At EquuSport we always strive to find the highest quality and effectiveness in our horse bit partners. Bombers bits is no exception.

Bomber Nelson Gag with Blue PortMade in South Africa, Bombers has been developing quality equine products for over 30 years. They focus on providing innovative solutions to riders’ challenging problems, particularly in the area of bitting. Their bits are of handmade quality with extreme attention to detail and testing by world renowned riders, has resulted in world-class horse bits.

Lastly, we get this question a lot… why are they blue? The Bomber Blue bit is made from a unique non-metal material which encourages salivation and is warm to the touch.

You can find our complete selection of bomber bits here.

 

We are now carrying Beris Bits  (pronounced “beers”)!

Beris Loose Ring Butterfly Mouth

For those of you that are not familiar with Beris, they are the successor to Nathe. We use them in substitution for many of our Nathe bits that are no longer available.

The Mullen mouths are available in three versions, flexi, semi flexible and rigid.  The ported versions are semi flexible and rigid.

They are a German manufactured bit with a nice fit and finish.

You can see all of our Beris Bits here.


English gags come in all shapes and sizes, which can be overwhelming and confusing.  It is sometimes hard to determine which one is right for your horse, so, today we’re going to break it down. (You may also find our follow up post on Faux Gags interesting as well)

General Properties of Gags

All gags aid in lifting your horses head up, however, the gag cheeks produce varied results and speed of reaction.  Ideally gags help you stay in position and elevate your horse’s head rather than pull you down and out of position.  The bigger the ring the larger amount of “hoist” you get to take their head off the floor.  Also, bigger rings are slower to act and thus work better for horses who tend to  overreact with gags.

Gags in order of Reaction Speed

  1. Gag Bradoon (1″ Cheeks)
  2. Nelson
  3. Shrewsbury
  4. Salisbury
  5. Cheltenham
  6. Balding
  7. Polo Balding (4″ Cheeks)

If you wish to make your gag slower to react, you can switch out rope cheeks for leather cheeks.

Given the choice of what gag to jump with, we recommend the Nelson or the Cheltenham. The reason we recommend those two gags is because they are less disruptive if your hand moves out of position at the top of their jump, helping you keep the hind end and rails up.

Now on to the nitty gritty of the differences between the types of gag cheeks.


Balding Gags

These are also known as Loose Ring gags.  They are the most common of gags that you will see. They tend to produce more gag leverage because the mouth piece can continue to move up and react again when you pull on the reins.

Balding Rubber Gag with Lozenge


Cheltenham Gags

Cheltenham Gags, or Eggbutt gags, are a very steady and smooth acting gag with non pinch cheeks.  You want to use this gag if you are worried about your horse who is sensitive to pinching even with bit guards.

Cheltenham Corkscrew Gag Bit


Gag Bradoons (also known as the mini gag)

These are one of the most versatile pieces of equipment you will have in your arsenal.  We recommend everyone have one of these in their tack room.

They were originally developed for gated horses to be used with a full bridle. The beauty of this gag is; it is designed to be used with another bit.  It is most commonly paired with, and placed behind, a separate snaffle cheeked bit.

Because of this set up, the mini gag becomes “masked” allowing it to be “incognito” so the horses don’t expect it and respond quickly when they go to pull down and the gag engages. The best part of this set up is that you hold the reins as you would normally, the horses action is what causes the gag to engage.

This gag allows you to have greater power across the mouth without disrupting the jump or stride of your horse. It is also great for inexperienced riders and horses that drag them around! It also is extremely effective for horses who take you down and accelerate in the last few steps before take off and on landing or during lead changes.  Lastly, they are also really effective with horses who don’t have a huge motor or sulk from more “harsh” bits, allowing you to ride in “normal equipment” and make a training point to get them to listen.

It is the duct tape of bit world.

Gag Bit Bradoon


Nelson Gags

Also known as full cheek gags, these are best used when you need more lateral control and turning aid with head lift.

3/8 Twisted Hinge Nelson Gag


Shrewsbury (L) & Salisbury Gags (R)

These are a fixed mouthpiece loose ring gag.  Is a good alternative to the Cheltenham and react in a similar way.  The Shrewsburys tend to have a smaller ring so they are less “potent.” These two are the same except in the size of the cheek.  The Salisbury is always a little larger in ring size than the Shrewsbury.

