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I've got an old snaffle bit that appears to be in good shape other than being completely covered in rust. Using the steel wire brush on my bench grinder, I removed all the rust I could get to. The only areas I could not get to were in the middle of the bit where the two pieces fit together and the areas where the rings go on the end of the bit. The amount of rust that is in those areas is very minimal, and the rings and bit parts move around freely. After using the steel brush, I used WD40 to clean it up, and then used Joy dishwashing liquid on it (to remove any oil) and rinsed it thoroughly. I am attaching pics of the bit when I was half done with the grinding, then completely done, and then a close up of where the inside of where the bit fits together.

My questions is: Is it safe for me to use this bit even though it may have a tiny bit of rust that I can't get to? Please let me know what you think.

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mild steel bits are called 'sweet iron' and rust is nothing but iron oxide, a little iron supplement won't hurt a thing. I would't even bother to brush the rust unless it needs smoothing out to not be abrasive.
I have a couple old steel snaffles I use that I got from an antique store, probably came from an old team harness from who knows when.
It is safe to use, for sure. Just make double sure that you got the WD-40 off cause I imagine that would taste miserable :P

Some of my bits are a little rusty, but the horses don't even notice.
These bits are intended to rust. It tastes sweet to the horse. I tested this with my water troughs.They both had rust on the bottoms and sides. I cleaned one out and left the rust in the other one. I filled them both with clean water and I couldn't believe they all preferred the one with the rust! (Keep in mind that the water was clean and fresh in both tanks.) As long as there are no sharp edges on the bit, your horse will love that rusty taste!
Thanks to everyone for the replies. I have ridden her with a few times now and she likes it just fine.

I will say she doesn't seem as responsive with the snaffle as she did in the curb. I guess that is to be expected knowing how the bit applies pressure differently. Still, she does just fine, I just have to think a little differently about how I am applying pressure when riding her.

Thanks again.


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