God bless these sensitive souls, princess and the pea types. They dislike firm contact and will generally evade it in two extremes - those who tuck their nose in an attempt to take the pressure off their mouths, and those fling their head up and down trying to shake the contact off.
These types of horses need soft, gentle bits that encourage the horse to take the contact forward and down.
Generally they go well in double jointed bits as opposed to single jointed bits which have a nutcracker action (which some horses prefer, but not these guys, but that’s another post for another day!) They do well in ergonomically shaped mouth pieces in varying thickness based on how much room they have in their mouths.
Horses with Sensitive Mouths are generally less fussed with loose rings vs fixed ring sides than we discussed yesterday for their “Busy Mouth” friends. If you are unsure on what sides to choose, sometimes it can be helpful to think about the horse’s personality in general. Horses that worry about being “trapped” often prefer loose ring bits (You can identify these horses by looking at things like, do they pull back when startled, do they have issues either float loading, or floating issues in general, is their go to response when spooked to “get the heck outta dodge”)?
The Sprenger Dynamic RS mouthpiece works very nicely for horses with sensitive mouths, being slightly more curved than the standard KK Ultra, it provides gentle even pressure on the tongue, bars and corners of the mouth. If your horse currently goes in a KK Ultra or similar knock-off but doesn’t take the contact as confidently as you’d like, then the Dynamic RS is a great option to try.
Also from Springer is the Ultra Range - both the “WH Ultra” and the “WH Ultra Soft” are great bits for these horses. The WH Ultra features a small movable wheel on the centre lozenge that gently massages the tongue and encourages the horse to relax the jaw instead of sitting locked behind the contact. The WH Ultra soft features a soft rubber covering on the centre lozenge which has a similar softening effect on the horse.
Neue Schule also have a couple of offerings suitable for horses with sensitive mouths - the Team Up is a superb bit that is ergonomically shaped with a forward facing lozenge that lots of horses find confidence in.
The Neue Schule Starter is another bit we recommend pretty regularly for sensitive horses - the mouth piece is very interesting, it’s quite like a mild version of the very popular NS Verbindend, with less angle on the arms where they connect to the centre lozenge. It is a little firmer than the Team Up, but is a good option for horses that are Sensitive, but perhaps also a little strong.
Hopefully you’re enjoying our new website and our posts on the 6 Problems.
You can explore our in stock bits for “Sensitive Mouths” and the 5 other Problems on our website