Teen Forum Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: South East Texas
Blinders and bits are for safety. Back when I started my mare I asked some of the same questions and was repeatedly told to use both of them. Why? Simply because driving is dangerous. Many will even tell you that it is more dangerous than riding because you don't have full contact with the horse, you only have verbal cues and your reins as cues, and the horse is in front of you, pulling you, sometimes at high speeds. The only contact that you have with the animal is a bit. Take that away and what do you have? Mutal trust, rainbows, and cookies? Not quite. Now I know that many horses are very willing, sane, and trusting- but they are horses- not people. They don't understand the things that we do and even the most sane of horses will at some point spook or bolt. How are you going to control it? Even a 2-300 pound miniature can do a LOT of damage when afraid, believe me.
Add to that the fact that in a halter, you really have no way of keeping constant contact with the horse. In a halter, its either you're pulling or you're not, there is no happy medium. With a bit, the horse can feel even the slightest movement of your fingers and react to it- something you just cant do with a piece of rope or nylon. My mare responds to me before I hardly put any pressure at all. A movement of my pinky is enough to have her halted square. A slight squeeze will send her in whichever direction that I please.
Lastly, the blinders. I know that many people think that they are cruel. They are anything but. By limiting the horse's field of vision you are shutting down reactive parts of their brain and 'containing it' in a small space that you can work with. Your average horse will not bolt in a direction that he cannot see, and so he will usually go FORWARDS, which is ALWAYS what you want when dealing with a frightened animal. A spinning or sidestepping carriage horse is a deadly carriage horse.
There are many friendly bitting options for horses nowadays. I personally drive two of my four in a halfcheek snaffle. Another is driven in an O ring snaffle, and the last is driven in a french link. All four respond beautifully and I rarely have to do more than flex my hand to cue them, but if upon occasion I did run into a situation where I needed to stop NOW, I would have the means to do so. There are no one reined stops and tiny circles in driving. You need at least a little bit of power.
Everyone in your life is meant to
be in your journey, but not all of
them are meant to stay till the end.
Last edited by Endiku; 10-21-2012 at 08:15 PM.