Metals are the first choice for modern horse bits. They have the basic strength to meet the demands of a powerful sport and recreation such as riding and can be formed into an infinite range of precisely defined shapes.
But other than these basic requirements what other properties would the perfect metal possess?
The Neue Schule answer to this question is based on a simple philosophy – that which is good for the horse is all that matters – the rest will follow.
The mouth is warm and soft and needs to remain as calm and still as possible to listen for the rider’s aids. So, after ensuring that basic engineering strength and toughness is satisfied, the metal should then also be :
3. Of low bioactivity (low in biological odour and taste triggers that could distract the horse from the rider’s aids)
Let’s look at one example: The Verbindend
This smoothly contoured mouthpiece creates a channel for the tongue to lie in causing the horse to soften & relax through the jaw. This then greatly emphasises the signals through the rein. It allows one to lighten the forehand, lifting the shoulder thus promoting self carriage and the ‘throughness’ needed for sustained advanced movements. It also enhances the bend for lateral work & voltes (smaller circles) etc.
When the rein is taken up this bit cleverly connects using several communication points within the mouth. The action of the angled lozenge plays a part in this. For instance when a contact is taken the lozenge rotates and applies slightly more pressure across the tongue’s centre, where it is thicker and not as sensitive. Simultaneously pressure is reduced over the tongue’s thinner, more sensitive, outer edges. Before CAD it was not possible to obtain these critical profiles and angles and reproduce them in any size or thickness without losing the integrity of the design and subsequent action of the bit.
Although the correct design of the bit is critical another extremely important factor is the material and huge strides have been made in this area. Neue Schule has identified a property of metals, the thermal diffusivity, that it believes to be important for the comfort and acceptance of the bit.
Neue Schule Salox Gold* is our unique metal that rapidly equilibrates to blood temperature so that the mouthpiece is less likely to feel like a foreign body in the horse’s mouth. If this happens we can expect a more relaxed acceptance of the bit which would promote responsiveness to the rider’s aids and culminate in a soft, consistent contact.
The following table and graph gives our experimental values for thermal diffusivity comparing Salox and a typical ‘standard’ copper alloy (SCA) bit material and gives literature values typical for stainless steel and for a high quality engineering polymer that may also be used for horse bits.
Table 1: Thermal diffusivity values (mm2 s-1) measured (SCA and Salox) or taken from literature sources for various horse bit mouthpiece materials
Mycket information finns på Neue Schules hemsida