The Science behind the Neue Schule bits:
SALOX – SOUND SCIENCE – GOOD SENSE
ENGINEERING METAL FOR THE MOUTH – A WARM AND SOFT ENVIRONMENT
Metals are the first choice for modern horse bits. They have the basic strength to meet the demands of a powerful sport and recreation such as riding and can be formed into an infinite range of precisely defined shapes.
But other than these basic requirements what other properties would the perfect metal possess?
The Neue Schule answer to this question is based on a simple philosophy – that which is good for the horse is all that matters – the rest will follow.
The mouth is warm and soft and needs to remain as calm and still as possible to listen for the rider’s aids. So, after ensuring that basic engineering strength and toughness is satisfied, the metal should then also be :
3. Of low bioactivity (low in biological odour and taste triggers that could distract the horse from the rider’s aids)
This completes the explanation of the science considered to provide what is intended to be a metal that is comfortable, safe and ‘neutral’ to the horse. The aim is to achieve a quiet mouth, ready to receive instructions through the reins .
1. D. Glindemann et al., Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2006, 45, 7006 – 7009
2. R.G. Craig and F.A. Peyton, J. Dent. Res., 1958, 37, 661 – 668
3. Value is typical for thermoplastic polyurethane elastomers (e.g. Bayer Desmopan/Texin)
The Engineering Process
Computer Aided Design (CAD) technology has made it possible for Neue Schule to be much more innovative when creating new mouthpieces and cheeks. This state-of-the-art technology allows our design team to precisely and proportionally reproduce the required ergonomic shapes and details in any mouthpiece size. It enables us to match design to equine mouth conformation; profiling and engineering critical design features to fit comfortably within the tight parameters and sensitive areas of the mouth. This utilizes the connection points necessary in order to promote effective communication through the rein between rider and horse.
Neue Schule designer bits promote the comfort and consequent performance of the horse. The variance in mouth conformation between breeds has been studied in detail. The various designs accommodate, for instance, large tongues, fleshy lips, thin angular bars or general oversensitivity.
CAD enables us to create a precision tool that, in the right hands, subtly utilizes the specific pressure points necessary to promote a particular way of going or eradicate an unwanted bitting evasion owing to discomfort. Even when the hands aren’t perfect the attention we pay to mouth conformation in the design softens the impact and helps develop the rider/horse relationship.Without CAD technology and modern manufacturing techniques we could not have achieved the degree of precision necessary to achieve these advances.
Let’s look at an example: The Verbindend
This smoothly contoured mouthpiece creates a channel for the tongue to lie in causing the horse to soften & relax through the jaw. This then greatly emphasizes the signals through the rein. It allows one to lighten the forehand, lifting the shoulder thus promoting self carriage and the ‘throughness’ needed for sustained advanced movements. It also enhances the bend for lateral work & voltes (smaller circles) etc.
When the rein is taken up, this bit cleverly connects using several communication points within the mouth. The action of the angled lozenge plays a part in this. For instance when a contact is taken the lozenge rotates and applies slightly more pressure across the tongue’s centre, where it is thicker and not as sensitive. Simultaneously pressure is reduced over the tongue’s thinner, more sensitive, outer edges. Before CAD, it was not possible to obtain these critical profiles and angles and reproduce them in any size or thickness without losing the integrity of the design and subsequent action of the bit.
The Evolution of Design
From Ideas to the Drawing Board
Our innovations and new designs are driven by the needs of horse and rider. This holistic approach represents a “new school” in bit design philosophy. A complex set of design conditions arises when kind but reliable control is required from a bit that properly fits the horse’s mouth. Years of first hand practical experience are distilled into any new design before the first sketches are produced.
The Design Process
The next stage is to produce detailed computer models, this allows us to carry out simulations to check for function and manufacturing issues, it also allows us to create realistic visual representations. The huge power of computer simulation can be brought to bear on the design so that engineering is applied most efficiently. Those of you with engineering knowledge will recognize the power of finite element analysis used in predictive engineering. If you ever wonder how we get such finely detailed features into the product it is through the advancements that simulations can give us, coupled with intelligent use of materials.
When we have a suitable design concept, samples are manufactured and product testing can begin, initially using horses that we know extremely well. If we obtain positive results then these new designs are distributed to well known riders in every discipline.
It is not until we have received beneficial reports across the board that we start full scale production.
