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Abbey Arch Serrated Mouth American Gag

Please note- This is a handmade item and unfortunately the current lead times are approximately 3-8 weeks, and may vary due to COVID-19.
If you need the bit urgently please contact us as we do carry a small amount of stock.




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About American Gags – by Abbey Bits

The American “Gag” has been an addition to the UK tack room for over forty years. With its origins in the American Tennessee walking horse disciplines, it has been used for horses in fast work.

A true Gag bit, now more commonly referred to for greater clarity as a Running Gag, will be fitted onto specially modified bridle cheeks that allow the bit to slide upwards upon them with a strong lifting action.

The American “Gag” has long metal cheeks that extend below the mouthpiece with the rein attached to the bottom ring. As this contact is taken up a strong leverage action will be applied with the mouthpiece as the fulcrum. This will place a focused downwards pressure across the mouth tilting the mouthpiece forwards.  A downward pressure will also be applied over the poll through the bridle.

As the mouthpiece is fitted to a loose sliding section on the bit’s cheeks, there will admittedly be a short distance upon which the mouthpiece slips upwards in a gag like fashion with a certain amount of lifting action. But this is limited and the downward leverage action will soon over ride it. Looking at its origins, this make sense as the horse’s head is initially raised marginally but then brought down and inwards. The angle at which the horse holds his head and neck will affect the action of the mouthpiece across the lips tongue and bars.

It is possible to use two sets of reins on this bit by attaching a second set to the Dee at the side of the mouthpiece. On just this top rein it will have an action similar to that of a Snaffle.

The long cheeks above and below the bit can aid with directional guidance and help to a degree to keep the mouthpiece central. Care needs to be taken to make sure that the horse’s lips do not get pinched as the lever action is brought into play. Bit Guards will help to prevent this but if used a wider bit will be required to allow space for them. Generally, it is a bit for the experienced horse and rider when in fast work.

Additional information

Mouthpiece Width

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