Dressage Bits, what is allowed?
Dressage is a very popular sport for my many riders, whether it is competing in small local competitions or right up to grand prix level. Knowing what bit is legal under the British Dressage (BD) rules is important. However, you also need to know what bit best suits your horse and whether or not it is allowed in the dressage arena.
As well as BD shows having bit regulations, unaffiliated shows are also adopting these rules too. A mix of metals in the mouthpiece, such as rubber, plastic or synthetic, are allowed, as are rotating mouth and middle pieces. The loose ring snaffles are probably the most popular legal bits, and they also come in many shapes and sizes that can be suited to each individual horse. The majority of snaffles are fine as long as they do not have twists or unusually shaped mouth pieces. If your horse is unsteady in the contact then eggbutts and D rings are recommended. Or if your horse ‘backs off’ or is highly sensitive, then straight bars or mullen mouth bits may be useful.
Any bit that has an effect on the poll (apart from the double bridle), such as a three ring snaffle, KK universal or a Pelham are not allowed in competition. BD rules also state that snaffles can be as narrow as 10mm in diameter, but young horse classes state a minimum of 14mm wide.
British Dressage rules and regulations are there for the welfare of both horse and rider. As long as the bit you are using is comfortable for your horse, is accepted by the BD rules and does what is needed, all you need to worry about is getting that top score!
By Emma Mills