The Pacifier.

Archie is very light in the bridle, very responsive, and has never needed anything more than a rider with better hands.  Sorry, dude.  Contact, on the rare occasions that I take it these days, is measured in ounces, not pounds.



When I first started riding him, back in 2005, he was in a simple D-ring snaffle.  He went fine in it, so there was no reason to change it.  When we moved to Savannah, I decided to try him in a Happy Mouth double-jointed roller, for no reason other than that I thought it would be more comfortable in his mouth.  When at the vet's meet and greet back in February, the topic of bits came up and The (now very pregnant) Eventer tossed a new one in my hands and told me to try it.

So I did.  And while another horse might be a better test, I found that the Kid enjoyed it and it met my need to be sympathetic to his mouth.

Let me introduce to you the Pacifier, Archie's leather bit.

Before first use.

After first use.
Initially, the Pacifier is a straight piece of rolled leather.  It doesn't appear stained or tanned or whatever it is that changes the color of leather, and rightly so - it's going in my pony's mouth!  The D-rings also appear slightly bigger than those on my Happy Mouth, which suits me just fine.  I like a flashy D (thanks, h/j days).  After using the bit for a few rides, the color of the mouthpiece darkened (saliva) and it molded into the shape of his mouth.  Hello, custom fucking bit.  Pieces of chewed grass obviously optional.


While, again, crippled geriatrics aren't the most reliable guinea pigs, I will say that he's done everything I've asked of him with no issues.  We've been able to have the same normal transitions, the same level of flex and bend, and he does the baby dressage that I rarely ask for (um, yeah, leg yields) just fine.  I never felt like I didn't have enough in his mouth for running away from wild hogs or angry canters in the woods or backing his temper-tantrum butt into trees.


After a couple months' use.


You can see how it's created a natural curve from resting above his tongue (I think?)
The bit is currently USEF approved but not USDF approved.  A moot point for us, but maybe not for you.  The Eventer wrote about it here.  Her video review of it here.  And the maker's website is here.  It's not the flashiest page, but yay for lower-overheads.  The bit comes in three versions, a D ring, a loose ring, and a three ring.

i just like this photo.

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20 comments

  1. wow. that is intriguing. I love the concept of it.

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  2. Interesting!! I've never used a leather bit, and I've never known anyone who did. (Except now, obviously!)

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  3. Very cool! Thanks for sharing this weird bit of tack with us!

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  4. I've considered trying a bit like this although this bit is a better deal pricewise than I have seen elsewhere. Stampede goes in a sprenger duo knock off (basically a super flexible piece of thinner rubber on a D) which is a vast improvement on any metal bit for him but he still opens and closes his mouth if my hands aren't absolutely quiet (as in I better not need to balance him or bend him or anything, lol) or when he's stressed out (well his life is difficult). So you can get this bit and test it and return it if you don't like it or was that just your situation? I will say I wish the leather wasn't so obvious on the sides, makes it a bit rough for doing hunters in.

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  5. I've thought about trying a leather bit. I think Nilla would like it, but since it's not dressage legal, I didn't bother. How is it to keep clean with all the grass eating?

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  6. Interesting. The 3 ring might be a cool option for Cosmo.

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  7. How cool!! I've never heard of a leather bit like this before other than some of the "indian" style bits that are used with no bridle.

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  8. I bet this is a great option for sensitive horses! Plus, it wouldn't feel cold or hot, depending on season.

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  9. I really want to try this bit as we are on our third rubber bit in about a year. But as you mentioned it is not USDF legal. :(

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  10. Reminds me a bit of the Nathe...very cool and logical idea. I remember when my Nathe wore through, and broke, while I was cantering...LOL! Luckily I noticed before pongo and he was trained to stop like nbd whenever I said "whoa". I still loved that bit!

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  11. I've heard great things about leather bits. Glad he likes it!

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  12. Very interesting! I've often wondered about leather bits, so thanks for the review!

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  13. This is really cool! I've never heard of something like this, but I'm so glad you decided to post about it.

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  14. So cool! I think Simon would really like that.

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  15. Huh that actually looks pretty awesome!!

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  16. Really interesting- I have heard of leather bits, but never seen one applied. What is the life expectancy on those things? Just wondering if eventually the leather will start to break down over time?

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  17. I had no idea such a thing existed. Very neat concept!

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  18. I thought I spied that on insta! Problem child has one too. It was great for having her just pack around and get re-intro'd to a bit in her mouth last fall/winter. I switched her to a pelham over the winter because she was a freakin' freight train, but if it was show legal I'd totally show in the leather D.

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  19. Fascinating - that last photo though lolz. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you ;-)

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