Originally Posted by DancingArabian
I think he's giving you conflicting advice. If you can be as harsh or easy in a snaffle as you can bitless, then what's the difference?
Your horse needs a good solid whoa. If you have no brakes, it doesn't matter what tack you're in. You're horse can run off in a snaffle or bitless.
FWIW tons of endurance riders go bitless and in the hours and hours they ride when doing a long run they are in a much higher probability of getting into a mess than a regular rider.
I ride my horse in both (not at once) and we solo trails without issue.
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My ultimate goal with her is to condition her for competitive trail riding. And she has awesome breaks. Breaks unlike anything I've ever had before on a horse. When we went to grab her today in the pasture, she started walking off and he said whoa and she stopped and waited for the halter. When I was riding her today, she went from a canter to a stop on "whoa" with no pulling on the reins at all. The reason I started using a bitless was because the horse I was riding would fight the bit, and I thought I may be heavy handed. I've grown a lot this past year as a horse-woman and I'm learning new things every day. I know that it is MY error to be heavy handed, and I have to improve there, which I feel that I have done a great deal of this past year.
A horse that I was riding earlier this year was pretty green and I had been using a bitless with her all along. We hit the trails, and she was doing well, but she spooked at something, and I completely lost control of her, to the point that even the one rein emergency stop wouldn't work, because she was just going forward with her head turned.
The horse I just bought is COMPLETELY different than that horse mentioned, but I feel like any horse is still a potential danger. I would like to keep using a bitless, but do you think it would be a good idea to take some time for her and I to get used to each other before hitting the trails with a bitless. I've only ridden her 4 times so far.