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9 Best Horse Bits For Comfort And Control

If you are trying to choose the right bit for a new horse or need to change up what your current horse is using, you’ve come to the right place.  There are so many styles, sizes and materials to choose from that it can make picking the best bit for your horse overwhelming!

I’ve tried my fair share of bits over the years and have found several consistent favorites among all my horses.  The overall goal is to utilize the mildest and most comfortable bit for your horse that still gives you total control and excellent response while riding.

Here is the quick list of gentle horse bits for those of you doing research on your own.

  1. Myler MB 02 Comfort Snaffle, Wide Barrel, Level 1
  2. Myler MB 04 Eggbutt without Hooks, Low Port Comfort Snaffle, Level 2
  3. Happy Mouth Round Ring Eggbutt Mullen
  4. Myler MB 02 Comfort Snaffle, Wide Barrel, HBT, Level 1
  5. Myler MB 04 Low Port Comfort Snaffle, Level 2
  6. Myler MB 03 Black Steel Western Dee Comfort Snaffle with Copper Roller
  7. Myler 3-Ring Combination Bit, MB 32-3 Mullen Triple Barrel, Level 2
  8. Myler 2-Ring Combination Bit, MB 02 Comfort Snaffle Wide Barrel, Level 1
  9. Myler 3-Ring Combination Bit, MB 04 Low Port Comfort Snaffle, Level 2

Keep reading and I’ll go over how to choose the best bit for your horse and go into more detail on each of the bits listed below.

** I am not affiliated with Myler Bits.  I simply believe they are one of the best brands and truly combine comfort for the horse with control for the rider.

How do I choose the right bit for my horse

Before you go out and buy a new bit, you need to answer a few questions first to help narrow down the choices.  Consider the following:

  • What is the current bit style your horse is using?  Do you want to stick with something similar or transition to something different?
  • What bit style was your horse trained with?  
  • What is the size and shape of your horse’s mouth?  
  • Does your horse need dental care or their teeth floated?
  • How old is your horse?  Is it a yearling in training, mature but energetic or well seasoned and bomb proof? 
  • Is your riding style Western, English or a combination?  Do you compete in events that require specific tack?

Even after you’ve answered these questions, be ready to try several bits if the first one you decide on doesn’t work out.  Experimentation may be necessary with your horse to find the perfect fit.

A properly sized bit for your horse’s mouth is essential.  If a bit is too small, it will pinch their lips and apply too much pressure inside their mouth.  The rings on some bits can even be pulled into their mouth when the opposite rein is tugged on too hard. 

A bit that is too large causes just as many issues for your horse.  If a bit is too long, excess metal will stick out on either side of their mouth and can shift back and forth pinching their lips.  Inside your horse’s mouth, a large bit can pinch the tongue, the roof of the mouth and clank on their teeth.  Especially, if their wolf teeth were never removed.  

Here are the quick and simple steps to easily measure your horse’s mouth to determine the proper bit size using a soft rope or string.  

  1. Tie a knot on one end of the string.
  1. Place the string inside your horse’s mouth where the bit normally sits with the knot on the outside of their lips on one side.
  1. Gently pull the rope tight and mark the other side of the rope just outside their lips.  
  1. Measure this distance on the rope for the perfect bit size.

To measure a horse bit, use a ruler to determine the space between the cheek pieces in inches.

How do you know if a bit is painful for a horse

You will know if a bit is painful for your horse relatively quick.  Horses, while they tolerate mild discomforts, will let you know when something hurts.  Especially, in their sensitive mouths.  

The first indication that a bit is painful is resistance to being bridled.  Once they learn that a specific bit hurts their mouth, they will not be so eager to let you put it back in there.  Head bobbing, moving their head side to side, trying to back away and refusal to open their mouth are just some of the signs something is amiss.  If your horse takes the bit and then displays these signs, be wary as well.  

A bit might not be painful for your horse right away but starts hurting after a few uses or over time.  Look for the signs I just described above along with behavioral changes including excessive mouthing, refusal to respond or extreme reactions when you pull on the reins. 

