Read and Watch Please - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 05-04-2010, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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Read and Watch Please

Just thought I should post this.


...you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. ... Explore. Dream. Discover.”
–Mark Twain
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post #2 of 13 Old 05-05-2010, 02:35 AM
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I read and watched.

While I agree on a lot of the points, such as nosebands should not be used to clamp the mouth shut, I can't help but think it's all just a commercial for Dr. Cook's bitless bridles!

Maybe it's because I learned to ride before the whole natural horsemanship/ bitless thing became popular, but I have no problem with bits used with sensitive hands. But certainly if your horse goes good bitless, go for it! If you horse goes good in a bit, that is great too!

I try to have very sensitive hands. Am I perfect, no, but I really try to have a light touch on the bridle and I ride with very little contact. If the horse sneezes or trips, I usually loose my reins, that is how light I am holding them. I have even been known to ride with things (such as mechanical hackamores and curbs and tom thumb/ argentine snaffle type bits) that people on this board seem to hate. But I have good luck with them, and I think my horses are pretty content. If a horse isn't content, then I am a BIG BELIEVER in changing your bitting (or bitless) arrangements until you find what your horse goes well in. I have a whole box of bits and hackamores of different types and I actually enjoy trying different things until I find the "perfect" bit for the horse I am riding.

So yeah, if your horse is gapping at mouth, then please try out different bits, hackamores, Dr. Cook or whatever, to find out what your horse is comfortable with. Don't just clamp his jaw shut. I agree with that. But do I think there is a fundamental problem with using bits? No, I've actually had really good luck with them.

If I wanted to, I could ride my horses in their halters, the mildest snaffle I could find, or whatever. The problem I run into is that I want respect and finesse. I notice that if I ride in the absolute mildest head gear I can find (say a halter or regular snaffle), then the horse dives for grass, ignores my finer cues, etc. They just seem to loose respect for the head gear. If I move my headgear up just a notch in the control department, then they respect it more and I actually have to use it less. So sometimes I think the trade off is worth it in that you actually have to use the bit or headgear less, because they respect it. If they don't respect it, then I have to nag on them, such as if they dive for grass, want to go faster than I want, etc. and I just prefer not to have to nit pick them.

So I think there is a fine line between respect and the "perfect" bit for the horse, and overbitting or underbitting the horse. Sure, you can ride in almost anything if you want to, but to get close to optimal results without overbitting or underbitting, takes a little experimentation.

Sorry for the ramble. I like talking tack.
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post #3 of 13 Old 05-05-2010, 04:08 AM
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A bit is a communication tool; and like any communication tool, it can get abused. A bit is only as harsh as the hands behind it.


The lovely images above provided by CVLC Photography cvlphotography.com
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post #4 of 13 Old 05-05-2010, 09:05 AM
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I ride in a NH halter and lead and my horse still runs around with his mouth wide open when he's feeling evasive. If it's handled properly a bit wont hurt. If a NH halter or a bitless bridle is handled incorrectly it will hurt. I strongly believe that it's the hands that hold the reins that make all the difference.
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post #5 of 13 Old 05-05-2010, 10:23 AM
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Not using a bit doesn't make someone 'better' or 'kinder' than someone who does.

The bitless bridles can be cruel in the wrong hands, because they use pressure points on the poll and under the jaw for control. They're certainly not all sweetness and light, regardless of what the proponents of these bridles tell you.

ANY bit can be harsh in the wrong hands, as can a bitless bridle. If you don't have a clue what you're doing, instead of going bitless, I recommend advanced training for yourself in order to learn to stay off the horse's mouth.

Like crops, spurs, and whips, bits are meant to be communication devices, not something for torture. If you're riding correctly and using these tools as they're intended, your horse should be comfortable and happy.

It's the people who use these tools incorrectly that are hurting their animals. A harsher bit should never be used in lieu of advanced training for both the horse and rider.

Once you've learned to ride properly, if you prefer a bitless bridle, that's your choice.

