All bits are painful if used by very uneducated hands. Any training device is painful if used by someone uneducated. Did you know you can break a horses jaw with a mechanical hackamore?? I've seen it done, you can also damage the skin, nerves and bone and their nose. I find most people that are anti-bits are simply just scared of them. They are scared that their hands are not light enough and scared that they will hurt their horse. So they make incorrect assumptions that bits are evil. I have horses that rely on the bit to be ridden. Most of my spade horses are that way, they like the bit, they like the taste and they like playing with the cricket. It has a relaxing effect on them. Saying bits is poor horsemanship is completely wrong IMO. Any trainer I've seen worth a lick uses a bit. My hubby and I have been training professionally for quite a few years now. And we use bits, that doesn't make us bad horseman, people bring horses in from out of state for use to ride. Your horse tossing his head with the bit, is merely a hole in his training or an ill fitting or ill adjusted headstall. Many people overlook the fact that having your headstall adjusted just right is a MAJOR factor in how a horse responds. But the assumptions that bits are evil and poor horsemanship is dead wrong. And good trainer will tell you that a mechanical hackamore is a worthless contraption, and I have to agree..
~Started young horses in Bosca te Ador, unto the two rein the old Spanish spade, brought them along with two hands that were gentle. Some fine reining horses as ever were made~