I have been thinking, and I thought about her first answer as I walked away....if it were me, the pure mechanics of a bit would give me more security and the idea of control....something inside of the mouth has a lot more suggestion to it than a piece of rope with two knots in it. In her particular case I think it only gives her the illusion of being nicer....she is an older woman, who as I said openly states she is a beginner. However, she bought a young Arab, who I have seen dump both her and her husband over stupid things....I don't know what caused her to fall off except bolting, but I know for the husband that this horse spooked at a couple of cones. He also is kind of food aggressive. IMO not a beginners horse, but to their credit they are taking lessons, both general riding lessons and lessons on him. Their plan is to next year go on a big trail ride, with the wife on him, and the husband on another horse. I don't know that he'll be a good trail horse, I would LOVE to get on him and see what he's got going on, but that's not why I'm posting.
My question is, do you think a PROPERLY FITTED rope bridle/hackamore type deal offers more control than a bit?
Here's my personal opinion: I think on a very forward/"top heavy" horse, it might work and it might not. I've met some horses, like mine (who I ride in a hackamore) who work very well off face pressure and respond to it, sometimes better than a bit. Some horses, its an off and on thing, you can switch back and forth to keep them light. There are some horses that I've met that don't know what face pressure is--in fact some of them even lean into it! There are other horses where a bit, even just a simple snaffle or 3-piece bit would be better hands down than a hack.
Whats your experience?