I went from riding western with a hackmore to riding english in a snaffle. Now that I'm on a horse every week and actually learning, I don't think I could go back to a hack. I like having the bit, really. It gives you a lot more feel, and snaffles arent all that cruel to the horse. Compared to the double, roller, curb or whatever it may be that I saw used on a jumper yesterday, I feel pretty humane using a snaffle
Yeah, that's a neat feeling I'm sure...like, you probably feel like you have more contact with the bit, right? So you have more control than you would with a hackamore.
Nice! & you're right, a snaffle is pretty much the softest bit, lol.
Any bit is harsh if used strongly. Single jointed snaffles are no exception & definitely not soft or even 'softest'. If used with any force, 2 reins at a time, they can gouge the roof of the mouth and act like a nutcracker on the tongue.
I have no problem with bits, if they are used gently for precise communication, rather than control on a horse who lacks enough training to respond without force. If the horse has been trained well prior to bitting and the rider has 'soft' hands, then (almost) any bit can be considered 'humane' in most situations.
I have both bits and bitless. For training and shows we use bits of course, but for trail riding and when I have beginners or friends riding, we go bitless. I have two Nurtural No-Bit bitless bridles. You can get more refinement and "work" out of your horse with them, but they are actually more gentle than a mechanical hackamore.