Snaffle-bit (Period)

Snaffle-bit (Period)

A snaffle-bit is the part of the bridle which goes into the horse’s mouth; the rider controls the horse through direct pressure, without leverage.  It’s a period charge, found in the arms of von Wierrant, 1605 [Siebmacher 40], and of Kasattel, mid-16th C. [BSB Cod.Icon 392d:542; cf. Parker 63].  It’s sometimes blazoned, a bit redundantly, as a “riding snaffle-bit”.  The snaffle-bit is fesswise by default.

Period forms of the snaffle-bit have a bar or curb at either end, to keep it from slipping from the horse’s mouth; and a ring, to attach the reins.  While a snaffle-bit could be a solid bar, by far its most usual form is jointed in the center (as in the illustration); it is thus usually blazoned a “broken snaffle-bit” in the Society.  (“Broken” here refers to the joint; it doesn’t mean the bit is fracted.)  Society armory often emphasizes the joint by arranging the snaffle-bit in chevron.

There’s one Society example of a “double-strand snaffle-bit”, which is simply a broken snaffle-bit whose central part is made from two braided wires rather than a solid metal bar.

For related charges, see bridle.

Shishido Tora bears:  Per chevron gules and argent, a riding snaffle-bit Or and an eagle sable.

Elizabeth de la Vigne bears:  Vert, a broken snaffle-bit chevronwise argent and in base a sun Or.

Alail Horsefriend bears as a badge:  A double-strand snaffle-bit fesswise.

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