Two bits...?

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Lori W

Well-Known Member
Sep 22, 2010
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Southwest Michigan
I was flipping through the pages of the recent AMHA and AMHR magazines and noticed that the majority of the pictures of animals shown in harness had two bits in their mouth - one attached to the reins (of course) and another smaller ringed bit attached to the check.

Currently, I have my check attached to the single bit, as do most people I know that drive their minis. I've tried to do some research and really haven't found much about the check bit, other than the fact that it's used and these bits are available to purchase. It seems like a lot of metal in the horse's mouth - or a lot of 'stuff', as I understand that some use just a leather thong attached to the rings.

My questions... when showing at breed shows, and perhaps more prevalent at the highest levels, is it necessary to use the bit for the check to be competitive? What are your thoughts on this? Do you use the check bit? Thanks!
I'm surprised no one has jumped in on this yet.

The horses I've seen at shows that have the overcheck bit seem to be extremely competitive. You might try contacting Tammi Nuttal at Winning Ways training farm and ask her about it if no one chimes in with answers to your questions. She has trained horses to the World level and I know she uses an overcheck bit. She has always been very supportive to me as an amateur at shows and is dedicated to the driving aspect of showing.

She has explained the mechanics and theory of the two bits to me, but I never used the overcheck on a regular basis, so I'm afraid I cannot pass along the information reliably. Faulty memory!
You don't NEED a check bit to be competitive at worlds or nationals.There are plenty of horses winning worlds that don't have a check it in.

Using the check bit depends on your horse and how he/she carries him/herself. Some horse naturally want to over bridle or are heavy on the forehand so a check will help. The horse will hit the check bit instead of leaning heavily on the snaffle bit. I don't use a check bit but someone recommended I use a check bit for my guy since he leans on the bit.

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