The Continental Gag should be worn with 2 reins preferably; the first rein should be used on the snaffle ring, which is the first ring adjacent to the mouthpiece. When the first rein is attached to the snaffle rein it is used just like a loose ring hanging cheek bit, which uses poll pressure and lip pressure due to the sliding loose ring also applies various pressures in the mouth depending on the mouthpiece it is in conjunction with. When the second rein is attached to the ring below, the pressures are increased as the lower rings produce more leverage. In the instance of using 2 reins then this bit can be used as a hanging cheek bit and then when more help is required, the second rein can be brought into play. If the bit is only used with one rein on the lower ring, then the pressure in applied constantly and no pressure release is available for the horse.
The gag produces a head raising action and is often used for cross country and/or jumping where the head needs to be raised quickly in order to gain control and so to get ready for the next jump.
The Mullen Mouthpiece
The Mullen mouth is a very mild mouthpiece; it is an unvarying mouthpiece, which means the pressure on the mouth doesn’t change very much, as it is a fixed mouthpiece. The bit puts pressure on the tongue and lips (corner of the mouth), it does use slight pressure on the bars depending on the size of your horses tongue. This bit is very useful for those horses who have a very soft mouth and don’t like complicated mouthpieces, it may also be useful for horses who back off the contact and need that extra bit of confidence in the bit.
This mouthpiece would not be suitable if your horse leans on the bit or if they tend to take hold of the bit, also may not be suitable for the breeds with larger tongues as they may find this uncomfortable. An alternative for the horses with larger tongues may be the Cambridge (ported) mouth bits, which have that little extra tongue room or a double-jointed bit, which follows the curvature of the tongue.