The Action of the Universal
Any extension above the mouthpiece will cause poll pressure (head lowering), any extension below the mouthpiece will give leverage (head raising). When the two are combined this is generally referred to as a gag action. The Universal is one of my personal favourites. The gag action is not excessive and even strong horses generally appreciate this and respond as opposed to fighting it.
The cheeks are always attached to the small offset ring at the top – the top ring is angled very cleverly in order to avoid excessive cheek pressure.