The Continental Gag should be worn with 2 reins preferably; the first rein should be used on the snaffle ring, which is the first ring adjacent to the mouthpiece. When the first rein is attached to the snaffle rein it is used just like a loose ring hanging cheek bit, which uses poll pressure and lip pressure due to the sliding loose ring also applies various pressures in the mouth depending on the mouthpiece it is in conjunction with. When the second rein is attached to the ring below, the pressures are increased as the lower rings produce more leverage. In the instance of using 2 reins then this bit can be used as a hanging cheek bit and then when more help is required, the second rein can be brought into play. If the bit is only used with one rein on the lower ring, then the pressure in applied constantly and no pressure release is available for the horse.
The gag produces a head raising action and is often used for cross country and/or jumping where the head needs to be raised quickly in order to gain control and so to get ready for the next jump.
Single Jointed Bits
The single joint puts pressure on the sides of the tongue, on the lips and on the bars due to the nutcracker. The single jointed bits also may have a head raising action so would be less suitable for your horse if they ride with a high head carriage or above the bit. Also breeds such as Irish Draughts, may have particularly large tongues, therefore having less room in the mouth for a single jointed bit as this pushes the bit nearer the roof of the mouth, also Arabs and alike may have a low palate, both of these examples may not benefit from the single jointed bits as the nutcracker action may cause brushing of the roof of the mouth.