Holy big bits! - Page 7
 
 

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Holy big bits!

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  • Pacifier bit for horses

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    05-18-2013, 07:53 PM
  #61
Yearling
This video kind of shows the cheek pieces around the 3 minute point. Before that he's talking about the leverage but I think we've covered that the leverage is not to be used with one of these.


     
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    05-18-2013, 08:49 PM
  #62
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by COWCHICK77    
I believe Mr. Wells has had a shady past if I remember correctly.
Going to use the same 'ol stand by.....
"bits are only as good as the hands using them".

Cathedrals, A- frames and other big ports should be used with caution and correspond with the training of the horse rather than skip steps and create the illusion of furthered training by forcing a head set or trying to soften one.

I do not put these bits in the same category as a spade even though several tack catalogs/websites will tout any large port with a fancier cheek as a "spade". It would be great if all used the cathedrals and A-frames were used in the same manner but there is a reason for the braces, spoon, chains and reins. It is about balance and signal, not the pull. And it takes a lot of prep to get to that point. There was a reason for the series of bosals and bosalitas before just the spade is used, it is all prep to be able to pack the bridle properly without pulling-using the subtle signal as possible.

In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with the bits as long as the groundwork has been laid to use them rather than a shortcut.

I only ask this because I'm still pretty new to the game, but if the idea is to use the least amount of force/correction/whatever to get the biggest results, then why aren't these hot shot trainers riding around in a snaffle? I just find it difficult to wrap my head around the idea that the better trained horses are the ones with the higher ports, or am I misunderstanding the concept all together?
     
    05-18-2013, 09:36 PM
  #63
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatrinaB87    
...but if the idea is to use the least amount of force/correction/whatever to get the biggest results, then why aren't these hot shot trainers riding around in a snaffle?...
There is no connection between using the least force and using a snaffle. A snaffle isn't gentle, and a curb isn't mean. It depends on the horse, the training and the rider.

Mia is an independent mare. I like that. When we are together, I'm constantly aware that she is a thinking, interested party and that we are riding together. But she knows she can clench her jaw, stretch her head, let the snaffle pull against her molars - and ignore it. If she is feeling like doing what I want, then the tiniest pressure works with a rope halter. If not, then she will fight and ignore a snaffle because she knows she can.

Use a bit that adds pressure on the poll, and all that changes. She doesn't try to fight it. As a result, every time she listens and good things follows, she becomes more willing to do things my way - because my way works. In that sense, I'm using a curb for training. And that training is gentler than when training her with the snaffle because I don't have to darn near rip her head off to get her to obey.

But a finished horse is different. A finished horse IS listening. So now it becomes a matter of how much movement you want to communicate something to the horse. And there is a lot more to how a bit can send signals that just pressure on the bars with a snaffle.

A common misconception is that the high part of the mouthpiece is used to create pain in the mouth. In reality, those "Big Bits" (sorry, Tiny!) make it easy for a horse to hold the bit in his mouth, rather than having it held by the rider. And now, tiny motions of the riders hand, transmitted via slack reins, will feel different on the horse's tongue and face, and he'll respond. It works because the bit in a trained horse is for communication, not punishment.

Mia and I are not there yet. We may never be, because my goals for Mia are pretty simple and my riding style reflects my low expectations.

I captured this picture for a different reason, but this is not my approach to riding. Doesn't make it wrong, and I consider myself a very novice fan of competitive dressage...but this is not my goal in riding:



In some ways, a snaffle is the harshest bit. It communicates with the horse thru the mouth. Curb bits add the poll and sometimes the jaw, and thus some of the communication is outside the mouth. And if you have the skill and patience to teach a horse to respond to the vibrations of a bit the horse is carrying on its own, you are probably getting the most sensitive & gentle bit possible.

Truth in advertising: I rode Mia in a rope halter for 3 years and she steadily degraded during that time. I rode her in a snaffle for about a year, and she mostly did fine. But that other 1% was terrifying. When your horse is galloping down a trail, headed for a sharp turn she will never make at speed, and you are pulling so hard on the snaffle that your back will be sore for 3 days, and she is swerving and fighting to RUN...it gets your attention.

