The temperatures are dropping in the northern hemisphere.
Something I have always thought about….bits. If you ride all winter do you use a bit?
I often hack out with a halter but very rarely I’ll bridle the horses for a winter ride…and at lessons I always bridle up.
Most barns don’t have luxurious heated tack rooms so the bridles are the same temperature as the atmosphere around it. I have thought about this often and think how uncomfortable a cold bit must feel like. Sure it warms up fast but it’s not pleasant at first. I get flashbacks of the Christmas Story.
My hands never really help warm the bit; they are far too cold by the time I’m ready to bridle up (even wearing gloves).
This summer I decided to try out the Bitten Bit Warmer. I had already filled my cart with a few items and I was intrigued by the product. It was a very cheap add-on so I added it to my cart (right now you might be able to find it for $1.99). I didn’t need it all year but began to use it during hunter pace season. Now that we’re in the full winter swing I also use it for my lessons.
The Bitten Bit Warmer is a small pouch designed to help warm up the bit before use during the winter. It has a mesh pocket that can be used to insert a hand warmer. I have to admit I was pretty bummed when I realized it was just a pouch but it’s working out fine, to be honest.
I don’t use too many hand warmers…you can call me stingy with money; I never liked the idea of buying these little heat packs just to throw them away in a few hours. I’m outdoors far too often and buying them would cost a small fortune. Instead of using the handwarmers, I filled a small pouch with rice and I microwave the rice bag for about a minute before I go out to ride. My lesson barn has a microwave available in the lounge so I pop it in for a minute when I arrive. I wrap the bit before catching my horse and by the time I’m ready to bridle up it’s warm. In fact, this week I had to let the bit cool down first despite the 20°F temperatures!
The bit warmer pouch has metal clips so it cannot be microwaved. The metal clips are used to attach a lanyard. The bit warmer can be worn around the neck after to help heat your core.
- Easy to Use
- Works with any bit
- Can be removed and worn around the neck (under clothes to warm the body)
- Versatile with nearly any heat source
- Need a source of heat
- Not Microwavable
- To save yourself a disposable hand warmer, fill a small sack with rice. Microwave it for 45seconds-1 minute prior to tacking up. Use the rice bag in the bit warmer as you groom and by the time you put on the bridle you’ll be all set.
- To save a disposable hand warmer, use one first on the bit, then it’s yours to use for yourself after.
- Be careful with rice. It can produce a moist heat and you’ll want to let it air out and dry before storing. Rice-filled packs can go bad and need to replaced once they begin to smell.
- The Heated Horse Bit Warmer: If you want an all-in-one package and have limited electricity try the Heated Horse Bit Warmer. Be warned, this product costs $160 so it’s certainly not a cheap accessory. The description says the battery lasts for hours, though, so it might be useful for a lesson barn or if you ride multiple horses each day.
- Sleazy Barb Horsewear Bit Warmer: This concept is similar to what I use. It’s slightly more pricey but still highly affordable. The website doesn’t list with the fill is but it is NOT rice and alludes to a nutty aroma and dry heat.
- Bit Wamer: Available on Amazon, Ebay, and Etsy this bit warmer uses the snap-pack technology. The product costs you about $30 and comes with two heating packs. The packs are gel-based; simply snap the metal piece inside and it heats up. You can boil the pouch to reset it and reuse it again hundreds of times.
- Etsy: There are many handmade items available on Etsy as well.
I feel neutral about the Bitten Bit Warmer. It was cheap and I have found a way to make it work for me. I’m not thrilled that there isn’t a heating source included but honestly what could I have expected for a couple dollars?
If I were suggest improvements to the Bitten Bit Warmer I would make the whole pack without any metal pieces and reduced the mesh size. That way I could add rice directly into the velcro pouch without adding an extra piece.
The bit warmer allows for versatility. You can use the rice method like me, a hand warmer, or something else. I’ve been casually looking for the snap packs or even a small electric warmer. Whatever your heat source the Bitten bit warmer makes it easy to remove and use for yourself afterward.
At the end of the day I didn’t spend a fortune and my horses (and lesson mounts) are happy with a bit that isn’t harshly frozen during the winter. There may be other options and it seems there is a lot of room for improvements on these types of item. But for the value, the Bitten Bit Warmer is worth it.