Some idiot marketer was told that if it has a joint it’s a snaffle and lists it as such and the mis-use continues.
A snaffle consists of a bit mouthpiece with a ring on either side and acts with direct pressure.
However, a snaffle does not necessarily have a jointed mouthpiece as is often thought. A bit is a snaffle because it creates direct pressure without leverage on the mouth. Ther
e is NO shank of any kind on a snaffle. While many snaffles have a single- or double-jointed mouthpiece, the most common designs for snaffle bits, that’s not what makes a bit a snaffle. A mullen mouth (a solid, slightly curved bar) or a bar bit is a snaffle if it attaches directly to the same ring that the cheek pieces and reins attach to.
A snaffle is sometimes mistakenly thought of as “any mild bit.” While direct pressure without leverage is milder than pressure with leverage, nonetheless, certain types of snaffle bits can be extremely harsh when manufactured with wire, twisted metal or other “sharp” elements. A thin or rough-surfaced snaffle, used harshly can damage a horse’s mouth.
Difference between a snaffle and a curb bit:
A snaffle is a non-leverage bit, and so does not not amplify the pressure applied by the reins. With a snaffle, one ounce of pressure applied by the reins to a snaffle mouthpiece will apply one ounce of pressure on the mouth. With a curb, one ounce of pressure on the reins will apply more – sometimes far more – than one ounce of pressure on the horse’s mouth.
A true snaffle does not have a shank like a pelham or curb bit. Although the kimberwicke appears to have a bit ring like a snaffle, the bit mouthpiece is not centered on the ring, and can is used to create leverage; in the Uxeter kimberwicke, there are slots which hold the reins in a specific location. Both are used with a curb chain thus the ring acts like a bit shank and creates leverage, making it a type of curb bit.
A snaffle also cannot slide up and down the rings of the bit or cheekpieces of the bridle, if it slides it would be in the gag bit category.