Snaffle bits.....ugh! - Page 6 - The Horse Forum
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post #51 of 60 Old 09-19-2012, 01:50 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by JustDressageIt View Post
I disagree. The right TRAINING will transform a good rider into a great rider. A good rider will never become a great rider due to a bit.
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Go and read my post again. And again. And once again.....a bit IS a training device, if you think it isn't then go ride bridle less at your next show.....sheesh.
Done, this was not supposed to be an argument but you keep pushing your point.

Last edited by Muppetgirl; 09-19-2012 at 01:55 AM.
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post #52 of 60 Old 09-19-2012, 01:55 AM
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A bit is a training device yes. But it does not create a rider.

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post #53 of 60 Old 09-19-2012, 02:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Muppetgirl View Post
WHY is it that nearly (not every time) anytime someone asked a question about a bit or says they need to move up to a more corrective style bit
no horse "needs" this.
Originally Posted by Muppetgirl View Post
does everyone (not everyone all the time, just a select few) start raving at the person that they need to go back to training yada yada yada, you need to go back to a snaffle yada yada yada.....really?
because most problems that make people think they need a bigger bit are most easily solved with a snaffle because of their simplicity
Originally Posted by Muppetgirl View Post
Since when has the snaffle been the be all and end all in bits?
it's by no means the be all end all, but it is the most reliable.
Originally Posted by Muppetgirl View Post
I actually find them very limiting to use and quite frankly you can really harden a horse up with one of them
the same can be said of any bit. has nothing to do with the bit and everything to do with the rider.
Originally Posted by Muppetgirl View Post
because they require so much freaking contact all the time.....
Originally Posted by Muppetgirl View Post
sometimes I believe it's actually kinder to use a more 'effective' bit on your horse lightly rather than use a 'ineffective' bit on your horse heavily......
either way you should be striving to be as light as possible while remaining effective. and if you are doing so properly then it won't matter what bit you use, and chances are good that you won't have the problems that make other people suggest that you you go back to using a snaffle
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post #54 of 60 Old 09-19-2012, 10:46 AM
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Herein lies the problem:
When someone comes on a forum and immediately starts asking about a harsher bit, we have zero information on that person. We have no idea what kind of rider they are. For the sake of the horse, most will recommend against the harsher bit because they have no idea if the person knows how to ride in it properly.

For the record I picked up a training client when she was trying to decide between a number of harsh bits for her pony and her current trainer told her the pony was "spoiled" and she needed to "show him who was boss." When I rode the pony (in a snaffle), I discovered he was so responsive, she was giving him all sorts of cues when she didn't even realize it.

I guess my point is that I've learned to trust the horse first, rider second.
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post #55 of 60 Old 09-19-2012, 02:04 PM
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lol, this is a funny thread. I show western pleasure. I have two bits - snaffle and a medium port curb.

Why? Because my horse is light as a feather on a snaffle. It's my "end all beat all" because my horse can do anything on it. I can take a soft squeeze and get the head lowering, and a pinkie's amount of strength to get him to flex his head to my boot. The rest comes from the cues of the body. I can also get similar results from riding in a halter and/or bridleless once I get the horse off the bit and into my body.

The only reason I go to the curb is because it's required to show.

A snaffle is a great bit because it is the truest reflection of the rider's skill and finesse. If a rider could not ride in a snaffle just as well as a port, or a shank, or a cathedral, I would seriously question that trainer's skill.

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post #56 of 60 Old 09-19-2012, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Muppetgirl View Post
there is no such thing as a harsh bit, only harsh hands. .
Uhh..false..very false.. You may ride western but you don't seem all that well informed of what you're trying to say.

I guess a bicycle chain bit isn't harsh at all?

Even when put in the "Snaffle" category.


I'm all for retraining in a snaffle..I have a mare that was ridden in the first bit I posted and it completely ruined her mouth and her mind.. We went back to a snaffle and of course it was awful at first, she didn't listen and would drag me around..After a few weeks of slow and constant work with the snaffle she started to respond very well to it. I can ride her very easily now in a snaffle but when running barrels I now have her in a hack combo bit because it's also very light in her mouth. This is after 9 months of work and retraining with a snaffle and a hackamore combo bit.. I did NOT have to "bit up" to be able to control my horse. That easy control came back with retraining and using a snaffle.

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Last edited by DrumRunner; 09-19-2012 at 02:13 PM.
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post #57 of 60 Old 09-19-2012, 02:22 PM
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Think about it this way maybe...

You have a horse, western broke, we will him Red. Rides in a simple Argentine training bit with a dog bone center. The shank is 3". Red is becoming difficult to stop in his bit. So the owner has two options.

