The product: The Bob Avila double ring snaffle with headstall. Available either in double or single buckle.
Where I got mine: Ebay from seller The Tack Room Equine Unlimited
Suggested retail: Approximately $80
How much I paid: $64.99
Recommended supplier: Jeffers Equine, $69.99 (for headstall and bit)
The lowdown: I picked up this bit because I’m a big believer in using as light a bit possible for my horses. I have a couple of really nice O-ring type bits and a very nice full-cheek snaffle. But – let’s face it – I’m a tack addict. That being said, I am a true believer that you cannot have enough true-snaffle bits with good ol’ harness leather headstalls in the tack room. They are the workhorse of any cowboy or cowgirl.
I had been using the full cheek snaffle on my cow horse, Jo, but he just didn’t seem to be comfortable with it. He would fidget with it, try to bite the cheeks, and generally just didn’t seem to think as much of the bit as I did. I’ve been working on headset, lateral work, flexing, and lightness – so I really wanted to step him back into a true snaffle. This bit really caught my eye.
Bob Avila is a well-respected reined cowhorse trainer who has a good eye for equipment. He is generally good about telling you exactly how to use his equipment and, if you don’t know, his website offers help choosing the right equipment for your horse. He apparently has teamed up with Professional Choice for a line of bits, this one included. He is a bit picky about quality and balance, so I expected a lot from this bridle set and I was not disappointed.
What I loved about this product:
The first thing that keeps amazing me about this headstall and bit combo is the price. Too often in the horse world you get what you pay for with cheap equipment. In this case, you get a lot more than that for which you pay. The headstall itself is an extremely supple, well conditioned, thick harness leather. The buckles and hardware are all brass. The connections are all very nice latigo that is of proper length to STAY tied, unlike cheap equipment. Even the little spot between the cheek piece and the throatlatch for the headband had a nice tied latigo piece, not the little cheap metal rectangle most tack has. This is a very attractive headstall.
Furthermore, this headstall seems to fit a wide range of horses. The headstall is available either in a single or double buckle version. My double-buckle headstall had beautiful and well-placed buckles on each cheek. A single-buckle version would be just as adjustable.
The bit itself was beautifully made. Sometimes these economy or starter bits aren’t well-finished or have a bad balance. Not all bits are the same, even if they look to be outwardly. The balance and design of this bit are exceptional. This traditional snaffle has a well-made mouthpiece that fits cleanly into the cheekpieces. What makes this bit unique is that it has a second cheek ring within the outer ring. This snaffle not only works for directional work but also lateral work. While most O-ring bits will not only pull the mouth to cue the horse to move their head, but will also have a little action on the side of the lips from the O-ring itself. This bit, however, has the added inner ring which sits against the horse’s lips and gently pushes as the rein is pulled laterally to give great clarity of cue so that your horse knows exactly what you are asking. It’s tremendous!
My gelding, Jo, really liked this bit. He apparently found it not only comfortable to pack, but tasty enough for him to fidgeting or having a dry mouth. I felt a real connection with every cue, an immediate improvement from our last workout.
What I didn’t love about this product: Absolutely everything was perfect – NO complaints, other than a wish that they would include the right reins so that this product gets used properly by those who might buy it.
This bit is one that every horse needs. It’s well made, very well balanced, exceptionally designed, and just so cheap that you should go ahead and buy two! The set includes the bit and the headstall but no reins. To make proper use of this set, use heavy reins with either a slobber strap end directly attached or water-loop ends. No snaps, please.
I give this a four hooves up!