Shrewsbury Gag Salisbury Gag

 

 

 

 

 

salisbury-close-up

Have more questions?  Feel free to email us at Info@EquuSport.com


A Note about Faux Gags.  There are several bits that we sell that have “gag-like” qualities. 

Faux Gags (in order of leverage):

  1. 12/5 Inside Loops Loose Ring
  2. 12/5 Inside Loops D Ring
  3. 2 Ring
  4. 12/6 (Bevel) Inside Loops
  5. 12/5 Inside/Outside
  6. 2.5 Rings
  7. 3 Rings
  8. Gag Curbs (french gags)
  9. 4 Rings

Specialty Faux Gags:

  1. Full Cheeks with Inside loops and short bit keepers
  2. Bauchers (also knwn as Bouche Filet, Hanging Cheeks)
  3. Swivels

The following bits also have gag type properties when there curb chains or straps are loose or not used:

  1. All Pelhams
  2. All Kimberwicks
  3. All RNFs

This is due to the fact that the cheek piece attaches above the mouth piece causing the bit to pivot or move upward when pulled.

Note: Elevators always have a gag like property.

YOU CAN READ THE FULL BLOG POST ABOUT FAUX GAGS HERE: https://www.equusport.com/blog/faux-gags/

English faux gags come in all shapes and sizes, which can be overwhelming and confusing. There are many bits out there that provide similar “gag” effects, but are not true gags, we call them Faux Gags.  It is sometimes hard to determine which one is right for your horse, so, today we’re going to break it down.

Below we have compiled a list with pictures of these “faux gags” to help you decode the word of gags versus “faux gags.” (if you want to know more about standard Gags, you can see our previous post here)


General Properties of Faux Gags

Like traditional gags, faux gags aid in lifting your horses head up, however, the cheeks produce varied results and speed of reaction.  Ideally gags help you stay in position and elevate your horse’s head rather than pull you down and out of position.  The bigger the ring the larger amount of “hoist” you get to take their head off the floor.  Also, bigger rings are slower to act and thus work better for horses who tend to  overreact with gags.

Faux Gags (in order of leverage):

  1. 12/5 Inside Loop Full Cheeks with short bit keepers
  2. 12/5 Inside Loop D Rings
  3. 12/5 Inside Loop Loose Rings
  4. Bauchers (also known as Bouche Filet, Hanging Cheek
  5. 2 Rings
  6. 12/5 Inside/Outside Loop
  7. 12/6 (Bevel) Inside Loops
  8. Swivels
  9. 2.5 Rings
  10. 3 Rings
  11. 4 Rings
  12. Gag Curbs (french gags)

12/5 Inside Loops 


Loose Ring Hinged Mouth with 12/5 Loops  12/5 French Loose Ring with Loops 

Full Cheek Dr. Bristol with Loops

These are referred to as “Hunter Gags,” due to the fact the loops are concealed.   These are in the grey area of the USEF rules and fall under Judges discretion, this is of no issue with the Jumpers.  As with all these types of bits, they are predicated on the amount of gag required.


2 Rings & Bauchers

                   French 2 Ring  3/8" Twisted French Baucher

2 Rings are similar to Baucher Bits with a notable differences.  First, because they are on a loose ring rather than a fixed cheek, this allows for more travel of the mouthpiece in an upward “gag” direction.  Second, Baucher Bits have a smaller snaffle ring which makes them much more fast acting.  A baucher’s gag action is directly proportional to the height of the cheek – the longer the distance from the top of the cheek to the mouthpiece the larger the gag effect.


12/5 Inside/Outside Loops

*This are our own custom creation and do not have a picture to show you at this time*

As with all of these types of bits, distance is everything.  The outside top ring and an internal loop shorten the distance of lift, thus the outer ring gives more lift than a 12/5 or 12/6 configuration, but less than a 2.5 ring.


12/6 (Bevel) Inside Loops

12/6 Hollow Mouth Loose Ring

These are the next step up  from 12/5 as they add an additional few inches of rise making it slightly more aggressive in its action.


Swivels:

Swivel Gag Bit with Copper Roller

Swivels produce moderate gag action with full cheek like qualities with face pressure when turning.


2.5 Rings

Poponcini Harmony 2.5 Ring

2.5 Rings are almost equal to the 3 rings with this exception they tend to be slightly shorter.  More importantly, the lower ring is larger, this allows the rein more movement before engaging the ring.  This makes them a bit slower to act.


