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What Are ERS English Bits and How Do They Work

Horse riding is not just about talent and bravery; it also involves understanding the tools and equipment used. One of the most important tools in horse riding is the bits used in bridling a horse. They play a crucial role in how the rider and the horse communicate.
In this blog, we will explore ERS English Bits, discussing their importance, how they work, and the different types available for various equestrian sports.

What is a Bit?

A bit is a piece of metal or other material that is placed in the mouth of a horse. It is a critical part of the bridle, which is used for steering and communicating with the horse. The bit rests on the bars of the horse's mouth, which is the space between the front and back teeth.

The Role of ERS English Bits

ERS English Bits are specially designed for English riding sports like dressage, show jumping, and eventing. These bits are known for their precision and delicate ways of communicating. The design of each bit affects how pressure is applied in the horse's mouth and how the rider's instructions are passed through the reins.

How Do ERS English Bits Work?

To use these bits well, it's important to know how they work. These bits help riders talk to their horses through gentle touches in specific areas in the horse's mouth.

Pressure Points

  1. Bars of the Mouth: This is where most bits press down. ERS English Bits are designed to press here softly but firmly. This helps the rider steer the horse without hurting it.
  2. Tongue: Some of these bits are also pressed a little on the tongue. This helps tell the horse to lower its head or to slow down. It's very useful for training or when you need to control the speed.
  3. Roof of the Mouth: Some special bits lightly touch the roof of the horse's mouth. This slight touch can help get the horse's attention and make it easier to manage, especially when you need precise movements.

Material and Shape

ERS English Bits come in various materials like stainless steel, copper, rubber, and synthetics. The shape of the bits also varies a lot, from straight bars to jointed snaffles and more complex shapes like pelhams or kimberwicks, each designed for specific needs.

Types of ERS English Bits

Different ERS Bits are used based on what the rider needs and how sensitive the horse is. Here's a look at some common types:

Snaffle Bits

  • Plain Snaffle: This is the simplest kind of bit, perfect for teaching new horses. It works by pressing directly on the horse's mouth, which helps in learning basic commands and control.
  • Jointed Snaffle: This bit has a hinge in the middle, which makes it easier to give more specific commands. The hinge makes the bit more flexible, allowing better communication between the rider and the horse.

Curb Bits

  • Pelham: This bit mixes features from both the snaffle and the curb bits to give stronger control. It has a part called a shank that puts pressure not just on the mouth but also under the chin and on top of the head.
  • Kimberwick: A U-shaped bit that gives a gentle leverage. It's a bit stronger than a snaffle but less intense than regular curb bits. It's good for riders who need a bit more control than what a snaffle can offer but not as much as a full curb bit.

Specialty Bits

  • Gag Bits: These are mainly used for horses that need help holding their heads up. Gag bits move up and down on the rings or ropes attached to the cheeks, which helps the horse lift its head.
  • Butterfly Bits: These are used in sports like driving and polo for better steering. These bits allow for sharper turns and quick stops, and they can be adjusted to put different amounts of pressure on the horse's mouth and cheeks.


ERS English Bits are essential for any English rider. Knowing the different types and how they work can really improve your riding experience and how you communicate with your horse. Choosing the right bit and using it properly can lead to great teamwork and success in various horse riding disciplines.