Bit plastics and what they each do in your horse's mouth February 23, 2015 08:09
Coated and Flexi Bits
Vulcanite is a hard black material similar to plastic. At a quick glance, it looks like a rubber bit. This is a firm material, which is much harder than rubber. It is often used to make a Mullen mouth bit without any flexion because Vulcanite is a hard plastic. Vulcanite is very accepted by horses as they interpret it as a “warm” material. The bit is made with a metal bar for strength that is covered with a thick amount of vulcanite. This is a good bit for a horse that needs a softer touch but that does not chew on the bit.
Rubber is a soft black material similar to plastic. It has many of the same functions as the Vulcanite material discussed above. The difference between the two is that rubber is flexible where Vulcanite is not. It is great for making soft strong bits such as a flexible rubber Pelham that has a metal wire on the inside or a soft Rubber Dee for young horses who have just started light work. The young horses generally chew on the material because they are getting used to having something in their mouths. When horses chew on this material, it will slowly wear away. Rubber bits need to be replaced well before the horse reaches the metal interior of the bit.
*It is important that the horses are salivating and chewing before using these bits or they will not move freely due to the nature of the rubber and will cause the horses to be uncomfortable.
Hard Carbon is similar to Vulcanite. It is not flexible. Hard Carbon is a durable material, which is non porous and therefore moves more freely in the horse’s mouth than a rubber bit would. Hard Carbon is used to produce a narrower mouth piece than Vulcanite or Rubber mouth pieces, which is good for horses that don’t like having wider bits in their mouths.
Trust Flexi Mouth Bits
Trust Flexi are the new kid on the block. They are quickly replacing the dearly loved Nathe bits we have all been using for years. Rumor has it: Nathe has retired and will no longer be making bits (we don’t have any confirmed statements directly from Nathe but the bits haven’t been available for the last two seasons, if not longer). Trust flexi bits are flexible (as the name implies). Their plastic is FDA Approved and non-toxic. These bits are constructed using a Stainless Steel interior core making them reliable and safe. They are available in classic designs and are hand crafted. They have their Trust logo visible on the
end of the bit (so we know we are getting the real deal). We are very excited about this bit replacing Nathe!
Sprenger Duo Bits
Sprenger makes a crisp white colored flexible bit, which they have branded as Sprenger Duo. These bits are made from flexible plastic that bends and adapts to your horse’s mouth. The material does not contain plasticizers, it is food-safe, and solvent-free meaning it is safe for your horse. Sprenger’s Duo bits are made with a steel cable on the inside for added security (should it be needed)! These bits are considerably narrower than a Rubber or Vulcanite bit.
There are many other quality brands that are similar in many ways to the materials discussed above. There are also many other brands that produce rubber type compounds bits, which come with a handful of problems. They can be toxic to your horse and should be avoided even though their price may seem tempting. The problem with a poorly made coated or flexible bit is the construction. Often poorly made bits aren’t made with a steel core or steel wire. This means that if your horse chews on the bit too much, you could end up in a scary situation with a broken bit in the middle of a course (which wouldn’t be fun and could be dangerous). … Please think twice before making your purchases. You usually get exactly that for which you pay!