Quite often we will get a call or email from a customer quite alarmed that the brand new shiny bit they had purchased is starting to go rusty after just a few rides.
They are even more alarmed when we say "Excellent! its doing what its supposed to do!"
You see, sweet iron material when exposed to saliva/moisture and oxygen creates a surface layer of oxidisation - rust - which is what gives the sweet tingly feeling in the horses mouth - encouraging salivation.
Its totally harmless to your horse and there is no need to scrub it off, just a quick wipe with a clean cloth after a ride will keep your bit in tip top shape.
Some examples of a sweet iron include bits from our Bombers range - these shiny blue steel bits will dull and go rusty/blackened over time with use - this is normal!
Myler bits in some styles - the Western Dee's, Combination bits and Shanked bits are all a highly polished sweet iron with copper inlays.
Pee-Wee Bits are also a polished black sweet iron.
Sweet iron is a nice warm metal in the horses mouth that heats up to body temperature very quickly, encourages salivation and bit acceptance through the flavour. It can become rough with age, and in rare cases - cause abrasions on the lips, but a light sand with some superfine wet/dry sand paper can restore the smooth surface.
In recent times we have seen the popularity of the copper alloy overtake the humble sweet iron but it is still widely used and an excellent alternative to stainless or nickel bits that wont break the bank.
Sweet iron Bomber Bit - (top) Brand new and (bottom) After use