The true horseman reaches for his snaffle bit as the choice item of training. The snaffle bit can be used constructively throughout a horse’s life, because it works fine with not just training, but also for occasions like performance events and showing. Personally, I almost never think of any other bit when it is horse training time.
The snaffle bit has a really simple construction. It generally consists of a mouthpiece that is jointed at the center, with two rings one at each end. You can independent exercise control with either side of the bit, which plays straight on the horse’s mouth corners. This enables easy and direct interaction through the reins. In terms of the pressure you exert and the pressure the horse feels at the mouth, the ratio is pretty much one to one, meaning a pound of force applied by your hands results in a pound of force playing on the mouth of your horse. This is very much at the opposite end of the spectrum from other products like the shank bit of 7 inches, where the energy force at the hand is substantially diluted by the time it reaches the mouth. You can use the snaffle bit effectively only if you are a old hand and are able to keep your hands light as a feather.
If you are an old veteran, you really need just the snaffle bit to do your riding, not matter what form of riding you are doing. I mostly comfortable with half inch curb straps of leather; I just don’t go for curb chains. You are taking precautions against yanking the bit through your horse’s mouth with the strap. It is not as hard on the horse as curbed chains, which I have never liked or use. I am most at home with leather, and more important, I know that my horses are also most comfortable with leather.