Originally Posted by JustDressageIt
This is a very important point of mine: As I ride english, the horse is supposed to accept contact; you should feel some weight in each rein; the bit must encourage this. The horse can't be afraid of getting hurt/sore when they reach into that contact. In my opinion, some bits (regardless of the hands; remember that there should be some weight in the contact) greatly discourage this.
This is an excellent point in the differance between western and english riders.
I seek to have my horses on the loosest rein, and lightest touch possible. There are times in training when I seek contact, but training is always
done in a snaffle for me. Still, if I can twitch a muscle and get the desired response...I couldn't care less. To me, snaffles are great for training, but don't offer me the finesse I need on a strong horse in a high-pressure situation. When I'm running at mach 5 towards a barrel, I want to know that I don't have to pull on my horse to get him around there. A small twist of my wrist, a lot of leg and seat, and finally a desired, beautiful turn before we're off and running again. Same if I'm doing ranch work at the barn. English has a LOT of demands in its own right, and I highly respect that, but not every little thing can be accomplished as well in a snaffle as it can be in another bit.