BTW - I used the pulley stop that day to keep her from killing both of us. You can never have too many tricks in your bag of skill...

"Mia the PITA" at the end of today's good practice session:

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    05-18-2013, 09:42 PM
  #64
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms    




A common misconception is that the high part of the mouthpiece is used to create pain in the mouth. In reality, those "Big Bits" (sorry, Tiny!) make it easy for a horse to hold the bit in his mouth, rather than having it held by the rider. And now, tiny motions of the riders hand, transmitted via slack reins, will feel different on the horse's tongue and face, and he'll respond. It works because the bit in a trained horse is for communication, not punishment.


In some ways, a snaffle is the harshest bit. It communicates with the horse thru the mouth. Curb bits add the poll and sometimes the jaw, and thus some of the communication is outside the mouth. And if you have the skill and patience to teach a horse to respond to the vibrations of a bit the horse is carrying on its own, you are probably getting the most sensitive & gentle bit possible.

Truth in advertising: I rode Mia in a rope halter for 3 years and she steadily degraded during that time. I rode her in a snaffle for about a year, and she mostly did fine. But that other 1% was terrifying. When your horse is galloping down a trail, headed for a sharp turn she will never make at speed, and you are pulling so hard on the snaffle that your back will be sore for 3 days, and she is swerving and fighting to RUN...it gets your attention.

I don't know why I didn't even think of that. Probably because of my lack of understanding! That also explains why my gelding likes to run with his head up! Through reading some posts on this forum I have learned of these Jr. Cowhorse bits, which I would like to give a try because I hear they are pretty mild but good communicators. Have you heard of these?
     
    05-18-2013, 11:19 PM
  #65
Trained
I have no expertise as a rider, let alone on bits. After Mia ran away with me a couple of times from the excitement of 'racing' another horse, a lady on HF asked me if Mia put her head near horizontal doing so. When I said yes, she explained that is a way horses can 'get the bit in their teeth'. The bit doesn't need to go in their teeth, but pulling back on a snaffle in that situation only pulls it against their molars and it is easy for a horse to ignore.

I initially switched Mia thru a variety of snaffles, and then tried a gag (or elevator) bit with her. It doesn't have a curb strap, but it adds pressure on the poll. She did pretty well with that.



Then I tried the bit below:


She was initially frightened if the curb strap tightened, so we spent some time walking with me on the ground and trying to get her used to the idea. She now seems to understand that the curb strap doesn't need to engage if she listens first. Each side can move back 45 deg without moving the other side, there is no joint to fold in the middle of the mouth, and the sides swivel out so it is easy to use a leading rein with it. Combined with a lot of practice at making perfect stops (one of my recent "Of course" moments was learning that I cannot expect an excited horse to stop well on the trail if she won't stop perfectly when calm in an arena) and practice neck reining, she seems to be softening. It is a lot easier to keep her standing still when something scares her. Then the scary thing goes away, and she has started to realize that standing still can work better than bolting.

Since I'm not in any way an experienced rider, I can only share what I've tried. I did recently try this with Mia:



That may be something like what you are talking about. She did OK in it, but she seems to neck rein better in the more solid one I showed above.
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    05-18-2013, 11:36 PM
  #66
Trained
Here are a couple of pictures of my favorite bit to show how it moves:





Hmmm...looks like the bit needs a bath!
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    05-19-2013, 09:53 AM
  #67
Foal
Very interesting, I'm headed to my LTS just as soon as they open. Ill have to see what I can find :)
     
    05-19-2013, 06:48 PM
  #68
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by COWCHICK77    
It can be intimidating looking, but think in these terms- when you hold a spade bit in your hand much how it would lay in the horses mouth and on the tongue, the braces, cannon bar and spoon all together can distribute pressure over a large area. BUT, the bit is NEVER to be pulled on, I can not stress that enough. Another way to look at is, what would feel better to you should I try to poke in the chest with one finger or the palm/flat of my hand? Again, not meant to be pulled but you see how easy it would be hold it in their mouth.

