The bit is the metal mouthpiece attached to the cheek pieces of your horse's bridle. Together the bit and bridle headgear apply pressure on the horse's head and mouth to steer and otherwise direct the horse while you are riding. Before you can ride your horse, you will need to set up your bridle correctly so that the bit is properly attached and facing the correct direction when you place it in your horse's mouth.
Undo the keepers on the end of both cheek pieces of the bridle. If you are using an English bridle, the keepers will unhook from the clasp and open. If you are using a Western bridle, you may need a screwdriver to remove the small screws holding the cheek pieces closed. These are called Chicago screws.
Pick the bit up and identify the front of the bit. If it is a snaffle bit, fold it in your hands facing out in front of you. If it goes together smoothly, it is facing the right way. If it will not fold together neatly, it is backward. Turn it around and try again. If the bit is shanked, the shanks should curve back toward the horse, not out in front of the horse.
Make sure the bit and the bridle are both facing the front, then run the end of the cheek piece through the loop on the bit and refasten the cheek piece so it is tightly closed. Do the same to the other side.
Attach the reins to the bit by opening the keepers on the end of the reins and buckling them around the bit, below the area where you attached the cheek pieces. The reins will typically have the same type of buckle as the cheek pieces.
Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.