Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Higgins, TX. YeeHaw!!
I've always started all of mine in a simple snaffle bit. They are going to be expected to be ridden in a bit so, the way I see it, why not get all the "new" over with and out of the way. However, I am not against others starting their horses in halters if that's what they want to do.
Part of the main reason why I choose a bit over a halter is because horses, especially green horses, are inherently unpredictable. Since she is a rescue, you don't know her history; you don't know if she had a tendency to buck or bolt. Of course, proper ground work can go a long way toward minimizing the chances of something like that, but can never truly "prevent" it.
There are probably a lot of folks that don't agree with me, but I'm of the mind that if something happens and the horse decides to ignore the training that is already in place (which can happen in green horses if they get slightly panicked), then a little bit of a sting can often bring them back and remind them that they are supposed to listen to the cues from that thing that just stung them.
For example, if I'm on a green horse that starts to bow up like they are about to buck, I'll take one rein smoothly and ask them to bend their neck and get their hindquarters moving. If they resist or go to take their head down between their knees, I'll "ask" a little more forcefully and a lot of times, that little tiny bit of stinging in their mouth will encourage them to comply instead of resist more and I can stop the buck before it ever really gets started.
Halters, especially nylon or leather halters, don't have that option at all. Rope halters have the sting but, since both reins are attached under the jaw, they don't have the clarity of cues.
But, of course, that's just my feelings on the matter.
Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
Last edited by smrobs; 07-16-2012 at 08:04 PM.