All of our bits are the product of in-depth research and development from strength testing and chemical analysis to product trials and evaluation. Our well known NS Salox Gold material and refined designs are a testament to this.
Frequently Asked Questions
– How do I measure my bit?
Please refer to our YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMHbqpEftFI
– What is the difference between the Team Up and the French Link?
The Team Up is an ergonomically re-designed version of the traditional French Link that has addressed all of the inherent design flaws. For instance the arms/cannons are curved reducing the pressure over the tongues sensitive outer edges. The loops securing the lozenge are smaller and the centrally fixed rounded lozenge as opposed to the flat plate of the French Link ensures that the mouthpiece contours smoothly over the tongue. The most reported improvement from riders who have changed from the French Link to the Team Up is a better contact in particular with no resistance in downward transitions ie no head tossing.
– Do I need to change the size of my bit when I change from a Fixed Cheek to a Loose Ring?
Yes, we would recommend that you would go up a 1/4″ when you change from a fixed cheek to a loose ring, this is to accommodate the hole for the rings and reduce any chance of rubbing.
– What is the arrow for on the one end of the Neue Schule mouthpiece?
The arrow on the end of the mouthpiece when in situ should be on the horse’s near side facing forwards. For instance if you are sat on the horse it should be on your left hand side. This is to ensure that when fitted the mouthpiece/angled lozenge operates correctly. These are on our NS Tranz Angled Lozenge and Verbindend mouthpieces.
– Is there any difference in action between the small and large loose ring?
The larger loose ring will offer more purchase on the mouthpiece owing to the greater distance between the cheek piece and rein. That is why the dressage legal limit is now 80ml internal diameter. You may also notice that the larger loose ring is now being employed in conjunction with the Weymouth. Obviously the horse needs the head to take the larger ring size as we do not wish to cause any rubbing below the cheek bone.
– Why is the Salox Gold so special?
This metal is unique to Neue Schule and was scientifically developed specifically for use as a horse bit to encourage relaxed acceptance of the bit. Salox Gold possesses three special qualities – it has high thermal conductivity making the bit feel warm in the horse’s mouth, it is comparatively soft – for acoustic dampening and has low bioactivity all of which help the horse concentrate on the aids.
– When would I choose a Fixed Cheek rather than a Loose Ring bit?
The fixed cheeks on bits such as the Eggbutt or full cheek snaffles can offer a more stable feel for the horse and encourage them to take a more consistent contact taking the rein forwards and down as well as offering directional control. The loose rings allow the mouthpiece to move within the mouth, realigning itself during the various outlines. It also discourages horses that are likely to fix and block through the rein and also gives the rider the option to vibrate the horse off the rein should there be the need.
– Should the Bridoon be a different size to the Weymouth?
The Weymouth is a fixed cheek bit so should the Bridoon be a loose ring we would suggest going up a ¼ “ however if your Bridoon is a fixed cheek (such as an Eggbutt) then it will be the same size as your Weymouth.
– What ring size should I use for my Bridoon?
One consideration would be the size of your horses head a smaller ring is probably preferable on a petite head as a larger ring would look out of place and may cause rubbing on the underside of the cheekbone. However if the horse has the head to take it a larger ring is now very popular owing to the fact there is a greater distance between the cheek piece and the rein, therefore offering more purchase on the mouthpiece and clearer signals through the rein. The Neue Schule Bridoon bits are available in 55mm and 70mm ring.
– How does Computer Aided Design (CAD) help with design of horse bits?
Computer Aided Design technology has made it possible for Neue Schule to be much more innovative when creating new mouthpieces and cheeks. This new state-of-the-art technology now allows our design team to precisely and proportionally reproduce the required ergonomic shapes and details in any mouthpiece size. It enables us to match design to equine mouth conformation; profiling and engineering critical design features to fit comfortably within the tight parameters and sensitive areas of the mouth. This utilises the connection points necessary in order to promote effective communication through the rein between rider and horse.
– Can I get personalized advice for my horse?
Yes, please fill in the Contact Us form, ensuring that you include your phone number or email and we will be able to offer a suggestion either via email or over the phone.
– How tight should my curb chain be?
This advice applies to Weymouths, Kimblewicks and Pelhams. The curb chain should always lay flat in the chin groove and should be adjusted so that the cheeks below the mouthpiece do not rotate backwards at more than 45° in alignment with the horses lips when closed.