Soft Bits vs Harsh bits? - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 49 Old 09-14-2008, 08:04 AM
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I think a soft or harsh bit is the way it in used.. even the simple snaffle can become a harsh bit when reefed through a horses mouth..yet i have a spanish snaffle and when used with light hands can be quite soft... :) hope this helps

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post #22 of 49 Old 09-14-2008, 06:38 PM Thread Starter
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So directing back to the question of soft vs. harsh.

Would a chin strap apply to being harsh with a certain type of bit? In all reality, what is the purpose of the chin strap, advantages, and disadvantages.
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post #23 of 49 Old 09-15-2008, 11:29 AM
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Rubonsky & claireaurigan - I think we do have some transatlantic terminology differences here. My understanding of the term "snaffle" is the same as Claire's, i.e. a bit with no leverage.

On the original subject, I think certain bits, e.g. those with twisted mouthpieces, are always "hard" and I would not use one. However, for most bits, it's a matter of suiting the horse. Some go really well in long-shanked curb bits with lots of leverage, some don't. My horse has a humoungous tongue, so a thick mouthpiece is hell for him. I use a slim Waterford mouthpiece, which he goes well in. Some people say a Waterford is a severe bit and some say it's soft - go figure!

And, as has been pointed out in more than one post, the hands on the other end of the reins do make a whole lot of difference!
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post #24 of 49 Old 09-17-2008, 01:52 PM
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Harsh bits

The most important part of headgear are the hands that hold it. All bits have the potential of being harsh. It is the hands that hold it that makes it what it is on a certain horse. Plain as day...

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post #25 of 49 Old 09-25-2008, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by FoxyRoxy1507
I dont really believe there are harsh bits or soft bits, it depends on the way theyre used. I use a tom thumb pelham and a lot of people would call that a harsh bit but i also know how to use it without harming my horse and he prefers that bit to any other bit.
I agree. I have seen trainers take a beautiful hollowmouth eggbutt snaffel - about the least severe bit possible - and turn it into a living horror for a horse by giving one side a half-twist, making a point in the horses mouth across the roof, and a vise angle across the tongue, and bars. Then add a drop noseband to crank the horse's mouth shut.

Ultimately, bits are only about a quarter of the battle - 3/4s lies with rider education.
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post #26 of 49 Old 10-09-2008, 11:59 PM
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my standardbred doesnt need a harsh bit, actually he works very well in something that is soft. so i use a jointed pellham. Its very soft because the bars are thick and mild, however my horse has a big head, so the bit itself is actually heavy in weight. The curb chain is there really i use it to get his attention if he ignores a small aid, so that i dont have to use a much bigger aid, just had some curb reign. I consider it a very mild bit for him. My hands are usually very soft in my riding in general, so he doesnt get snapped in the mouth, and he goes very very well in it.

its all in how its used =)

IDK what others think about pellhams, ive heard ppl dont like them, however ive also seen them used very very very wrong =/


Last edited by equineangel91; 10-10-2008 at 12:02 AM.
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post #27 of 49 Old 10-11-2008, 05:03 PM
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Bits Bits Bits!!!
Thread I started with lots of great input on Bits!!

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post #28 of 49 Old 10-13-2008, 01:55 PM
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A bit is only has bad as the rider
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post #29 of 49 Old 11-05-2008, 06:17 PM
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Wow it's nice to see people who understand the ethics of bits! I've found that the REASON there are soooo many bits is because there are so many horses!! Horse A likes a thin bit, horse B likes a thick bit, horse C hates all straightbars and horse E won't have any single jointed bit in his mouth it must have a link of some sort and horse D hates hackamores etc etc!!!! Also rider A ruined her horse in a simple o ring while rider B uses the much hated tom thumb and her horse is quiet and happy. Rider F has her curb strap so loose on her curb there's hardly any "bite" at all while rider E has it so tight she better not jerk her hands around even on accident or the horse will rear up backwards! And then there's all sorts of other tiny little details that make these situations even more complicated like the shape of mouth, shape of tongue etc. Then of course the riders hands and ways of signaling etc.

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post #30 of 49 Old 11-05-2008, 06:37 PM
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Oh also after reading over this post even more, I've had this curb or snaffle argument before with somebody, well it is hard to know the difference when alot of experts and even my new trainer referred to my tom thumb as a shanked snaffle. Curb bits are leverage bits (reguardless of mouthpiece) though and snaffles are snaffles you pull back and whatever pressure you put on the reins is what the horse feels, leverage gives you more pressure with less pull from you hands depending on the size of the shank. However I would not look down on anybody that wants to call a tom thumb a shanked snaffle, this is a common term for this bit everywhere in the horse world even though it is technically a curb bit. Also with curbs is that alot of the severity comes from many different areas, of course the size of shanks #1 also if the shanks are straight they give less presignal than curved shanks do, and rotating shanks give presignal too, plus the mouthpiece, any port over 2 1/2" can cause palate pressure. Ports less than that though provide tongue relief and are actually gentle. Now when you get into broken curb bits slap me on the face but I like them!! I just don't like the idea of putting a solid bit in my horses mouth so, when I use my tom thumb I leave the curb strap so loose that I usually get very little curb pressure unless I really pull back (which I don't my horse understands my shoulders and seat). If I was allowed to show in a snaffle for western I would but I'm not so I'll disguis my bit with shanks and leave the strap so loose that it acts more like a snaffle than curb. I also have a shorter shanked bit that has 2" shanks and a dogbone in the middle to reduce the nutcracker effect I love this bit even more and well I think my horse does too but really I can't tell the difference he's quiet in the tom thumb and the dogbone bit.

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