Often used in western riding, the Sweet Iron is actually a cold-rolled “mild steel” or carbon steel that has been work hardened. It is often preferred by horses because the oxidation of the rusting or “seasoning” tastes sweet.
It also seems to encourage salivation. Salivation is thought to be a “sensitivity enhancer” and many trainers believe their horses work best when their mouths are moist. A salivating horse is a more relaxed horse. He is moving his tongue and relaxing his lower jaw as well as his neck, poll and spine.
Sweet iron bits look gorgeous when they are new and pretty ugly when they are used. However, their appearance has no affect on their performance. In fact, horses seem to relish them as they rust,
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