One can tell if the horse likes the bit and accepts it readily if he will hold it in his mouth without the use of any headgear. One of our horses loves a Grijalva spade we have, you can walk out in the pasture and stick in his mouth without a headstall and he will hold it on his own accord while playing with the cricket, eyes soft and relaxed. You stick another one in him and he will spit it out on the ground. Mouth conformation, preferences and natural headset do play a role since the horse has to find the balance in the bit(like FF was describing earlier, and why there are so many variations of these bits) and be comfortable, it has nothing to do with forcing a horse into position or using pain to create a desired response. It is about preservation of the mouth, signals-not pulls and balance.

I attached a couple of pics of hubby roping a bull calf on Zorro in a spade, not the best pics, but you can see he is on a loose rein, head is level but ears showing he's paying attention and no tail swishing. He is obviously not stressed about the bit or scared he is going to get his face yanked off.

It's not for everyone and I will never try to convince everyone that this is the only way to train horses. I just want people to understand that is not about pain and intimidation.
This is why I like and respect you. You went above and beyond to explain how it works to me, and then provided pictures. You're incredible

This makes a lot more sense :) And now I understand why it's so well regarded. Kind of like the goal of riding is to have a horse highly responsive but also a rider that gives quiet effective cues. And this bit has the same goal.

Thanks again!
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    05-19-2013, 08:19 PM
  #69
Weanling
Hopefully ill be able to ride in a leverage bit, but I've started to re break in my horse bridle-less in a halter and I have no trouble stopping her so maybe ill keep it that way.
     
    05-19-2013, 10:29 PM
  #70
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
Cowchick's description of how the horse holds the bit in his mouth and closes his mouth and zones out reminds me of how a baby takes a pacifier and just goes into the peace and pleasure zone.
Great comparison! Never thought of it that way.(you can tell I do not have children! LOL) The horse I posted pics of before is very expressive of his moods, he has no issue with letting you know he doesn't like something. Especially when it comes to bits and over cueing :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by CatrinaB87    
I only ask this because I'm still pretty new to the game, but if the idea is to use the least amount of force/correction/whatever to get the biggest results, then why aren't these hot shot trainers riding around in a snaffle? I just find it difficult to wrap my head around the idea that the better trained horses are the ones with the higher ports, or am I misunderstanding the concept all together?
There shouldn't be no force when using the spade. Like Mike described earlier the cue comes from the feeling that comes through reins, cheek then braces and mouthpiece. Not the engagement of port or curbstrap. At this point the horse is taught to find the balance in the bit and the curbstarp is used to help keep the bit in place and not to be used as correction.
The movement in the loose cheek "wiggles" the braces. That is where the feeling is. If you touched your left rein and caused the left cheek of the bit to move it also slightly moves the brace. If you were to hold one (spade bit) in your hand with your hand closed on it then engage the cheek, it doesn't take much, you can feel the brace move in relation to the cannon bar.
With a snaffle contact is used to cue. There is not a lot of pre-cue, if any, to the bit itself using a snaffle and on a sensitive horse it can be easy to get one to hide or get behind the snaffle or get heavy if not used correctly. So to say the snaffle has the least amount of correction wouldn't be correct if you considered contact or engagement of the bit as "correction".
I am not down playing the snaffle as I like them and have at least a dozen different kinds hanging in my tack room and use them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyseternalangel    
This is why I like and respect you. You went above and beyond to explain how it works to me, and then provided pictures. You're incredible

This makes a lot more sense :) And now I understand why it's so well regarded. Kind of like the goal of riding is to have a horse highly responsive but also a rider that gives quiet effective cues. And this bit has the same goal.

Thanks again!
No problem! I am no means an expert but I have been learning through the years and have been thankful for the information that has been passed to me and enjoy educating others with what I know. It is exactly like you say, a responsive horse comes from a effective rider. And a quiet horse comes from a quiet rider. The bit is a result of the training not the means.
     

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