*Unfortunately, the maker of Sealtex Latex Bandage is no longer in business. There is not currently a viable alternative on the market that we’ve tested, know, and trust though we are constantly on the lookout for one.*
We’ve been getting a lot of questions about latex bit wrap, so wanted to share with your our philosophies on this powerful, and affordable tool that can actually help you make bit changes more achievable. So what is bit wrap? At its core, it’s latex that – you guessed it – wrap around your bit. Our favorite bit wrap is Sealtex Latex Bandage.
So what are some reasons you may wrap your bit?
If you have a beloved rubber or another soft-coated bit, you may notice that over time they wear down particularly if you have a horse that is particularly mouthy or chomps at the bit. Bit wrap can both preemptively protect your bit from damage or, if the bite marks are minor, fix the bit until you can get a chance to get a new one.
If your bit is very damaged and chewed almost all the way through or with very rough, sharp edges, we don’t recommend wrapping it as a short term fix. This should be treated as an emergency, and you should replace your bit.
Bit wrap can also change a bit in one of two ways: by softening a bit or changing the operational design.
You can soften a bit by adding a cushion with Sealtex Latex wrap and this is particularly good for horses that have a sensitive mouth or a sore mouth from an injury. You can use bit wrap as a short term solution before you get a new bit, or for longer-term use. If you’re looking to use bit wrap to soften your bit longer-term, make sure if the wrap shows any signs of wear you change it.
A little known trick is bit wrap can actually change the operational design of your bit. For example, if you have a bit with a joint in it but are looking to move to a mullen-type mouth or another mouthpiece without a joint, you can actually use bit wrap to wrap the joint and make it a straighter bar!
Many of our clients use bit wrap to modify twisted wire bits if they need to soften them in a pinch, particularly if they’re away at a show without their bit box with them.
We often see clients come in the store with bit wrap issues – the bit wrap may not stay on, latex bit wrap pieces fall off, or the wrap is too loose. The key to avoiding this is simple: PULL TIGHTLY. Much tighter than you’re comfortable doing at first. We promise – it will be ok!
You’d be surprised at how much tension is required to wrap correctly. If your wrap doesn’t become transparent when you put tension on it, you don’t have enough. One of the benefits of wrapping this way is your bit wrap will go a lot farther and last longer once applied.
We’ve put together a quick video for you to demonstrate how our CEO, Brad Goldstein wraps bits. In this video, Brad is applying bit wrap to a Poponcini bit. Check it out:
As always, if you have any bitting questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re happy to help answer any questions you have.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Also known as full cheek gags, these are best used when you need more lateral control and turning aid with head lift.
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.
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):
Specialty Faux Gags:
The following bits also have gag type properties when there curb chains or straps are loose or not used:
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):
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 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
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 produce moderate gag action with full cheek like qualities with face pressure when turning.
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.
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 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:
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.
I often get asked what makes us different from other “tack shops.” The simple answer?
We make the impossible, possible.
But let me dig deeper and share a bigger secret with you…
EquuSport is not just another “tack shop,” we are a family business with deep roots in the Hunter/Jumper world. I began riding when I was 5, my mother had a show barn, Palisade Farms, and my father rode Polo Ponies.
For me, horses weren’t a hobby, they were a passion. I went on to help my mother with her clients at the barn and then realized there was a big void in the tack repair and custom equipment realm, and thus EquuSport was born 30+ years ago.
Over the course of time, I have now become fondly known as “Brad the Bit Man” and our humble retail shop has become a place where, as I said in the beginning, we make the impossible, possible. A place where people who have run out of ideas come for solutions. A place where we can work through your challenges and leverage my experience inside and outside the ring to create remedies that will help you become a winning combination in the ring.
We believe that you should be able to choose your bridle, like you choose your car – options to fit your needs! We know that just because you got a new horse, shouldn’t mean you need a whole new bridle. We also believe that changing nosebands shouldn’t require a ritual sacrifice. The trouble is, we see it all too often, so we decided long ago to do something different.
We created our custom line of bridles to be 3 things: Beautiful, Durable, and Interchangeable – and then we took it farther and gave you choices galore.
Let’s start with our Stock Bridles. They are beautifully hand crafted to fit most standard size horses. We give you the ability to choose your size (cob, full, oversize), your width, and your noseband – standard, crank, chain, studded, or figure-8 instead. We try to take the guess work out of having a beautiful bridle to complement your round.
Second, we have Custom Bridles. These are the cream of the crop our most popular bridles! These are the perfect solution for your ponies, your oversized warmbloods, or simply your horses who are hard to fit. We custom measure every aspect to make sure it fits your horses face like a glove.
Lastly, for the busiest of barns we created our Work Bridle. We designed it to have snaps on the cheeks so you can swap out a bit easily. They are great for barns where you need the flexibility and interchangeability in your bridles.
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.
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).
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.
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!
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!
Ah, Wellington Equestrian Festival. The winter wonderland of horse shows, a town built for riding, hacking along the beautiful canals, and… intense, oppressive, and tack-eating humidity. We’re based in the winters at Desert Horse Park – literally in the desert – so moldy tack isn’t something we see on a daily basis. When one of our team members went to Wellington for the winter, we quickly had to help her figure out how to handle mildew and mold on her tack.
Mold is, at its core, a fungus. And just like mushrooms and the other fungus you see, it can grow VERY quickly
in the right conditions: damp, warm, and dim. Unless you have a temperature-controlled or humidity-regulated tack room, mold can (and likely will) grow.
And once those pesky mold spores are present – it’s VERY hard to get rid of them. They like the pores on the leather as a hiding space, and once inside they can reproduce quickly, producing that green mildew you see on your tack.
Prevention is ALWAYS the best solution. Once mold and mildew get into your leather fibers, it’s almost impossible to completely destroy them without harming your leather too. Yes, there are solutions that can kill those pesky mold spores, but they will also break down the fibers in your leather making it weak and prone to cracking and breaking.
If you – like many others – have neglected to prevent mold and are dealing with an active mold situation, here’s what you should do. First things first, take your tack outside ASAP. You don’t want to wipe your tack in your tack room, releasing all those spores into the air where they can settle on other tack, walls, or trunks and replicate. Then, follow these steps:
I can’t say this enough: oils are your best friend. Not only will leather oils keep your tack supple and soft, but – like every 5th-grade science experiment proved – oil repels water. And since water feeds mold and mildew. Well-oiled tack can help to repel mold and mildew!
We realize there’s a lot of advice out there, but here are a few things we personally recommend you do NOT do. Not only are we looking out for your mold situation, but we want to make sure you preserve the safety and efficacy of your tack. The following things can harm the leather:
As always, please reach out to us with any questions on leather care, repair, or fitting. We’re here to help!