For horses that need help from the bit in turning, the full cheek is the most extreme type of corrective cheek piece that can commonly be found on a snaffle. With a small ring fixed to the mouthpiece on a swivel joint, and two arms extending above and below the mouthpiece, the main purpose of this bit is to exert lateral pressure on the horse’s mouth. When one side of the bit is pulled, as in turning, the opposite side presses against a broad section of the lips and cheeks. This can be particularly useful with horses that are having difficulty learning to respond properly to direct rein pressure, and can sometimes help correct horses who tip their heads trying to evade direct rein pressure. With horses who may evade direct rein pressure by opening their mouths or otherwise making it possible for the bit to be pulled through the mouth completely, a full-cheek snaffle can prevent this problem. A full cheek snaffle is also useful when rein aids may be the main way to communicate lateral cues, such as when driving, riding side saddle, or in para-equestrian.
The biggest danger with full cheek snaffles is that posed by the lengthy arms themselves. These arms can get tangled up with reins, leg wraps, and even with the nostrils and lips of the horse. A full cheek should always be used with a restraining loop on the bridle, which hooks over one of the arms and helps keep them in a fixed position, thus preventing interference with the nose and lips. However, just as with curb shanks, care should also be taken to keep the horses’s head free of possible entanglement when wearing this bit, such as by allowing it to rub its face on wrapped