Neue Schule bit review

Ah yes, the age old struggle of Henry and bitting. It’s been difficult from the very beginning, back in the days when he completely ducked behind all contact and I ended up taking the bit of the equation completely for 6 months. Since I added the bit back in, we’ve gone through several. Some were just because he’s matured and developed over the years, and his ability to handle and go into contact has improved. We’ve gone from a copper loose ring to a nathe to an eggbutt french link to a baucher to Myler to a happy mouth to a KK – different mouthpieces, different metals, different rings, and different thicknesses. Some he hated, some he liked well enough… I’ve never found one where I really loved how he felt in it. I really felt like that was the horse, though, not the bit.

Pretty standard for pre-Neue Schule Henry: chomping, not really straight, moving a bit flat and blocked in his neck and back

The Neue Schule bits have been on the scene for a while now, and I’ve heard really good things about them. There’s no getting around it: they’re expensive. Especially for someone like me, who has a horse that is very high drama and dislikes most things. His history with bitting tells me that he either tolerates it, or he wants me to stick it where the sun don’t shine and take it with me to hell. That’s Henry. He was also going “fine enough” in his KK that he’s been wearing for a few years now. I mean, sure, sometimes he still liked to drop the contact and come behind the bit, or bounce up off it, but I had no problem accepting that those were symptoms of training issues or my own riding. He’s never been a big fan of real contact and connection, and dressage isn’t my strong suit.

And then I had a day where I really was feeling meh about how he was going in the KK, and started wondering if it might be time to move on again. Maybe a different metal, or a thinner KK? Back to the Nathe? I wasn’t sure. By sheer luck, I also noticed that Riding Warehouse had started carrying some of the Neue Schule bits. There are a lot of things I can resist, but an experiment with an item that I’ve heard so many good things about isn’t one of them.

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Maybe I’m dating myself, but I will never see him as anything but Dawson. Also let’s all agree that Pacey was way better.

The first question was: which one?

Neue Schule has so many options, the indecision was crippling. I posted in a dressage group asking for opinions, and eventually found my way to a rep. She helped me narrow it down to two, and then I completely opted out of making hard decisions and made my trainer pick. Yes I’m that kind of person.

We (she) settled on the Tranz Angled Lozenge Eggbutt, which was described by Neue Schule as “offers stability within the mouth, making it a good choice for horses with inconsistent contact, short, tense necked horses, and horses that need directional control.“. Inconsistent contact and tense necked horse… that definitely sounded familiar. Their website goes on to say “When a contact is taken, the Tranz Angled Lozenge rolls down onto the centre of the tongue, the ‘sweet spot’, enhancing feel and responsiveness thus a higher level of communication through the rein is achieved. The arms are slightly curved and of an oval profile. This oval design takes up less room between the tongue and upper palate, whilst offering a similar weight bearing surface from the pony’s perspective as thicker, circular mouthpieces.“. I know that Henry has a larger than average tongue and lower than average palate, so again… this sounded pretty spot on for him.

In all of my reading I found that Neue Schule really spent a long time researching and developing these bits. There is a lot of engineering here, and a lot of attention to minute detail, all the way from the exact shape of the bit, to the exact angle of the lozenge, to the exact makeup of the metal. Seeing all the science and engineering that went into them kind of made the price point make more sense. This isn’t your crappy run of the mill $25 loose ring. They spent a lot of time and money developing these.

Seriously, take a few minutes to look through all of the information on their website. It’s fun.

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“The unique Salox Gold metal possesses the highest thermal conductivity of any metal used in horse bits, this means that the bit will warm to mouth temperature quickly and become ‘neutral’ to the horse meaning that they are less likely to inwardly fixate on the presence of the bit and communication will not be compromised.”

Admittedly though, at the end of the day all the science in the world can be as impressive as it wants, but what really matters is – what does the horse think?

I will start by saying that Henry hates change. He always has. Any new piece of equipment tends to get a reaction somewhere between angry and irritated. He is the Princess and the Pea to an extreme. Knowing this about him, I planned for the first ride in the Neue Schule to just be a walk hack, ponying Presto with us. No contact or anything, I just wanted him to carry the bit and get used to a new feel in his mouth. As expected, he chomped and chomped and chomped the entire time, trying to figure it out. Standard behavior for Henry on day 1 of a bit change.

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Day 1!

The next day I put him back in it, and went out to do trot sets. On trot set days we work mostly in stretchy trot, just going forward and straight, adding in some hill repeats. I didn’t ask him to do anything but go forward and relax his topline, so he could work up into some contact but not really make it too “formal”.

