Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
If three links makes a bit milder, then how about a dozen?
There is more to mild than how much the bit can curve. For example, the french link bit my mare hates has loose O-rings. Would she do better with a full cheek french link? Or a D-ring french link? But maybe the french link lies more on her tongue, and that irritates her tongue. Why would irritating the tongue be milder than irritating the roof? And why should we assume a 2-link snaffle irritates the roof?
Is a rope sidepull halter milder than any snaffle? Standing still, at least, the answer is yes. But my horses are more confident (and thus less likely to get scared and bolt) when they know exactly what their rider wants them to do. And that communication is apparently easier with a bit than without. I can slow them down with far less pressure and trouble with a bit that with a rope halter, because I can cue them to extend each stride just a little less than what they are doing - and in 10 strides, bring them down from a wild canter to a relaxed one. With a rope halter, the imprecision of the communication tends to result in my needing to pull hard on their face and, by the time they get the idea, they drop from a canter to a trot or even walk - while acting irritated because I asked them to canter and then stopped them & they want me to make up my mind.
So is a rope halter milder than a snaffle? With a less excitable horse, the answer may be yes. With mine, the real answer is no.
My point is that 2 or 3 links do not determine mild. Mild depends on how the horse interprets things. The curve of the bit in the mouth may or may not be significant to the horse, so a more freely curving bit may or may not result in less pressure being applied to the horse's mouth during riding.
"People can teach us the rules, but only horses can teach us the art of riding."