Putting an icy cold bit in a horse’s mouth is unkind and uncomfortable. I loved riding Kroni bitless in the winter because it was never a problem. Freedom, however, tends to ignore most bitless solutions, so it’s not really an option.
What are some of the tricks to warming up a bit? It depends on whether you are a DIYer or you want to spend some cash.
First, the free, or nearly free, solutions
- If you already have an electric kettle, put some water on when you get to the barn. Depending on the design you can either put the bit in the kettle or pour some water over it (use the rest for beet pulp and make your horse a warm snack!)
- Plug in a heating pad and wrap your bit in it while you groom.
- Blast it with hot air from a hair dryer.
- Hang the bridle around your neck with the bit zipped inside your coat.
- Buy disposable heat backs and wrap your bit up with that (they actually make a handy holding case, called a Bitten Warmer that buckles around the bit). You can use the heat packs to warm up your hands later! I buy these at Costco for not too much $$.
- Fill an old sock with rice, tie off the end and stick it in the microwave (either at the barn or, if you live close by, before you leave). The rice-filled sock will drape nicely over the bit.
- Hold it in your hand and blow on it. It does work but leaves your fingers chilled.
If you want to get a bit more fancy (or need a winter gift for a horse-riding friend), here are some commercial products.
- The Bitten Warmer, as mentioned above, uses heat packs.
- Lickity Bits Bit Warmers, can be heated up in a microwave.
- Bit Blanket, is an electric blanket for your bit.
- A Little Bit Warmer, which has a heat-generating liquid that can be re-activated.
Or, you can always go bitless. Problem solved!
Tell me, what do you cold weather riders do to warm your horse’s bit?