As an equestrian, winter is a time of inconvenience in most parts of the world. Northern California is no exception with chilly 40 degree mornings (Don’t think that’s chilly? Put your hand on your horse’s bit). I personally am mortified at the idea of shoving a cold piece of metal in my horse’s mouth. If it’s too cold for my hands, it’s too cold for them.
Warm water works, if you have it. And even if you do, warm water quickly becomes cold and any splash on you makes you even colder. Warming up the bit in your hands works…if you have warm hands. Otherwise it does very little and makes you even colder. The armpit trick works, but it’s awkward.
My favorite trick (and product review today) is the Kelley Bitten Bit Warmer. This product is oh-so-simple. It’s just a padded/insulated sleeve that Velcros around your bit. Insert a warming device, wrap around your bit, give a couple of minutes, and bridle up. That’s it! And that is exactly why we like this product. It’s not flashy. It’s not fancy. It’s not expensive. It’s not even attractive. It simply aids in an important task and makes life easier.
There are several “warming devices” you can use in the Kelley Bitten Bit Warmer and I’ll give you my thoughts on these.
- Gel reaction warmers. These little pouches are quite neat. An exothermic reaction turns liquid to solid and produces heat instantaneously. The pros are the heat is instantaneous and they’re reusable. The cons are the heat doesn’t last long and you have to remember to reset (aka boil) these so you can use them again. The “remembering to boil” thing has been my downfall with these. I have used these a few times…and then don’t really use them again for a while. They’re not my favorite, but they’re not a bad option either…especially if you’re only using them to warm the bit and don’t need them to warm your hands later.
- Electronic “heating” devices. These USB chargeable heaters are basically batteries. Turn them on and they get hot. The pros are they’re reusable, easy to use and easy to charge. The cons are what makes this a poor option for me. They take time to warm up. You have to remember to recharge. It’s hard to find one that either doesn’t get hot enough or gets WAY too hot and you start worrying about a short out and a fire. Fire is pretty much the last thing anyone wants around a barn, so I don’t use these.
- Hot Hands disposables. Long lasting and very warm. They’re also disposable…which may or may not be your thing. The pros…they get very warm, are small, portable, cheap, and you don’t have to “remember” to do something with them to use them the next day. Just open a new pack. The cons…these things take a good 15 minutes to warm up and you cannot reuse them. I pop one open when I get to the barn to start the warm up process and slide it into the Bitten warmer. By the time I finish grooming, saddling and bridle up, the bit is warm. And I have a hand warmer to stick in my pocket for the rest of the day.
While the warming products available aren’t perfect, the Kelley Bitten Bit Warmer makes taking advantage of their bit warming capabilities much simpler. We recommend the Kelley Bitten Bit Warmer as an economic and hassle free way to warm your bit in the winter.