I've noticed that this message board (which I love by the way!) is very pro-snaffle and very anti-curb. Somehow if you use a curb, you must be cruel and unusual, lol!
I don't find the "real world" among my friends and neighbors to be the same way. I have nothing against a snaffle, nothing at all. I just think my horses go better in curbs and if you dare suggest that to someone on the message board, brace for backlash, lol!
I just think I have a lot more finesse in a curb, even those "evil" tom thumb/Argentine snaffle types. With a regular snaffle, well, my horse bobs for grass and is slower to respond at the canter/gallop when I need him to slow up. He just doesn't respect it enough. Sure, I can ride him with it. I can ride him in a halter if I want to. But I don't get the respect and finer elements of control that I get in a curb.
I actually sometimes wonder if it isn't a bit dangerous to suggest a newbie (whose horse we don't even know) to ride in a snaffle because let's face it, it's not a perfect world and sometimes horses run through snaffles, especially if they get spooked out on the trail. You could actually get someone seriously hurt for suggesting they ride in a snaffle if you don't know the horse and the rider usually uses a stronger bit.
I think one of the major things backwards with the horse world today is that newbies are taught to ride with contact. And they don't have the seat and hands for it, so yes, they ride the horse's mouth. But instead of going to a ubber gentle bit, maybe riders need to learn to stay off the horse's mouth until they have a well balanced seat and learn to have gentler control of their hands. Then the rider never learns to hang on the horse's mouth in the first place.
I guess what I am saying is this, I learned to ride western in a curb, and I rode on a totally slack rein for years. Literally for years. I only used the reins when I needed to neck rein or gently control speed. Then, years later I learned how to ride two-handed, with contact with the horses mouth. I really respect the horse's mouth and think I have pretty light hands. I think that came from riding with the curb from the beginning. I knew it was best to stay off the horse's mouth, so now, even with contact, I am very light with my reins.
What do you guys think about that idea- learning to ride without contact first, when you are still green and learning. Then riding with contact when you are balanced and a better rider??? Good idea, bad idea? I think it trains you to always ride like you are in a curb, even if you aren't.