1) sweep it under the rug. Bump him up to the 5" or 7" ported bit. Pull on him until he stop. A few weeks go by and red stops when you pull the reins. Perfect, you think you finally taught Red to stop!! Drop that bit down to the original bit and now you have horse who ignores it even more then before. yYou keep your new port bit. Now what happens when you Red stops listening to that bit? You get a bigger, harsher one?

2) Put red in a snaffle and reTRAIN him. Get to work doing various exercises to get a nice solid stop. Start associating the voice, seat and leg. After a few weeks, maybe a month, you have a horse who is stopping quickly/lightly and WILLINGLY (!!!) Off voice, hands and seat. Now you stick in your original bit and you have a horse who is stopping lightly in the bit he wasn't responding to. If he stops listening you know how to go back and fix it.

If I'm just farting around I ride in the lightest thing possible, my rope halter. My horse flexes, stops, back, etc softly in it. Not a first, but we got there. If I'm going to "tune her up" or ask more if her then just putzing around I use a dog bone training snaffle (not a snaffle, its a curb badly named!!) With 3" shank. If I'm taking a lesson on her we work in a 5" medium port, some times the snaffle, depending on who is teaching me. I always try and ride in the lightest thing possible and make sure any resistance is corrected before it gets out of hand. I feel its fairest to the horse, after all, he is my teammate!!
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post #58 of 60 Old 09-19-2012, 02:33 PM
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In reference back to the OP's original rant, I do beleive there IS some , shall we say, "prejudice" toward or against certain bits that is evident here. I think there ARE 'trends' in bitting that influence the general public preference or belief in the "right" bit .
In the 1950's or 60's, maybe even 70's, very few western riders would use a snaffle. a regular curb bit was THE bit, and snaffles were poo-poo'd.

Then it was Tom Thumbs were THE bit, and now they are becoming poo-poo'd

now it's snaffles are THE bit, and up next ?

I am a total snaffle person, but that is because that is what I was taught is "normal". A spade bit looks horrific to me, and yet, only becuase I dont' know enough about it. I have been reading about them and am learning that they are often the best bit and horses love them. Looks so strange to me, but so normal to some folks. It's all in where you start from.
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post #59 of 60 Old 09-19-2012, 03:05 PM
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Tiny, I think a good bit of "trends" may come from people learning more about the mechanics and workings of a bit, when they see it needs improvement or something else works better they'll switch to the new bit.. Just my thought.

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post #60 of 60 Old 09-19-2012, 03:31 PM
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I ride strictly English. Well... I guess I ride Western-ish a bit, when I'm trail riding (on the buckle and neck reining!!), but I'm always in English tack.

My horse is *nearly* always in a snaffle. Why? Because I don't NEED more than that to control him. I can be as light as light, or I can be darn harsh. Though he doesn't always respond to the light aids, and sometimes I need to GET harsh with him, the snaffle is ALWAYS enough (I am the problem in situations where we use a bigger bit).

That being said, for a few months, I rode in a kimblewick. Why? Because I couldn't control him while jumping. Not in a snaffle. No amount of re-training in the snaffle was working, because the problem wasn't the horse... it was MY confidence and MY trust that I was in control. I froze up and didn't actually USE my reins. I put him in the kimblewick because I knew it was a stronger bit, so I knew I had more stopping power and would 100% be able to stop him no matter what. I still rode on the flat in a snaffle (I have two bridles so it was simple enough to do), and gradually began popping over small crosses at the end of a flatwork session. As time went on, the small crosses turned into low verticals, which gradually got higher. Meanwhile, I would still do a jumping session once a week in the kimblewick, at the height we were training.

As time went on, I got more confident, and I switched out the kimblewick for a snaffle, but put it back on my jumping bridle at shows because I was still scared of him while out. Gradually, my trust in my horse grew, and he's now showing in a snaffle.

HOWEVER, next time I go out eventing (I mainly showjump), he will be in the kimblewick again. I have very little confidence cross-country even in the kimblewick, and would rather have that extra control just in case. He can get a bit strong out on the cross country course, and with my lack of confidence, that would terrify me and I would end up with a totally out of control horse. He feeds off me too much.

I have NOTHING against stronger bits and have in fact advised friends to go with them in the past, but I strongly dislike anything twisted (even slow twists!)... it's plain mouthpiece in one of any of the various styles, or you're not my friend any more. I quite like my kimblewick and find it to be a lovely mild curb, just enough power to be effective and not so much that it scares me.

I did use a VERY harsh hackamore on a previous horse, but never jumped in it, and only ever rode on a very loose rein... I used it as part of re-training him to a snaffle bit because I couldn't control him in one when I first got him... I was (am) tiny, and at the time I wasn't a very effective rider.


Last edited by blue eyed pony; 09-19-2012 at 03:33 PM.
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