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A steel rod inserted in a horse’s mouth and held in place by the rest of the bridle. Horses are guided by means of reins (lines) attached to each side of the bit. While oxen could be guided from a ring in their nose, horses apparently did not respond well to that approach, and almost as soon as evidence of domestic horses first appeared in a region, the bit also appeared. Bits for riding bridles have always tended to be quite elaborate, but some of the basic workhorse bits looked just like those in the British Museum dating back almost a thousand years.
1001 Words and Phrases You Never Knew You Didn’t Know by W.R. Runyan Copyright © 2011 by W.R. Runyan