The third day was when I knew I’d be able to tell whether or not it was going to work. By the third repetition he’s always over the fact that Something Changed, and we’ve either moved into acceptance or rejection. So for day 3 we went out and did a light dressage ride, and I suddenly had a horse that was quiet and much steadier in the contact. He didn’t chomp at all (chomping is his go-to maneuver and always has been, I don’t think we’ve ever gone a whole ride in any bit with no chomping), and he felt steadier in my hands than he ever has. The next day, same thing, but even better. The following day, same thing, but even better. I described it to Trainer the best way I could, saying that he felt more “mature” in the connection. Steadier, moving up TO the bit, and no chomping. I finally felt like I had something solid to ride him up to.

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Only two weeks have passed between the first photo in this post and this one. The difference? A bit change.

In truth, this bit fits the shape of his mouth so much better than the KK, and better than anything else I’ve used on him. It sits so nicely, not too thick, not too thin, and matches the contours of his mouth perfectly. I can see why he finds it so much more comfortable. I think I had fallen into the “bit fitting” trap of looking only at the size and thickness of the bit, rather than really examining the whole shape. Bits are kind of like saddles in that way – it has to fit the whole way across. Until I saw how well the Neue Schule sat in his mouth, I didn’t really realize how all of the others hadn’t.

The real test was our dressage lesson last weekend, where Trainer would be seeing him in the new bit for the first time. Even though he started out tight and tense in the environment, she immediately exclaimed that he looked so much steadier and happier in the contact than he had before. She kept saying that he really looked like a “proper horse”. I asked her afterward to write down her impressions so that I could include it here, and this is what she had to say:

The difference in his hind leg is unbelievable! The connection can finally come from back to front with a soft, elastic connection to the bit. Before, he would hit the bit and try to hide from it, and that tendency has totally disappeared. He finally trusts the contact, which results in a true connection, which results in a horse that can work properly forward from his hind end. 

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I am still kind of blown away by the difference. I was hoping he would like the bit, but I didn’t really expect to have any major changes. In my wildest dreams I was thinking maybe he’d be 20% steadier in the contact, but instead I’ve got a horse who is 100% happier than he was, and some issues that we’ve struggled with for years have been massively improved in a matter of weeks. Now I feel bad for taking so long to figure this out for him.

If you’ve been eyeing a Neue Schule, I really can’t say enough good things about my experience. Are they pricey? Yes. Would I have spent the money several times over to make my horse this much happier? Without a doubt. Bits are just as important as saddles, IMO, and you can’t deny all of the time and engineering that has gone into producing the Neue Schule line. You also can’t argue with Princess Henry.

I do always have Riding Warehouse coupons, so if you’re looking to save a few bucks on an order just drop me a line and I’ll send you one. I know every dollar counts! And in this case, those dollars are exceptionally well spent.

39 thoughts on “Neue Schule bit review

  1. Glad Henry likes the bit so much!! Now I want to try one for Tanta. Haha. But the price scares me, if she didn’t end up liking it… probably worth a shot though. all the science-y stuff is totally cool!

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    1. Ohhhh I’ll check them out… I’ve never felt like we had THE bit but have found a. Puppet that I’m happy with. Definitely will be researching these 💗

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  2. Ugh, Boat is the same way and chomps constantly. I’ve been eyeing these for awhile but the price made me so wary. It seems crazy for a piece of metal!!! But…… maybe I’ll have to look into it a bit harder. Thanks for the honest review!

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  3. I tried runkle in this exact bit (albeit half an inch too big) and he really liked it. In the end I just couldn’t afford it though. I circled back to it with Spicy because he’s been really struggling with bitting. Hes um… tense. In a head straight in the air hollow back way. I’m currently in a myler combo which has made a HUGE difference for him, but is 0 kinds of legal for… pretty much anything. I got a tranz angle baucher deeply discounted so we’ll see how that goes when it arrives!

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      1. Ooh, I like the sound of that!! I have a young horse who’s coming off a winter break and I haven’t quite nailed down ‘the’ bit for yet. Would love to give it a try!

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    1. oh for those of you who don’t have the funds for a neue schule – while cotswold sports doesn’t use the salox (bc i think neue schule patented it) they do have bits with very similar shapes at around ~$80 shipped

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  4. I just got this same bit am excited to try it out once I am back in the saddle in a few months! It dawned on me that we (well at least I do) spend so much money on other types of equipment and tack and then buy cheap bits…..when the bit is probably one of the most important pieces of tack we should focus on. I decided I owe it to my horse to to invest in and find the best bit for him I can. So happy to hear of the positive results with you guy! Happy riding!

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    1. Yeah I totally agree. I never really thought about it much before, but seeing the difference between something like the NS vs a basic, cheap bit…. there’s no comparison. I hadn’t ever thought about bit fitting in the same way that I do saddle fitting, but it makes a lot of sense now in retrospect.

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  5. I assume it is completely legal for eventing dressage, right? I struggle with bits with Carter who is missing two front teeth. I would like to use one, but I want to make sure I don’t have to switch back to something else for competition.