Last edited by Speed Racer; 05-05-2010 at 10:27 AM.
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post #6 of 13 Old 05-05-2010, 11:52 AM
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If that video was even the least bit accurate then no horse would be ridden without gaping its mouth. Every horse I own can be ridden without a gaping mouth.

There's nothing like the Rockies in the springtime... Nothing like the freedom in the air... And there ain't nothing better than draggin calves to the fire and there's nothing like the smell of burning hair. -Brenn Hill
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post #7 of 13 Old 05-05-2010, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
A bit is a communication tool; and like any communication tool, it can get abused. A bit is only as harsh as the hands behind it.


Very true. Any bit - snaffle, spade, kimberwick, mullon, even a simple halter or neck rope is abusive depending on the hand thats using it.

A stronger bit won't teach your horse how to stop correctly. It will only piss it off more.

Most people don't understand what the powers of 'releasing' can do on your horse to teach it things. This includes stopping.

Bits are communication devices.... they are not ment to be abusive. Look at how the vaqueros teach their horse how to take their huge bits.


Their horses are soft and supple. Not pissed and tossing heads left and right.
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post #8 of 13 Old 05-05-2010, 12:38 PM
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I love those videos that make it out that everyone who puts a bit in their horse's mouth is one stressful event from a chronic animal abuser... My Name is Scoutrider and I Ride in a Single Joint Eggbutt Snaffle!

Seriously, I agree 1000% that no matter what is on/in the horse's face, it's the person holding the reins that decides whether it hurts or not.

@ Fluffy pony: I love watching vaquero riding! The time and patience that the style puts into developing and maintaining a good mouth on a horse astounds me every time I see it. Just goes to show, a bit can look heinous, but if you never touch it wrong, look what finesse can result. My hands could never be good enough to correctly ride a spade bit, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for those who can.

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #9 of 13 Old 05-06-2010, 01:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fluffy Pony View Post

Very true. Any bit - snaffle, spade, kimberwick, mullon, even a simple halter or neck rope is abusive depending on the hand thats using it.

A stronger bit won't teach your horse how to stop correctly. It will only piss it off more.

Most people don't understand what the powers of 'releasing' can do on your horse to teach it things. This includes stopping.

Bits are communication devices.... they are not ment to be abusive. Look at how the vaqueros teach their horse how to take their huge bits.

YouTube - Californio, Buckaroo, Vaquero - Art of the Traditional Vaquero Two Rein video

Their horses are soft and supple. Not pissed and tossing heads left and right.

Nice video, I just hope people don't go out and buy these bits and try to use it based off a video.

As for the OP, some of the information was true, but they seemed to generalize bits and horse mouths. Horses have different sized mouths, and one bit in one horse's mouth creates pain while in another it is comfortable.

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are certain and the intelligent are full of doubt"
-Bertrand Russel
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post #10 of 13 Old 05-06-2010, 03:38 AM
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I think with todays advances with training, understanding horses, and so many option to learn other training methods, then why must we use bits? If your horse will not respond to you with out the use of a "tool" then maybe you need to do more work with it?

I have worked in the horse industry breaking mustangs for guiding then turning them into dude horses and I used bits, never a whip or spur. And tool make up for the time not spent! Bits and "tools" do have a place in the horse industry, when you have to get the job done in a short period of time. And yes these "tools" were useful, and totally have a place for the job I was doing.

How ever, with my new horse a 7yr old (well broke.. not right broke) paint with a history of "issues", and a really bad attitude... part of the reason he has come to me, he is just to much work for his last owners (3 or more). I plan to never use a bit on him, and often not even a halter. But I am not in a rush, I have all the time in the world to build a relationship of trust and leadership. I dont planing on getting on his back for at least a few months, I have to start fresh with him and build a foundation.

Tools are for getting a job done right and right now, horses as a hobby is not something that should be rushed, take the time to do it right and you wont need the tools.
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