A Waterford Snaffle Bit is a multi-jointed type of snaffle which has a mouthpiece made of a chain of rounded links.
The most popular type is the loose ring Waterford Snaffle, but other types are available including D-Ring, full cheek and gag type snaffles.
The Waterford Snaffle is a popular choice of bit for riders competing in show jumping, eventing, cross country and for use out hunting. It is not allowed in dressage competitions.
It is good bit to use on a horse or pony horses where extra control is needed.
The mouthpiece of the Waterford Snaffle lays across the horse's tongue creating an even pressure.
It allows a lot of freedom in the horse's mouth and it encourages the horse to mouth the bit and salivate.
This helps to relax the horse's jaw and make the horse or pony more responsive to the rider's rein aids.
As the mouthpiece of the Waterford becomes uncomfortable when the horse pulls, the horse will not usually lean on this type of bit or take a strong hold.
However some horse owners and riders dislike the Waterford Snaffle as it can be difficult to establish a good contact with the horse's mouth with a bit that has so many joints as it discourages the horse from taking the contact.
The bit action of a waterford mouthpiece is normally moderate, but can become very severe in rough hands if used with a "sawing" action. As with any bit it can only be as severe or as strong as the hands of the rider that is using it.
A Waterford Snaffle needs to be 1/4 to 1/2 an inch larger than a horse's normal bit size to fit correctly as the mouthpiece of the bit needs to curl slightly around the horse's lips to allow it to work to its full potential.
Some riders like to fit a Waterford Snaffle bit slightly a higher than normal as otherwise the linked mouthpiece drops and a horse can more easily get its tongue over the bit.
When fitting a Waterford snaffle check that the first link on either side of the bit does not pinch the corners of the horse's mouth
The Neue Schule Salox is a type of bit made by Neue Schule. It has a unique meatl composition - which is a softer warmer metal with a high copper content and an additive which maximises on oxidation. This promotes salivation in the horse's mouth, Some horse owners have found that horses that have previously only been bittable in rubber or nylon bits have been happy in the Neue Schule Salox.
Show Jumping riders Nick Skelton and Liz Edgar have been seen using Waterford Snaffles and also top International and Olympic 3 day eventer Ian Stark.