A properly fitting bit should sit lightly in your horse’s mouth when there is no rein pressure and should not cause any discomfort.

What type of bits are harsh for horses

Some horse bits are designed to be harsher on purpose.  They exert more pressure inside a horse’s mouth and demand certain head and neck movements.  Harsh bits are not necessarily used for misbehaving or hard to train horses.  Placing an extreme bit on an unruly horse only causes more problems. 

When an expert horseman is paired with a well trained horse, he or she can demand specific actions with very little force using more “harsh” bits.  But unless you are such an expert, you should avoid the following bits for your horse to prevent causing more damage and problems.

  1. Waterford bit
  2. Cheltenham gag
  3. Pelham bit
  4. Long shank curb bit
  5. Tom Thumb

What kind of bits are most comfortable for horses

The two broad categories of bits are curb bits and snaffle bits.  Both type of bits are used in Western and English riding with some style modifications.   

Snaffle bits are considered the most comfortable bits because they exert equal pressure in your horse’s mouth without twisting or using leverage.  

Curb bits are generally considered more harsh or severe than snaffle bits because they apply more rein pressure through leverage on the shanks.  The longer the shank, the greater the leverage and pressure.  Harsh, heavy hands can inflict more pain and discomfort using a curb bit than a snaffle.

Bits are made up of several components which have to be looked at individually to determine comfort.  Bar type, joints, rollers, cheek type, shank length and material are all important.

Choosing the correct combo will result in a bit that’s most comfortable for your horse.  Check out the following chart for an easy comparison.

Bit TypeSnaffle  > > >  Curb
MaterialRubber/Plastic/Nylon  > > >  Copper/Brass  > > >  Sweet Iron  > > >  Stainless Steel
ThicknessThicker  > > >  Thinner
TextureSmooth  > > >  Textured  > > >  Twisted  > > >  Chain
Port HeightShallow  > > >  Taller
Snaffle CheekEggbutt  > > >  D-Ring  > > >  Loose Ring  > > >  Full Cheek
Snaffle ActionMullen (solid)  > > > Mullen (rollers)  > > >  French Links  > > >  Single Joint
Curb Bit Shank LengthShorter  > > >  Longer
Curb Bit Shank ShapeCurved or Angled  > > >  Straight

To pick the gentlest and most comfortable snaffle using this chart, you should look for one with eggbutt cheek pieces and a smooth, straight bar that is solid or has a single roller.

For a curb bit, look for a thicker bar with a shallow port and curved, short shanks.  

9 Gentle horse bits that still keep you in control 

English Bits

Here are some classic English style snaffle bits that are gentle for your horse yet demand their attention when engaged.  The mouthpieces on this list are all very similar.  The main differences appear in the cheek and shank pieces, along with tongue pressure and port height.

1.  Myler MB 02 Comfort Snaffle, Wide Barrel, Level 1

A very classy d-ring snaffle, the MB 02 is the Myler alternative to a traditional French link snaffle.  The curved bar doesn’t drape the tongue and the single, wide barrel provides gentle pressure when engaged.  The d-ring won’t pull through your horse’s mouth or pinch their lips.  For more versatile cheek pieces intended to pair with English bridals, check out the same bit with hooks on the rings.

2.  Myler MB 04 Eggbutt without Hooks, Low Port Comfort Snaffle, Level 2

The MB 04 mouthpiece is designed to provide more tongue relief with a 1/4” port.  Your horse can swallow and move his tongue when he is relaxed and moving forward.  As soon as you engage the reins, the wide barrel better distributes tongue pressure.  The eggbutt shaped rings will not pull through the mouth or pinch the lips.  

3.  Happy Mouth Round Ring Eggbutt Mullen

Mullen bits are a solid bar mouth piece made of metal or rubber.  These bits apply equal pressure on the bars and tongue of your horse without disturbing the roof of their mouth.  Rubber is softer, more flexible and warmer than metal which is a good alternative for horses that fight metal bits.  These gentle bits are also great for horses with soft mouths.

