HorseChannel’s Online Bit Guide – Key Bit


Key bitKey Bit: Available in a variety of styles and mouthpieces, snaffle bits made with keys have an intriguing design. Though fairly common several decades ago, their popularity has waned with the proliferation of innovative bit designs and newer technology.

  • Shaped like tiny, smooth-sided bones and typically presented in a set of three, the keys dangle from a rounded centerpiece in the middle of a straight or jointed mouthpiece.
  • The keys entice a young horse to “mouth” the bit, encouraging acceptance of the bit.
  • The keys can act like a pacifier with a nervous young horse.
  • Because they may have the side effect of creating a horse with a busy mouth, key bits are viewed as an introductory bit. Eventually the horse is transitioned to a more traditional bit.

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