You have put in so much thought to your bit selection, looking for the one that fits your horse’s mouth, one that you feel comfortable with, and one that your horse likes to wear. Choosing the right bit can be a difficult task, so once you find the perfect bit, it makes sense to hold on to it tightly with both hands!
In order to keep your bit for as long as possible, proper maintenance is a must. Caring for your bit is an easy task when you have the right tools and a bit of know-how. Keep reading to learn how to properly clean and care for your horse’s snaffle, pelham, or curb.
The best way to keep your horse’s’ bit clean and in top condition is to clean it after every ride. Just like cleaning your bridle, daily cleaning is a quick and easy task. After cleaning your bridle, dip your bit in a shallow bucket of water (being careful not to soak the cheek pieces or the reins). Give your bridle a quick shake to remove the excess moisture, saliva, and dirt, then carefully wipe down the bit with Horse Amour Peppermint Bit Wipes. Not only will these wipes clean your bit and leave it with a fantastic shine, they will also impart a fantastic peppermint aroma and taste that your horse with love on your next ride or drive.
If you haven’t been diligent about your daily bit cleaning, don’t fret! We all lapse from time to time. With some good old-fashioned elbow grease, you can easily return to your bit to its former glory.
Start by removing the bit from your bridle and allow it to soak in a shallow tub of warm water for about five minutes. This helps to soften the dirt, grass, and dried saliva that are clinging to your horse’s bit. Be careful about soaking bits for an extended period of time, as certain materials, such as sweet iron, will easily rust. Then it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Use a cleaning brush such as a toothbrush to scrub the bit. Pay special attention to the joints of the bit and where the mouthpiece connects to the cheek piece or shank. You may need to soak the bit periodically during this step to ensure that all of the debris has been removed. Rinse well, and dry with a soft towel.
Use Herm Sprenger Diamond Paste to complete the process. A little paste goes a long way with this fantastic metal polish. Simply apply with a dry rag, allow the paste to dry, then buff the paste off with a clean cloth. If you have spurs, stirrups, or harness fittings that have lost their luster, give this a try to make them shine like a diamond.
After you have polished and shined your formerly dull and dirty bit, you will want to prepare it for its next adventure. Return the bit to your bridle and give the mouthpiece a generous application of Effol Mouth-Butter. Not only will it give your bit a delicious apple flavor, it will also protect your horse’s sensitive mouth and keep the skin on the lips soft and supple.
Cleaning your bit is the perfect time to inspect it and ensure that it is in top condition. Run your fingers along the mouthpiece, checking for sharp areas, burrs in the metal, or worn patches that may pinch your horse. This is especially important with rubber bits, as horses can damage the mouthpiece by chewing on it. If you detect signs of damage, it may be time to replace your bit.
Your bit is just one of the many ways that you communicate with your horse. At The Cheshire Horse, we want to keep the lines of communication open! If you have any questions about proper bit care or bit care products, please reach out to our friendly sales staff who have years of hands-on equestrian experience.