What Bit is Best for Starting a Young Horse

There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding the best bit to use when starting a young gaited horse under saddle. Many Spanish training traditions start all young horses in a bosal. If a person is experienced with the bosal, this can be a good choice. But many seem to believe it is the equivalent of a simple halter, or mechanical hackamore–not so. Unless you’re well trained in the correct placement and use of the bosal, you are better off starting your young horse in a good snaffle bit.

The best type of snaffle to start with is a D-Ring with a moderately thick mouthpiece that is shaped in a gentle curve so there’s plenty of tongue relief for the horse. The direct action of a snaffle bit permits the young horse to learn how to stop, turn, back, and balance its weight properly under a rider. It allows the rider to help the horse develop straightness and impulsion from behind, as well. The 2nd Generation Imus Comfort™ Training Bit is designed specifically for this application.

Once these initial training goals have been met–and not before–it is time to introduce a good curb bit.


The 2nd Generation Imus Comfort Gait™ Bit has been designed to meet the needs of gaited horses from this point on.

The pinch free, independent side to side action of the bit permits lateral work, and you’ll find the shape of the mouthpiece encourages the horse to gently drop his head into the bit, rather than stiffening up against it, when you ask for a bend to one side or the other. Lots of circles, serpentines, figure eights, halts, half-halts, and rein backs should be worked into your rides to help the horse develop flexibility, suppleness, and straightness. Good impulsion forward is born out of these qualities.

Your work should consist primarily of the walk, with good impulsion. Diligently practice the techniques outlined in our article, Ten Tips for Finding, and Keeping, the Gait. If your horse isn’t gaiting with a moderate degree of speed after several months of this without breaking to pace or trot, it might be necessary to use another type of bit to help reach your gait goals.

For more info please check out my article, Top Ten Gaited Bit Myths

Brenda Imus

Watch Brenda Imus's bitting demonstration below.