Bit = Control
The horse wears a bridle; the bridle contains the bit; the bit is directly linked to the man behind by means of reins or lines. So by pulling on one of these,the man can inform the horse whether he is to turn left or right. by pulling both or flicking them, he can tell him to stop or move forward. The bit fulfills the function of a car's steering wheel, and of its brakes too. but it rests on a sensitive tongue and works on sensitive lips. the lighter your touch the better for the horse - and the better for you. if you are rough and heavy-handed, his mouth will become 'hard' and you will not be able to manage him easily.
Photo credit: All images by me
You have a voice, and the horse has ears. He can learn to understand what you say.The better your oral communication, the less you need to pull on your horses mouth.
Bits are even more confusing than bridles in their multiplicity of their styles and patterns, but very many of the designs that have been marketed have added absolutely nothing to the art of driving or riding.
All you need is a plain iron snaffle or straight bar bit. this comprises of a ring on each side of the mouth connected by an unjointed mouthpiece resting on the tongue and bars - that is, the gums behind the incisor teeth and in front of the molars. it works on the corners of the horse's mouth, and therefore touch them, but without being so far back that it wrinkles them.
The important thing is that the bit should be of the right size, and perfectly fitted to his mouth. if you have ever tried wearing someone else's dentures, you will appreciate what we mean.