Our Privacy/Cookie Policy contains detailed information about the types of cookies & related technology on our site, and some ways to opt out. By using the site, you agree to the uses of cookies and other technology as outlined in our Policy, and to our Terms of Use.


How to Adjust a Walking Horse with a Port Bit

A bit with a port has a curved mouthpiece. Port bits can help adjust bad habits of gaited walking horses. Several varieties and sizes of ports exist, such as those with low, high, wide and narrow mouthpieces. Each type hits a different spot in a walking horse's mouth, giving the rider specific results. For example, the high port places pressure on the roof of the horse's mouth, whereas the wide port gives more tongue relief.

Step 1

Fit your walking horse with a well-fitting bridle and low port bit with a short shank. When fitted properly, the bit creates a wrinkle on each side of your horse's mouth, making him to appear to smile.

Step 2

Start out with a low port bit to get your horse accustomed to the feeling, especially if you've been riding in a snaffle with no shanks. However, one bit does not work on every horse. Starting with the least severe type helps you determine what works and what doesn't. If a low port bit doesn't work, try another type.

Step 3

Ride with two hands and ask your horse to move forward. Get him accustomed to the new bit by pulling back gently and evenly on your reins. Don’t jerk or continue to pull if he bobs his head or refuses to respond. When he does the task correctly, release the pressure immediately. Adjusting your walking horse means rewarding him when he gives the correct response.

Step 4

Experiment with several types of bits. Choose the bit with the proper-size port based on your riding needs. For instance, a high port or curb bit with longer shanks applies pressure that encourages your walking horse to raise his head and tuck his nose. A lower-shanked bit offers less leverage and is less severe. It encourages flex at the pole. Therefore, if your horse simply refuses to slow, a short-shanked, low port bit offers an option.