To Bit or Not To Bit? Why is it that.........

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To Bit or Not To Bit? Why is it that.........

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  • Why not to use bits for horses
  • Horse bit why

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    04-13-2010, 10:10 PM
To Bit or Not To Bit? Why is it that.........

I have seen some people post about it before, but never as a question. Why is it that, say, our horses work OK in a bit, and then when we go out in a halter, and they preform better and easier? Like for the stops? They seem more in tune. Now, I know its not all horses, as I had a mare who did good in a halter bareback when I rode her(in a bit the rest of the time), but a gelding that wouldn't really listen. The mare was more sensitive to everything else, could that be the case?
Just a Q!
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    04-13-2010, 10:18 PM
A lot of horses just respond to face pressure better, I believe. Sometimes they aren't candidates for bitless bridles, which combine poll pressure and face pressure because they can be so rough, but a halter is just...easier. So the horses are easier. Make sense?
    04-14-2010, 12:41 AM
Green Broke
It works for some better than others. Horses are all unique creatures, to say that all horses should be ridden in a bit, or that a halter is less effective than a bit is a common misconception made by even the most talented horsemen. Horses were not born with saddles on their backs and bits in their mouths, some work ok with them some don't. I personally don't think it matters which you use as long as yopur horses comfort is your primary concern. Whether the horse works better off mouth, poll, curb, or face pressure is up to it.

Isnt it neat how these things work?
    04-14-2010, 03:21 AM
Reason 1: the horse prefers that kind of pressure instead of the one offered with the bit.

Reason 2: the bit/bridle is a misfit.

Reason 3: rider doesn't have the greatest hands and the halter is generally milder than a bit, so the horse doesn't feel the mistakes as easily as the horse would in, say, a Pelham.
    04-14-2010, 08:05 AM
I believed that sidepull/halter is the best way to go. Then I switched my horses to bit (they never had one before) and was amazed how much better they were with bit then the sidepull (and I used the gentlest one can think off, like a wide leather halter with reins attached). Not just better to respond but seemed to be more relaxed as well. So my point is it depends on horse, bit/bridle you use, way you ride, etc. You can't say it's great for all horses, because it's simply not true.
    04-14-2010, 03:40 PM
I think that most of the time the horse has been performing in spite of the rider and when you ride in a halter it gets the rider further out of the way so the horse can do what it needs to do. There is also a large percentage of people that have no problem lying to themselves about thier horses actual performance in the halter because they think it makes them a better horseman if they ride in a halter. They are wrong.
    04-14-2010, 05:09 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by kevinshorses    
There is also a large percentage of people that have no problem lying to themselves about thier horses actual performance in the halter because they think it makes them a better horseman if they ride in a halter. They are wrong.
I agree very much with that statement.

BUT I disagree with the common consensus that most people like to just think a horse does better in a halter when really it doesnt, that it just makes the rider feel like a "natural horseman" or something. I think that a good percentage of the time a horse can do just as good or excel in a halter or hackamore as with a bit but most people are stuck in the bit tradition, after all that is all a bit is, a popular tradition, same with a treed saddle and most other common items of tack and tools. I think often times a more traditional horseman will dismiss such "new" or "alternative" methods and tools as just that because they are not historically prevalent and are not what the person was taught or has learned as proper or worth while method and tools. Kinda a "well, if it just works don't change it" kind of perspective...
    04-14-2010, 08:17 PM
I don't lie and say it makes me feel like a "natural horseman", I just noticed that with some horses, it makes them respond easier, even when they are completely fine with the bit. :)
    04-14-2010, 08:44 PM
I kinda, sorta agree with kevin, on the fact that it's easier for the horse to get away with things w/o the bit because it is milder than a bit. I like to use the bit more than just a halter, because I like the control I have over her face. I can do everything with her body and "transmition" with my legs but the face is entirely controled with the bridle and bit, and I feel that it works better than jsut a halter. Sometimes if I'm feeling lazy I'll just go out with the halter but I definitely notice her breaking through the halter a bit with her face, and fighting more.
    04-14-2010, 09:23 PM
Most horses are taught how to respond to a halter long before they get a bit in their mouth, maybe that's part of the answer? It's more familiar and clear?

Plus they are free to correct the riders mistakes a little more. Let's say a rider has some problems with slightly stiff hads.. with a bit that might make the entire horse tense and ''locked'', while in a halter, the horse can ignore it.

Some horses might just feel that they need to listen more with a haltr than a bit. I ride Crow bridleless sometimes, he generally ''slow down'' and focus more on me, as if with the bit/bitless he thinks ''oh, she'll get the cues through anyway so I can just relax and think of other things''.. kind of.. not that I can work him in a better frame or so, but I notice that he seems to listen more to what I'm doing :)

And..some horses just are more comfortable with it?

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