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  6. I have this exact bit but the bradoon, because Leo’s face is tiny. As you said, the difference was immediate and huge.
    I use the loose ring option for Taran because he tends to be a bit more lean-y, but his way of going also changed dramatically when I moved him to a NS bit.
    So I now own a small fortune in NS bits, including a double bridle setup. However, I’ve gotten rid of every other bit in my collection. To me it’s like having a collection of $5 flip-flops vs one pair of really nice, comfortable, well-made leather shoes. Sure the well-made one is wayyyyyy more money, but the difference it makes in your overall life comfort is worth the money ten times over.

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  7. The difference is incredible! I’m curious if one of their bits might work on Eros as I haven’t found THE BIT yet for him over fences. He likes to lock his jaw and pull down which is pretty annoying. But I have yet to put a metal bit in his mouth that he doesn’t detest, so I’m anxious to spend the money given that.

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  8. Wow. I think it is pretty amazing how much of a difference you can see in those pictures. Yes, the bits are expensive but they do seem to be worth every cent. Good to see they are not hyped without reason! And yay for finding a bit Henry likes so much!!

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  9. They also last really well. I’ve had Katai in the exact same bit, although in the sport pony version, since I started her back in early 2013 and it’s still going strong!

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  10. This is the exact bit my young mare finally decided to like, and I echo that it is worth every penny. The other part is that if someone ends up buying a NS bit and needing to resell it, they are popular enough that they can recoup most of their investment!

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  11. I appreciate a good Goldilocks bit story and think it’s a piece of equipment often overlooked but really I just wanted to leave a comment to say Team Pacey all the way.

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  12. I’d love a coupon option if you still have them. I’ve been considering them for awhile and your review is pretty convincing!

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  13. I used to only strictly yse Herm Sprenger KK bits. Several years ago, when NS came on the scene, I decided to get the one you are using for Henry, on a half Arab gelding who had a tendency to be inconsistent in the contact. This bit made dramatic improvement and I was sold. Now, I have a mare who recently moved up to Third Level dressage and a double bridle. I was unsure which bits to choose so I used one of their reps, who comes out with all the NS bits, makes a few suggestions, then lets you try them til you find the right one. It was worth every cent for the $75 fee because otherwise, I would have chosen the wrong bits as well as the wrong size. My trainer and many of my fellow barn mates have all switched to NS. Pricey, indeed, but you cannot put a price on a happy horse = happy ride.

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  14. Holy smoke, those things ARE spendy, but I’m glad Henry is so happy with it! I’ve never had to buy a bit. But my trainer must have 35 spare ones hanging about in the tack room so I know it can be hard to find THE one.

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  15. I’ve been using a NS bit on Niko lately and I’m thinking of investing in the D-ring version so I can show in it. My biggest issue is that Niko really fits a 4.75″ bit best and they don’t make that size… so it’s hard to justify the high cost when it won’t fit quite right.

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  16. I used the NS Verbindend on Phantom for a couple years. It was the first bit that she didn’t duck behind the contact in. I always thought there was still a better option for her, so I picked up a tranz-angled lozenge Baucher. So much better. She’s happy to push into the contact, even at canter, which has always been our problem gait. I’ve loaned my Verbindend bit out to various people who’s horses have had issues with contact and almost every horse has been happier in it.
    Unfortunately, so far Cisco has hated jointed bits, so he got a Bomber Happy Tongue. But I’m still hoping that I can convince him otherwise in the future. I’m never going to sell my NS bits as I bought them before they got really popular and paid way less than the current prices for them!
    If you are ordering, have a look at the Bit Bank UK. Might be cheaper to order from there. But you probably have to know what you want and know that you are keeping it.

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  17. I read all the time but rarely comment… had to agree with your Dawson label and chime in that yes, Pacey was and always will be better!!

    I don’t have a horse anymore, sadly, but if I do get another one I definitely want to check these bits out! As an engineer I totally appreciate the science and attention to detail. Plus Henry looks amazing! Thanks for the review!

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  18. That’s one hell of a change in him from one little piece of metal! It’s amazing to me how that can happen and makes me wish I had all of the money in the world so I could fuss around with all possible bits and saddles to find everything my horses loved the most.

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  19. Pig’s weymouth is a NS thoroughbred, and it was essential to showing Pig. It was the narrowest mullen mouthed curb I could find. It fits him comfortably, and he trusted it enough to actually push into it and stretch his neck down in it. It’s still my favorite for galloping him, and he was so quiet in this combo. Best money I’ve ever spent on a bit, though tbh it was a gift from my family. 🙂

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  20. I really need to bite the bullet and just order a few to try for Annie. She constantly chomps chomps chomps and I know isn’t super happy in her Waterford. I’d love to find something she really likes.

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  21. Dressage extensions will allow you to trial bits for $15 plus shipping if people don’t want to drop a lot of $$ on something that may not work too. The $15 comes off the price of you decide to buy it.

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  22. Do you mind sharing the rep’s contact information that helped you choose your bit? Their site is rather painful to navigate and I have been trying to get in touch with someone with some questions and recommendations.

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