Horse Bits & Charities

Spring finally seems to be here – good. And the end of the financial year, which means an inventory check – not so good. Somehow I acquire stuff at a much faster rate than I can catalogue or photograph it. I finally started to go through a few boxes of rusty bits & spurs that I bought some time ago & came across a few interesting bits.

Handmade African horse bit

The monstrosity above is a ring bit, said ring is suspended from the top of the port, and passes under the horse’s chin, acting as a very severe curb. Sometimes called a Mameluke bit, this old design probably originated in Arab cultures. The Arabs carried it south through Africa & north through Spain into Europe & the Americas. This example is handmade from steel. Such bits are, unfortunately, not uncommon – what made this one interesting was its label which read “Gambia Horse & Donkey Trust Replaced Bit”.
Of course this made me go & look up the trust – They work in a similar way to the Brooke (, helping poor communities by helping their horses, mules and donkeys. I thought the idea of a bit exchange was brilliant.

Handmade African horse bit
Another exchange bit from Gambia. At least this one’s a snaffle, but made from thin ribbed steel rods used in construction

After last year’s spring clean / inventory check I sold a lot of unwanted things on Ebay & raised quite a lot of money for the Brooke. I should do the same this year but include the Gambian charity – I’ll link any listings to my Facebook page.

Handmade African horse bit
Another ring bit; at least someone wrapped the ring in cloth to protect the horse’s curb groove
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2 Responses to Horse Bits & Charities

  1. Jacinta says:

    Hi,A friend has found the 3rd bit shown on this page above in his grandfathers shed.Was hoping you might be able to tell us about it.It is the ring bit with the cloth around it,Many thanks,Jacinta

  2. admin says:

    Hi Jacinta, thanks for reading the blog. Ring bits (sometimes called Mameluke bits) are severe bits, the “ring” swings down under the horse’s chin and acts as a very tight curb. The design has been around for several hundred years. These particular examples date from the late 20th century & come from Gambia, they are interesting but unfortunately not valuable.