What are signs that your horse is allergic to a certain type of bit material?

Asked by Nicolette Snyman

A Allergies to certain metals are not common. Nickel is a material that both humans and horses can be allergic to; fortunately, this is not used in high amounts in bits anymore.

Skin rash and itching can be indications of an allergic reaction. Although, it’s unlikely that wounds in the mouth or on the tongue are due to an allergic reaction. It is more likely that bit handling or the wrong shape or size of the bit causes this.

Horses can prefer a certain taste or material. This means that a horse accepts a certain material better than others. To make a fair comparison, you need exactly the same bits in different materials, and then assess which one your horse seems to accept better. Unfortunately, most bit brands have their own material and also their own unique shapes.

Answered by Natascha van Eijk, professional bit fitter and founder of the International College for Professional Bitfit Consultants (www.icpbc.com), Equine Support International specialist