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The continental french link snaffle bit can also be known as a 4 ring, dutch gag or even as a bubble bit. French link mouthpieces soften the action of a single jointed bit by eliminating the nutcracker action, by means of a shaped flat plate which lies across the horses tongue. Continental bits work by raising the bit up in the horses mouth in a similar manor to a conventional gag, but there is a limit to the extent this can happen thus lessening the severity. In addition to this, a lot of poll pressure is easily achieved on the lower setting of the dutch gag which is why ideally two reins should be used to ensure a correct contact can be maintained on the snaffle rein without poll pressure when necessary. The cheek of the jointed dutch gag involves a series of steel rings, the main snaffle ring with one smaller ring above and two below, enabling a number of different positions for the reins. Correctly, the 4 ring bit should be used with two reins, one on the main snaffle ring, and a second on either of the lower two smaller rings depending how much poll pressure is required. Often this bit is only used with one rein on the lower rings, but ideally if only one rein is to be used the bit should be used with roundings to maintain a better contact with the horses mouth. Originally designed to emulate the effect of draw reins in the showjumping arena, the continental snaffle is a popular bit for horses and ponies, and useful for horses that dislike a curb but respond well to poll pressure.
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