Neue Schule Sizing Guide
How to Measure your Bit Correctly
There are various measurements to consider when sourcing and assessing the correct size of bit including length, mouthpiece thickness, ring size, design and legal requirements for the various disciplines.
Loose Ring Cheeks
The picture below demonstrates a popular dressage legal loose ring snaffle, the Neue Schule Team Up 12mm or 16mm diameter, code (9012 or 9009)). Other loose ring cheeks that are measured this way include the NS Universal, Bubble bit, Beval and Balding Running Cheek. The necessary measurements and the points at which they are taken are illustrated:
The Neue Schule Team Up Loose Ring Snaffle
1) Mouthpiece Length: The measurement is taken by placing the bit on a flat surface and pulling the rings apart so the bit is at its maximum length. The measurement is taken along the full length of the mouthpiece from the inside edge of the loose ring to the inside edge of the opposite loose ring and may be measured in inches or centimetres.
2) Mouthpiece Thickness: This measurement is taken at the widest part adjacent to the cheek. Again, if you put the bit on a flat surface, you can slide a tape measure below this point and, if you look from above, you can see the thickness. The most accurate way to measure the thickness is by using a set of calipers, which are widely available. 14mm diameter is the minimum legal requirement for a young horse class and 10mm is the legal minimum requirement for a snaffle.
3) Loose Ring Diameter: This measurement is taken from the inner edge of the loose ring and is generally measured in millimeters; 70 mm being the average for a standard loose ring; and 55 mm the typical bridoon size. The maximum internal diameter for a loose ring whether used as a snaffle or a bridoon in conjunction with the weymouth is 80mm.
A mix of metals is now permitted within the mouth, for instance the arms (mouthpiece) of the bit may be made in stainless steel, incorporating a central link or lozenge comprising of a copper alloy. However bits must be employed in their manufactured condition without any addition or alteration to/on any part.
Fixed cheeks include the Baucher (hanging cheek), Full Cheek, Eggbutt, Pelham, Neue Schule Jumper, Cheltenham and Nelson running cheek. Depicted is the Neue Schule Tranz Full Cheek, illustrating the points at which to measure for the fixed cheek design.
The Neue Schule Tranz Angled Lozenge Full Cheek
As you can see, the diameter of the mouthpiece is still measured next to/adjacent to the cheek.
The length of the mouthpiece is assessed using the same method as that of a loose ring, inside cheek to inside cheek. The measurement is taken by placing the bit on a flat surface and pulling the cheeks apart so the bit is at its maximum length. The measurement is taken along the full length of the mouthpiece from the inside edge of the cheek to the inside edge of the opposite cheek and may be measured in inches or centimeters.
Please note: if in a fixed cheek and sourcing a loose ring you will need to move up approximately ¼” in order to accommodate the holes that the loose ring slides through. Some brands including Neue Schule do go up in ¼” increments ensuring that a perfect fit maybe obtained.
When sourcing a weymouth, there are a couple of additional measurements to consider as demonstrated in the picture below:
The Neue Schule Slimma Weymouth 14mm 7cm shank fixed cheek
1) Shank Length (lower): This measurement is taken from below the mouthpiece to the bottom of the shank (not to the bottom of the loose ring that the curb rein attaches to). This measurement is generally taken in centimetres; 5cm, 7cm and 9cm are the usual options available, and 10cm is the legal dressage limit.
2) Shank Length (upper). There is currently no dressage legal restriction on the length above the mouthpiece. However, the better brands will scale up or down corresponding with the length of the shank below, in order to maintain correct balance and leverage.
3) Mouthpiece diameter: The dressage legal requirement of the weymouth and bridoon should be such as not to hurt the horse.
The dressage legal rules regarding changes of metal within the mouth have altered, now for instance allowing the use of a stainless steel bridoon with a copper alloy curb (weymouth) mouthpiece.
A good guide for fitting your doubles. An accurate assessment would be if your loose ring snaffle is a good fit at 5½”, your fixed cheek weymouth would be 5¼” and your loose ring bridoon would remain 5½”.
Please bear in mind that not every design of dressage legal snaffle is also legal as a bridoon in conjunction with the weymouth/curb.
For clarification or general bitting advice please contact the Neue Schule expert bitting advice line on: Tel: 0844 66 44 600.
Neue Schule mouthpieces are available in a range of sizes between 4” (101 mm) and 6 1/2” (165 mm). The table below shows the imperial/metric conversions.
Mouthpiece thickness varies according to the following table:
Cheek measurements vary dependant on cheek style and requirement, the table below shows the various options.