Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Whidbey Island Washington
lmao. I understand your frustration, however, nearly every horse should be able to perform the basics in a snaffle. Bitting up should be used to refine cues to your horse, not just for extra stop, etc. That said, I'm working on bringing my mare back down into the snaffle at home, because I know without a doubt that if I can get the proper responses in a non-stress situation, those responses will become second nature to her and I will not have to keep 'bitting up' constantly when we ride in more stressful situations.
Now, I know my horse, and I know that when we're out and about, I would do well to have a stronger bit on her. I don't usually have to use it (note the word 'usually' there), but it is there in case her mind wanders off of me and onto something else. What would take all my strength in a snaffle, and still likely not be effective (learned this the hard way) takes no more than a slight twitch of the rein in a stronger bit.
I don't think that stronger bits are evil overall, but I do think that they are misused, and often misunderstood by the people using them. The hard thing about a forum, is that you can't see how people use their hands, and what other aids they use along with the bit to get the desired response. It is nearly always better to go back and refine your basics in a non stress situation with a mild bit (not all horses feel that a single jointed snaffle is mild, btw) than to just keep bitting up because the horse won't listen. The goal of all riders should be to ride their horse as well as possible with the least amount of bit-associated pain possible. To achieve this end, we repeatedly go back to basics with a basic bit.
I agree that it does seem like everyone here wants every horse ridden in a snaffle, but that just is not possible. The disciplines that people ride require specific bits, and individual horses require different bits to get a good response. Knowing the mechanics of how your bit works as well as how to use it, and knowing how your horse responds to various bits should be a better guideline than just 'snaffle only'.