Full Cheek Bits: English Horse Bits
If you need a bit that gives you maximum control over your horse, the full cheek bit is it. None of the other types of bits for horses offers as much guiding effect or stability as the full cheek snaffle bit. When riders are circumspect in its use, it can be used to safely tame even the strongest-willed horse in preparation for the show ring.
The full cheek snaffle bit gets its name from its prominent bit cheeks. The cheeks of these bits are much longer than usual as they extend both upward and downwards beyond the bit rings. These bit cheeks allow the rider to exert plenty of pressure on the horse's cheeks and bars. They exert far more lateral pressure on the horse's mouth than usual. Where most snaffle bits only apply lateral pressure via the bit rings, full cheek bits apply lateral pressure via both the bit rings and bit cheeks as both are in direct contact with the horse's mouth. The lateral guiding effect is thus far greater with the full cheek bit with the longer cheeks providing additional leverage. The cheeks also function as stoppers. They prevent the bit from being pulled through the horse's mouth, making them the ideal bit for horses with nervous mouth. No matter how often the horse worries or takes hold of the bit, the cheeks will ensure that the bit stays fixed in the horse's mouth.
It's important to keep in mind that the full cheek snaffle bit is not for every horse. Younger horses are likely to shy away from the full cheek snaffle bit because it can be rather uncomfortable at the outset. Timid horses will also tend to panic and reject the bit. If you intend to use this type of bit for the schooling phase, you should tend to start out by using a gentler bit to get your horse used to the feeling of having a bit in his mouth before employing the full cheek snaffle. The full cheek bit also tends to get caught on things easily because the long cheeks taper towards either end. Experts recommend that they be used with bit guards to prevent them from hooking onto or jabbing the horse's mouth. If you use these bits for horses sensibly and take all safety precautions, they will teach even the most stubborn horse to pay attention to its rider's signals.