Bit metals and what they each do in your horse’s mouth February 16, 2015 08:41
Steel bits are very durable. Steel makes a very strong bit that will last for many years to come with virtually no maintenance. Another bonus: steel is can be very cheap, which makes it very tempting! The question is: Do horses like steel in their mouths? Many
horses are content to have steel in their mouth even though it is considered a “cold
metal”. You will run into trouble when you use a poorly made steel bit because the bit’s finish and details can often be rough and even sharp to the horse’s mouth. When buying a bit, take a closer look at the fine detail. Steel bits, which are manufactured with “lost wax” in their casting, have a smoother finish, better details and over all, are well made bits.
Sweet Iron as known as Sweet Metal (and blue bits)
Sweet Iron is a great bit metal;unfortunately, it is often looked down on cosmetically. In reaction to this, recently, they have become more popular because some manufacturers are finishing their mouthpieces with a “flamed” sweet metal, which equals a pretty blue finish. When you put this beautiful blue color beside polished steel cheeks…voila, you have an amazing looking bit! I promise you two things: 1-this will be a great bit for many years to come, and 2-it will not look this beautiful blue color for long!
Un-oxidized (new) sweet iron (also called sweet metal) has a bluish tinge. Once the bit is used, it gets oxidized and the blue color quickly disappears. Over time, the bit begins to look more and more rusty and brown. The Sweet Iron rust will not chip off like rusty steel would flake. The rust is not dangerous or hurtful to the horse. Most people don’t want a rusty bit; this is the part where you shouldn’t judge a bit by its cover! The sweet iron produces a taste that horses love. Bits made from this material will last a long time and are less expensive than bits made out of copper blends. The cheeks of the Sweet Iron bits are usually made from steel and will not change cosmetically.
Copper Blends & Registered Blends:
Copper is a good metal, which promotes the production of saliva and in turn acceptance of the bit. The down side to having a bit made entirely of copper is that it is a soft metal. If you have a horse that chews on the bit, you will soon notice the copper changing shape or even developing sharp points in areas of wear. Copper is better used in accent areas such as copper rollers, French links, lozenge links and even in a mixture of different metals.
Aurigan is a registered mix of copper, silicon and zinc made through extensive research by Sprenger with the help of the Veterinary University of Hannover. The copper mixture, Aurigan, encourages saliva production and even has a smell and taste that horses love (I don’t recommend trying to smell or look for the taste yourself, you won’t find it, I’ve tried!). Aurigan bits are available with a German silver cheek or Aurigan cheek.
Sensogan is Sprenger’s new registered material and will slowly be replacing Aurigan. Sensogan is a mixture of copper, manganese and zinc. The copper content has been reduced slightly so there is still enough to maintain the production of saliva. This material will not discolor as easily as other copper blends. Prevention of allergic skin reactions, muscle tension, even stress are some of the added benefits of using magnesium. The list of benefits goes on and on; basically magnesium is good for all kind of things! Many training programs include magnesium in their supplement or even in some feeds. Does yours? Either way, we are very excited for this new material!