One of the most commonly used snaffle bits is the eggbutt snaffle.
An eggbutt snaffle bit is characterised by the ends of the mouthpiece are shaped into a T shape. This prevents the corners of the horse or pony' mouth being pinched as can happen with a loose ring snaffle. It can be a comfortable option for many horses and is considered to be a mild bit.
The name 'eggbutt' comes from the egg-shaped connection between the bit rings and the mouthpiece. There are several different types of eggbutt snaffle with different materials used for the mouthpiece, for example Sweet Iron bits.
The main benefit of the eggbutt shape is that there is less likelihood of the horse's lip being pinched between the bit rings and the mouthpiece of the bit..
An eggbutt snaffle gives a fairly steady feel in the horses's mouth, and as the cheek is fixed in relation to the bit's mouthpiece, it offers moderate lateral control.
The fixed position of the mouthpiece on this type of snaffle bit can be advantageous to use on a horse or pony that likes to play with the bit too much.
A single jointed eggbutt snaffle has a nutcracker action on the horse's mouth.
These bits with a nutcracker effect shouldn't be used on horses with low pallets such as Arabs or horses that have with fatter tongues, for example some Irish draught horses. This is because the top of the mouth can end up getting bruised as they dont have the room in their mouths.
An alternative is to use a snaffle with a 'French Link' or lozenge in the centre of the mouthpiece is a lot milder as it doesn't have the nutcracker action of the single joint
Eggbutt snaffles can have a straight or jointed mouthpiece.
Of all the different types of snaffle bits, the straight bar and Mullen mouthpieces are considered by many to be much kinder than the jointed snaffle.
Mullen mouth snaffles are believed to be one of the kindest types of bit, as the gentle curve of the mouthpiece allows more room for the horse or pony's tongue than a straightforward straight bar snaffle, and does not put pressure on the horse's palette.
The mullen mouthpiece works mainly on the bars of the horse's mouth with little palette or tongue pressure. However even with a mild bit like this the rider needs to make sure excessive or constant pressure is not used with this type of snaffle or the bars of the horse's mouth may become numb over time.
The eggbutt snaffle bridle is useful for general riding, training young horses and for using during the the early stages of dressage. In general, the eggbutt snaffle is a good choice for an all-purpose bit.
A general guide to fitting a snaffle bit is to aim for just half to one lip wrinkles at the corners of the horse's mouth.
To get the correct width for an eggbutt snaffle the horse's lip should gently brush up against eggbutts -ensuring a snug, but not tight, fit.