Changes to the manufacturing process to be aware of in 2021
BALANCE works with Abbey England to have these bits manufactured here in the UK for us, to our design specification. Up until August 2021, they were all been made in Stainless Steel. However, the manufacturing process was very complicated and involved several different manufacturers and stages to get what we want. After a lot of discussion over the past few years, Abbey ha switched to a different manufacturing process that we hope will prove to be easier to control, and less complicated.
However, this has meant that the main foundry that produces the casting for the bits, does not work with Stainless Steel. Instead, they work with different Alloys, some of which are already used by other well-known bit manufacturers. The new version of the BALANCE Fulmer bit is made from a mixture of Copper and Nickel, which has high strength, corrosion resistance and is therefore also used in marine applications. It has a warmer feel than the Stainless Steel and a lot of horses seem to respond well to alloys that contain copper.
It is important with all equipment used on the horse, that you regularly check for any signs of significant wear, and the bit is no exception. Stainless Steel has the advantage of being VERY hard wearing, but we hope that this new alloy will also prove to stand up to a lot of use over an extended period. It has been used for the manufacture of bits for a very long time.
When you look at the bit sizing of what we have available in stock or To Order, you will see either an SS or a CN next to the size, which will tell you whether it is an older/original Stainless Steel version or a current, Copper/Nickle Alloy.
What Size you need.
We measure the width of the bits as accurately as possible with an electronic slide rule, so you may sometimes see see some unusual sizes listed! Making the bits is a rather complicated process that doesn’t make it easy to have total consistency in the width.
This is a handmade product. Manufactured here in the UK. Every bit that comes to us is measured and checked against our own templates to make sure that they meet acceptable specifications. These include: the width between the arms; the amount of curve in the bit and the size and shape of the joint.
If you don't know what size of bit your horse usually needs and/or you want to check the size of bit you need before you order, one simple method is to have someone hold your horse in a head-collar or halter * so that you can then carefully use a piece of thick string to put into the horse's mouth across the area that the bit would lie. Hold the string so that it is straight and mark where it touches the outside corner of the lips on both sides. Measure this distance and then add a ¼" (6.35mm). The arms of the bit must not be pushed into the horse's face, but you do not want a lot of play in the bit as it needs to sit quietly in the mouth.
* do not have your horse tied up when you do something unusual like this. If he does not understand what you are doing and tries to move away from you he is more likely to panic if he feels trapped by the lead-rope.
The price for the bit includes a set of leather keepers. The colour options are Black or Brown*. *Please note that the Brown keepers are very dark and look similar to the black ones! Please choose the colour from the drop-down menu.
About the design of the BALANCE Fulmer Style Snaffle Bit
These bits are designed to be attached to the bridle cheek-pieces by leather keepers. This limits the nut-cracker action, common to single jointed bits, and stabilises the bit in the horse’s mouth.
The joint in the BALANCE snaffle bits is as small as possible to provide comfort for the horse. The bit is made so that it can be reversed from time to time, to ensure that the feel does not become overly familiar in the way the bit lies in the mouth. This helps to keep the horse's central nervous system ‘alive’ and interested in the feel in order to maintain responsiveness and straightness.
About the use of the BALANCE Fulmer Style Snaffle Bit
Riding teachers can combine this bit with BALANCE Eeezy Reins (see Related Products below) to create a fantastic training/learning environment for riders of all levels, that is considerate of the horse. A safe bit for novice riders to use and a sophisticated training tool for more experienced riders who are looking to train their horses with bio-mechanical correctness.
The BALANCE organisation has recommended the use of what is commonly known as the ‘Fulmer Snaffle’ for many years. In our opinion, this is the bit equivalent of a BALANCE saddle!
This bit had sadly fallen out of fashion but, in our opinion is probably one of the best designed bits for riders who are interested in honest and reliable feedback (feelback) from their horse. It is also a bit that horses seem to love.
Carol Brett got involved in designing and re-producing this bit, because we could not find any on the market that had all the good features found in the original version. The BALANCE version has a small joint that protects the roof of the mouth. Unlike other Fulmer bits, the arms are shaped to ensure that whichever way you put the bit onto the bridle, it is never upside down!
The design of this bit and the way it works, provides honest and reliable ‘feel-back’ and as such, will be loved or condemned depending on the goals of the rider. Unfortunately, it is increasingly difficult to get good examples of this bit because the design has been tweaked and changed too much over the years by people who have not understood its intended influence. With this in mind, BALANCE has spent a lot of time working with a bit maker to make this highly effective training tool available to more riders.
We do not suggest that this is the only bit to use. Horses are individuals and as such, their needs will vary through their training. Also rider skills and sensitivity will vary considerably. However, there is no doubt that this bit is an excellent training tool for both the horse and rider. Its simple and comfortable design gives the horse confidence to interact with the rein contact and therefore provide the rider with invaluable feedback or ‘feel-back’ about his state of balance from moment to moment.
For this same reason this bit is sometimes disliked by riders who do not like the heavy feel in the reins of the horse when he is unbalanced and on his forehand, but want a bit that artificially lightens the feel in the hand in a way that is not the result of the correction of balance, but through training the horse to back off the bit through (pressure) discomfort!
" I received my bit and I am thrilled with it!! It is for my mare, who has competed through Prix St. George but has been very hard to find a bit for. She has sharp bars, and despite every effort on my part, she has often had small bruises on the edges of her tongue. I ride many horses and she is the only one this has happened to. I have been at a loss for what to change and how to make her comfortable. I was looking for a fairly thick bit that would be very stable in the mouth. The (BALANCE) Fulmer fits the bill and is working beautifully. It is really well designed and nicely made"
Being able to move in a powerful, balanced and engaged way, without restriction or discomfort, is every horse’s birth-right and essential in order for him to be able to carry the unnatural weight of a rider, without doing harm to himself.