3 & 4 Rings

3 Ring Correction Port 3/8 Fast Twist French 4 Ring

The three and four rings with chains are the mirror opposite of gag curb (french gags) in their actions. A 3/4 ring gags first, curbs second, which means it raises first and breaks at the pole second.  If you have a horse that you have to pick up their heads first, but that action causes them to stiffen, locking the withers and back, then 3 rings will not be a good choice for you. We would recommend a gag curb in this case to give you whole body flexibility through the withers and back and compression of step. Gag curbs start at the jaw with a curb and then lift.


Gag Curbs (french gags)

                     Bomber Curb Gag with Blue Port Double Wire Gag Curb

Gag curbs start at the jaw with a curb and then lift. Poll pressure is not totally removed as there is a similar action to the ring on the bit & top rein. When deciding between 3 rings and gag curbs they are mirror opposites as mentioned above.  Gag curbs Pelham first and then gag.

If you have a horse that you have to pick up their heads first, but that action causes them to stiffen, locking the withers and back, we would recommend a gag curb to give you whole body flexibility through the withers and back and compression of step.


The following bits also have gag type properties when there curb chains or straps are loose or not used:

  1. All PelhamsLoose Ring French Twisted Hinge Pelham
  2. All KimberwicksJointed Rubber Kimberwick
  3. All RNFsButterfly Flip Hex Nut Kimberwick

 

This is due to the fact that the cheek piece attaches above the mouth piece causing the bit to pivot or move upward when pulled.  Elevators always have a gag like property.

When people come to us to replace a Poponcini or Trust bit or perhaps get a bit with a new cheekpiece, one of the questions we will ask is “what size is your current Poponcini or Trust bit?”

More often than not, the answer we get back is, “How do I figure out what size my Poponcini or Trust bit is?”

If you don’t own one of the tools handy that can help you measure a bit, you may end up guessing or stuck without a measurement. Luckily, both Poponcini and Trust thought about this.  Both of these wonderful brands write the bit size right on the bit itself via a little-known secret code. You do need to know where to look and how to read it, though, as they don’t make it immediately obvious.

How to find the size of your Poponcini Bit

The way Poponcini writes information on their bits includes two numbers and a word. One number corresponds to the bit size and the other to the type of mouthpiece. The word in the middle is the type of mouth material.

The Bit Size Numbers correspond to a measurement, and are as follows:

The mouth materials numbers correspond to the rigidity of the material, and are as follows:

Poponcini bits write the bit size right on the mouthpiece itself, so it’s easy to find. It’s written there in the same color as the mouth, however, so it can be a bit tricky to read sometimes.

When they write it, they write it as follows: Bit Size Number, Mouth Material, Mouth Type Number. An example will be,  “4 Harmony 2.” Let’s look at an example!

In this picture here, you can see where it says Poponcini Bits pretty clearly. Below the line it says 4 Harmony 2.

What this means is that the bit is a size 4 (or 135mm), it’s made from Poponcini’s Harmony material, and it’s the more rigid mouthpiece (2).

Poponcini Harmony 2 Bit in Size 4

A Harmony 2 Bit in size 4

This bit below is a 4 Harmony 1. This bit is also a size 4 (135mm) and made from the Poponcini Harmony mouth material, but it is the less rigid of the two as indicated by the 1.

Poponcini Harmony 1 Bit in Size 4

 

How to find the size of your Trust bit

The Trust bits are a bit easier (pun intended!) to read as they only include the mouth size. Trust bits do come with different material makeups including leather, metal, and InnoSense, but each material doesn’t have different rigidity so it’s easy to tell the material just by looking at it.  Trust also uses numbers to correspond to a European measurement, but their numbers are different than Poponcini:

3 = 135mm

4 = 145mm

Trust puts these numbers on the side of the mouthpiece, so you can easily see the size even when it’s in the horse’s mouth. Let’s take a look at an example of where you can find the size on a Trust bit!

Trust Bit Measurement: Size 4 Trust Bit

This bit is a size 4, which corresponds to 145mm

 

Size 3 Trust Bit

This Trust Bit is a size 3, or 135mm (5 inches)

Whether you’re shopping for a new bit or your first bit from Popincini or Trus, we hope this guide serves you well to find the measurements of your bits. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us!

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