The Baucher is a fixed cheek snaffle bit, also known as the Hanging Cheek snaffle.
Fixed cheek (e.g. an Eggbutt or Full Cheek) bits are often sourced for horses who require more stability from the bit or riders who are wishing to achieve a rounder outline (i.e. nose poking). The baucher attaches to the bridle by a small ring attached to an arm, extending away from the mouthpiece and the main ring which the reins attach to. The arm extension lies flat against the horse’s face, which can help with directional control and helps stop the bit from being pulled through the horse’s mouth. The baucher has previously been thought to cause poll pressure, as the arm extension was believed to have a lever action.
Research has shown that the baucher actually has the opposite effect; it relieves the forces travelling up through the cheekpieces which act on the poll. Prior to rein contact being taken up the only force acting on the bridle is the weight of the bit. The weight of the bit causes a small amount of force which acts through the cheekpieces and onto the poll, this is known as the pre-tension value. This applies to any bit. As a rein contact is taken up, the arm extension on the baucher rotates anti-clockwise (towards the horse’s nose); this cause the mouthpiece of the bit to slide further back in the horse’s mouth. This action causes the cheekpieces to bow away from the horse’s face, which in turn lifts the bit towards the poll, therefore any pre-tension forces acting on the bridle through the cheekpieces are reduced. The baucher offers a force relief effect up to 3kg of rein tension, after that the forces return to their pre-tension values (normal from the bit when it is attached to the bridle).
As the baucher reduces the forces which act up through the bridle to the poll, it has the added benefit of relieving pressures acting on the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ). This joint attaches the upper and lower jaw, the TMJ allows for 3D movement of the horse’s jaw. The TMJ can be very sensitive to ill-fitting tack or pressures across the poll. The baucher provides more comfort in the horse’s mouth and is often recommended for horses which are known to be poll sensitive, or tentative into a contact. The stability of the fixed cheek combined with the relief of forces is generally beneficial to those horses which are known to be more sensitive in the mouth, across the poll or have TMJ issues.