choices – so I’ll just run down the primary materials used to make bits!
- Stainless steel – super common for horse bits. It won’t rust, thanks to its combining with other things, like nickel, titanium, iron, carbine, chromium, there are a lot of options. Stainless steel bits are easy to keep clean.
- Rubber – These bits are often metal rings with black rubber mouthpieces. The rubber has been vulcanized, which basically means it’s been hardened through a chemical process which may include baking. While they seem awesome for horses because they are soft, they are often too thick and therefore uncomfortable.
- Copper – Horse bits made of copper or other metal mixed with copper can increase your horse’s saliva production. This is great for helping develop a soft mouth. However, copper bits can end up with sharp edges as they wear.
- Plastics – Like the rubber bits, plastics are often a bit softer, but maybe bigger. Some are even scented. To which I have many questions. Such as, are they scented like hay or grass or carrots?
- Sweet Iron – Also known as sweet metal, this morphing bit material is a favorite among some horses. It’s apparently delicious. If you find a bit that is blue, it’s a sweet iron bit that has been flamed. A new sweet iron bit will be unoxidized but will start to turn rusty brow as oxidation sets in. Sometimes only a part of the bit will be sweet iron, the rest will be stainless.
- Then you have the patented bit formulas, often with copper, silicon, zinc, manganese, etc. Refer to the specific manufacturer’s ingredient list for a complete breakdown of what’s in that particular bit.
You may need to try several styles and materials of bits before you find the best combination for your horse. To learn more about bit styles and functions, this lovely article has you covered.