Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Alberta, Canada
• Horses: 0
Here's my 2 cents for what it's worth.
The "ideal setup" that RD posted in my eyes is not ideal. Here are my reasons why (and this is my critique, as I would critique anyone with the same photo. I am not taking a dig at the rider or anyone involved with the picture): The saddle is an incorrect fit, and the headstall is adjusted incorrectly so the bit is hanging and probably banging the horse's teeth.
Now, on to my biggest argument:
If you slap a curb on a horse without the horse ever having carried one before, you run a very very high risk of the horse reacting badly to the bit - rearing out of fear/pain comes to mind first.
In my opinion, most horses should be able to do everything in a snaffle. If you want to ride in a curb, that's your perogative, but it is, in my opinion, not a schooling bit. The curb is introduced once the horse understands most of its schooling in a snaffle - why? Because you do not have very clear communication direct-reining with a curb bit, the signal gets confused very easily; depending on the mouthpiece you either have no independent side action, or very little, so the action of the curb while in use direct-reining is quite a confusing one.
A horse that is ready to "step up" to a curb, in my opinion, is a horse that needs little to absolutely no action on the bit anyways - the horse's cues come from the rider's seat and legs primarily, and from the reins, in the form of neck-reining.
Will a curb be useful in stopping a runaway? Perhaps - if the horse isn't running out of blind panic, and if he's still receptive to bit commands. However, if you're using a curb for the first time on a runaway, you might have an even scarier situation on your hands if things go wrong. I've seen first-hand what happens when a person resorts to a curb on an unschooled horse to get more "whoa." The horse flipped.
In educated hands a curb can be a lovely thing. In the wrong hands, it can be disasterous.
The lovely images above provided by CVLC Photography cvlphotography.com
Last edited by JustDressageIt; 01-07-2010 at 02:27 PM.