Western Bits

When it comes to comfortable Western bits, riders have the choice of snaffle bits in two forms.  The classic ring styles or with shanks.  The mouthpiece itself in the same.  It all depends on the look you like and if you need more leverage that shanks provide.

4.  Myler MB 02 Comfort Snaffle, Wide Barrel, HBT, Level 1

Again, the MB 02 mouthpiece is comparable to the lozenge mouthpiece or French link in snaffle bits.  The HBT shank has a patented “Independent Swivel Cheek” which allows all parts of the bit to move independently of one another.  This allows for engagement on one side of the mouth without pinching the other.  This is a great choice for trail riding since the 5” shanks make grazing easier if that’s something you allow your horse to do.

Single Rein Position – mild leverage

5.  Myler MB 04 Low Port Comfort Snaffle, Level 2

Again, the MB 04 provides more tongue relief than the MB 02 with a 1/4” port.  This is a great transition bit and is suitable for many horses including experienced horses, green horses and horses that are used to single-jointed bits.  The 7” shanks give more leverage than the 5” shanks so when more control is necessary, you have it.

Single Rein Position – moderate leverage

6.  Myler MB 03 Black Steel Western Dee Comfort Snaffle with Copper Roller

For a flashier look, take a peek at this black steel western d-ring.  This traditional d-ring cheek style doesn’t pinch or pull through the mouth and the copper roller provides additional stress relief to nervous horses.  This classy western bit is just as showy as it is functional.

Combination Bits

Myler combination bits are my all-time favorite because they can be used with both English and Western disciplines and offer multiple rein positions for adjustable leverage.  Not to mention, combination bits are truly pleasant for your horse.  

These bits are hybrids of a ring bit, shank bit and hackamore.  They utilize five pressure points to engage your horse instead of just the bit.  Your horse will feel pressure via the noseband and chin strap first when you engage the reins.  The goal is to allow your horse to respond before a firmer hand is needed to put pressure on the bit.  

Myler offers at least 13 different combination bits.  Most come with a black leather nose band but a few come with a rawhide band.  Here are my top 3 choices for gentle combination bits.

7.  Myler 3-Ring Combination Bit, MB 32-3 Mullen Triple Barrel, Level 2

The three spinning barrels allow your horse to flex the bar when he raises his tongue and swallows.  When the reins engage, the mouthpiece curves into a solid bar and rides like a traditional mullen.  The three barrels also apply pressure across the entire tongue, not just in one spot.  The flexibility of the MB 32-3 makes it a very comfortable and forgiving bit when your horse is moving forward and relaxed.  Yet, it also provides the right amount of control when engaged.  

Three Rein Positions – Big Ring (no leverage, applies no nose, chin or poll pressure), Middle Ring (mild leverage), Bottom Ring (mild leverage)

8.  Myler 2-Ring Combination Bit, MB 04 Comfort Snaffle Wide Barrel, Level 1

The curved mouthpiece prevents lip pinching and the single wide barrel applies pressure across the tongue more kindly.  For less tongue relief, look at the MB 02.  The two ring shank only offers two rein positions compared to the three ring options.

Two Rein Positions – Big Ring (no leverage, applies no nose, chin or poll pressure), Lower Ring (mild leverage)

9.  Myler 3-Ring Combination Bit, MB 04 Low Port Comfort Snaffle, Level 2

The MB 04 is similar to the MB 02 except that it has an additional 1/4” port that gives more tongue relief.  There are also three rein attachment rings which give you additional leverage options.  The curved mouthpiece still prevents lip pinching and is comfortable for your horse when they are relaxed.  When you engage the reins, the nose band, chin strap and bit all work together to signal your horse. Very little force is required on your end.

Three Rein Positions – Big Ring (no leverage, applies no nose, chin or poll pressure), Middle Ring (mild leverage), Bottom Ring (mild leverage)


Choose a bit wisely and you can have both comfort for your horse and good control for you.  A horse will not perform well with an ill-fitting or uncomfortable bit.  The quality of Myler bits are hard to beat and worth the hefty price tag.  If Myler isn’t your favorite brand, you can still use the comfort chart above to help you narrow down which type of bits to try on your horse.