Some bits are designed to be used with bit accessories, or a rider may choose to ride with a specific bit accessory to improve the comfort, positioning and/or change the function of their bit.
A leather or elastic curb strap, for example, limits the poll pressure exerted by a gag bit and introduces a new contact area in the horse's chin groove, to which some horses respond well for extra control. A curb chain has a similar effect but is traditionally used with pelhams and kimblewicks rather than gag bits. A curb chain guard is recommended when introducing your horse to a curb chain.
Horse bit guards by brands such as Shires and Acavallo provide some added directional control and help to prevent pinching or sores on the horse's lips. They can also be useful in preventing the bit from sliding through the mouth if your bit is a little too big. Bit guards can be beneficial to young horses' training as they keep the bit stable and straight in the mouth, and are most commonly used with loose ring bits.
Pelham roundings are designed to convert a bit such as a pelham from double reins to a single rein, particularly useful for fast work and cross country, however they do reduce the leverage which can be achieved and the finer controls of the rider. They can also be used on gag bits to employ two rings rather than one, helping to lessen or increase the poll pressure effect.
Gag cheeks are used with running gags like the cheltenham gag to exert poll pressure. One end attaches to the cheekpiece of the bridle while the reins are attached to the other end. It is advised to ride with another set of reins attached directly to the bit to avoid excessive exposure to constant poll pressure when riding in a running gag.
Not sure which bit would suit your horse? You may find our Bitting Guide helpful!