snaffle bit -curb strap - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 25 Old 12-22-2012, 11:37 PM
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Why do people use a split ear? is it just for looks?
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post #22 of 25 Old 12-23-2012, 12:22 AM
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
Why do people use a split ear? is it just for looks?
I was taught that was what to use on a shanked bit.
But I imagine they came from ease to build/repair and put on/pull off a horses head, but obviously that comes with a, it coming off when you don't want it too!
When using a shanked bit you don't need all the stability a browband headstall provides. If you get to the point and have to really pull on a shank bit because how they work, the headstall tightens when the reins are pulled back. When pulling hard on a snaffle bit straight back it gaps on the cheek pieces or pulling hard on one rein you run the risk of pulling it through. (I am talking about having to really pull on one if he gets naughty or throws a fit)

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post #23 of 25 Old 12-23-2012, 12:26 AM
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Well, that's odd. Look at military bridles. They used shanked bits, and they use a more typical headstall, with a browband and a nose band. Admittedly, they had the type of bridle that would also function as a halter, so the horse could be tied, but they always had throat latches, as it was a tactic of war to try and rip off the bridle of your enemy's horse.

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post #24 of 25 Old 12-23-2012, 10:05 AM
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I don't think it hurts to ever use a headstall with a browband and a throat latch. It can hurt to use one without. When I first started using bits, I bought a one-ear headstall because it was cheap but looked good. No one warned me they were not a good match with a snaffle bit.

A few months later, doing tight turns on Trooper, it fell off. The bit was still in his mouth, but the headstall was flopping on top of his face. Trooper being the 'little trooper' that got him his name, just stopped and waited for me to fix it. If it had been Mia, we would have done 20 laps at a gallop with green stuff squirting out behind! And it would have taken a month to train her to take a bit back in her mouth...

I'm sure the military would have put high priority on using bridles that stayed in place. They also didn't have to pay for their bridles. Uncle Sam bought them.
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post #25 of 25 Old 12-23-2012, 12:06 PM
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I remember seeing in some old family photos split ear headstalls made from old leather belts. (The barrel racers using bling belts for headstalls is not a new idea..LOL!) A lot of cowboys made their own gear out of necessity and lack of money. I would guess the split ear came from simplicity.
There are versions of cowboy headstalls like the military one tiny posted and sure they are handy but I don't think every cowboy could afford them for everyday use. I think that headstall styles with cowboys is regional like saddle styles and cattle handling methods.

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