Is bitless really better? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 31 Old 11-23-2009, 02:03 PM
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I've probably posted my opinion on this way too many times already, but here it is again.

It depends on the horse, the type of bit, and the type of bitless. Soda goes great in a rope halter, ok in a SJ snaffle (getting better), and hates the bitless. Flame goes great in a TWH bit, ok in a snaffle (better now that I've improved my riding), and appears to like the bitless (Dr. Cook). I may try him in some type of bosal at some point in his training.

I have a friend and ALL of her four horses are ridden in bitless. Two of them go in a Dr. Cook bitless and the other two in a raw-hide type bosal. Another friend has used everything from a raw-hide type bosal to a mechanical hackamore to a twisted wire snaffle to a curb. All on different horses.

I'm a firm believer of not backing yourself into a corner with your equiptment choices or training methods. Figure out what works for you and your horse. Don't stick with a bitless even when your horse shows you repeatedly that he/she doesn't like it. On the same token don't use a harsh bit to control a horse that lacks training. Seems pretty darn simple to me. Use common sense and think about what you're doing and the real effects of pressure that are caused by different devices.
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post #12 of 31 Old 11-23-2009, 02:45 PM
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Well said, tigerstripes.

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post #13 of 31 Old 11-23-2009, 03:13 PM
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There is no such thing as "this thing is better than that thing" in riding. All equipment is made for specific reasons, not so that it is better than a certain thing. A person with harsh hands can do so much more damage with a normal snaffle bit than a person with soft hands using a pelham, gag or tom thumb. Same goes for the bitless bridles.

It all goes to the hands. If you have harsh hands, even the "kindest" bits or bitless bridles can do ALOT of damage.

Some people prefer to use a bitless bridle. I agree, if your horse is willing to work with a bitless bridle, that is great, go for it. But if your horse doesn't listen to the bitless bridle or have problems with pressure on the poll, use a normal bit.

If possible, I will usually always use the mildest of equipment on my horses. But that is just the way I feel.

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post #14 of 31 Old 11-23-2009, 03:25 PM
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I could go bitless on all my horses. But, I compete, so I can't. Simple as that.

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post #15 of 31 Old 11-23-2009, 05:20 PM Thread Starter
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It wasn't my point to bash those who ride bitless because I rather enjoy a ride in just a rope halter or my new (old) bosal hackamore. I didn't make that clear in my OP, I'm sorry. My issue is with those that hate all bits regardless of how mild and say they would NEVER use a bit because they are cruel and harsh and then make judgements on those of us who do use bits. All my horses will respond just as well in whatever I ride them in. My point is to look at all the options out there before general statements are made like "Bits are cruel" because some bits are cruel, yes, but not all of them. And sometimes those bits that are "cruel" are actually very mild in the right hands. It just kinda irks me that people think any bit is cruel and any bitless option is better, even if it is one of those I posted above. I purposefully posted the milder bits and the more cruel hackamores to prove that statements like that are not always right.

Last edited by smrobs; 11-23-2009 at 05:26 PM.
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post #16 of 31 Old 11-23-2009, 06:57 PM
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Yeah it does kinda feel like it's turned into a heated emotional thread. I hope I didn't start it. Probably did, cus I can't convey using wordage all that well how I feel.

I was just trying to say that I personally want to avoid all metal wether it's a bit or not. Even stiff things on my horse I wanna avoid. I would prefer to train my horse to the point that he will confidently respond to me in a rope halter. Even after that I wanna learn to teach my horse to respond to cues so that I won't need any head gear at all. Luckily I was given a horse that already has those foundations. I can tie a loop out of baling twine and put it around my horses neck and ride him around in the pasture. That's my goal with all the horses I get. I want them to trust me and communicate with me while they are confident in me. Then I can ride with em without any headgear.

And nevertheless I don't chastize people for what they prefer to use. Everyone is different, and we're all on our own learning paths. Just myself I would prefer to train myself to communicate with horses in such a way that they are confident to what I want them to do in a rope halter.

Even as a child when I couldn't saddle a horse without climbing up onto the fence posts I would ride around horses that my family was scared of. "I had a special small saddle, still have it too." I just didn't know any better and so my grandparents would come home and I would be riding around and they would freak out. That was when I was around 5 or 6 though, and I always used a bit on the horses back in those days.

I was also gonna add that the person who gave my horse to me said that if he uses a bit then use a snaffle. He just prefers a snaffle, and on the first ride with him I didn't have a snaffle, so I just used a regular bit that I used in the past as a child. And he was nervous about it. All horses are different though.

Last edited by totalfreedom; 11-23-2009 at 07:01 PM.
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post #17 of 31 Old 11-23-2009, 08:13 PM
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^ I can ride my horse bareback and bridleless - It isn't something that can't be achieved on a horse that is ridden in a bit. I really need to get a video of it one day.

But anyway - I commend you on trying to gain a higher level of communication and trust with your horse - but bitless isn't the only or best way to do the same thing.

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post #18 of 31 Old 11-24-2009, 01:02 AM
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Originally Posted by wild_spot View Post
^ I can ride my horse bareback and bridleless - It isn't something that can't be achieved on a horse that is ridden in a bit. I really need to get a video of it one day.
Would you mind clarifying that for me. I wanna learn to do bridleless/halterleless riding. But for now it's a little ways off. I'm gonna spend my money on a hoof trimming dvd for now. I was also thinking it would be better for me to learn foundation work and such before I went to bridleless so it's like four dvd purchases away before I get to it. And them darn dvds are so dang expensive.

I guess I haven't really searched much for info on how to do it, so perhaps I should do some searching too. But I still think I would like to learn foundation work first before going tack free. Nevertheless I would like to hear what you meant when you said, "It isn't something that can't be achieved on a horse that is ridden in a bit.". As I will remember what you say and it will stay with me until I begin learning about going tack free. Cus ultimately that's my goal. To ride tack free.
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post #19 of 31 Old 11-24-2009, 01:32 AM
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I think she means that the level of communication between horse and rider when there isn't any tack is lost once tack is put on.
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post #20 of 31 Old 11-24-2009, 02:09 AM Thread Starter
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No, it wasn't you, totalfreedom. I commend you for trying to reach a level of horsemanship where you just don't feel the need for bits. It actually wasn't anyone on this forum, it was someone I met a few days ago that rode her horse in a chain mechanical hack and tried to call me cruel because I had a bit on my horse. She kept trying to convince me that her horse was so much happier and she had a better connection with him than I do any of mine simply because she avoided using a bit. She just kinda chapped my butt. I guess the scars across her horse's nose, the sky high head, and pinned ears weren't an indication of discomfort. Hm.
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