Here's a link to Equine Ink about bits and the anatomy of the horse's mouth. It's brief, but looks like more will be forthcoming. At the bottom of the article is a link to a USDF article that's more technical--radiographic images of the ways different snaffle bits sit in the horse's mouth. 

Once upon a time I saw an article explaining how to determine if your horse was having problems with the bit (as opposed to other things that would cause him to avoid contact). If anybody finds it, you might post the link. It's useful information. In the meantime, I'll continue to look.

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Thanks for posting this. I LOVE seeing the X-rays of the bit in the horse's mouth.
Aren't they?! The other studies this group of veterinarians have done are fascinating, too.
Everyone please remember.....the bars of a horses mouth (where the bit lies) is very much the same as your shin....skin over bone. If you lightly rap a metal bar on your shin it will hurt a lot. So, anyone using bits must remember how sensitive that part of a horse's anatomy is and USE WITH CAUTION! I've seen too many people over the years, when annoyed with unwanted behavior from their horse, yank on the bit in a punishing way. OUCH! Those poor horses.

You many have guessed, I am a Dr. Cook's Bitless Bridle user! I love those bridles. I teach children to ride and all of my horses go happily in their Dr. Cook's while their riders learn the balance and control they need to achieve "good hands". The only problem is that we cannot show without a bit....lousy archaic rules!
Fascinating!
Hello Alan,
I have learned about bittles bridle/spirit bridle long time ago thanks to you, and I owe you my gratitude. It has been 8 years I tried it first out of a curiosity, and I have not gone back to bits since then. In fact, the very idea of putting anything like a bit into a horse's mouth is so repulsive to me, I no longer look at horse show the same way.

Perhaps it may please you, that The Czech Equestrian Federation has just approved bittless bridle (Dr. Cook type) for showjumping. It is an admirable break from FEI, which very rarely happens with these regional organizations. The representatives have not finalized the description yet, and they are asking for input on this matter. That is a good news, what happens next is to be seen.

However, I am a little sceptical about the official approvals of this bridling that may sprout in the future. For one, unless people change their way of riding horses - specially the "on the bit" part, there is a potential for abuse, just like with any bit. For instance, I have seen on YouTube, that people sea-saw horse's nose with bitless bridles in order to tuck the horse under by force. It is a die-hard habit, perpetuated by the current equestrian culture. Other concerns involve the use of metal in the noseband and various levering add-ons. Which brings the idea, that if bit less bridles are to be used officially in near future, we need better educate people about equestrianism in general, not just rely on simple rhetoric, that the absence of a bit will do all the magic on its own. This type of bridling is just an open door, what people do with it is another ball of game.

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