Will your horse respond to your bit? - Page 21

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Will your horse respond to your bit?

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    10-10-2010, 10:18 PM
Originally Posted by mom2pride    
I'm not going to get into the full on debate going on between you and others, but I will disagree with your feeling on how your hands effect, or don't effect the horse, and his behavior. Please don't take this like I'm trying to pick on you...this IS just MY observations, and experience.

I just got back from a Clinton Anderson clinic, and his main horse that was being schooled, is a horse that is always tense, tosses his head, jigs, etc...you name it, he does it. However, Guess what 'solved' his problems? Taking the pressure off his face/mouth. Most people use their hands to stop or otherwise slow a horse down. His owner admitted, that that is what she does...The horse's behavior was in his owners hands, literally. What the clinician did was simply work on bending the horse laterally, get him to move his feet willingly, and to stop when he sat down (or one reined him, if he didn't listen to his seat)...not once did he lean on the bit, or try to pull the horse to a stop...the horse calmed down, his head came down, he relaxed, and he stopped wanting to move forward everytime the rider asked him to stop...again, the horse's behavior was directly tied to the rider's hands.

So yes, a horse's behavior, whether good or bad, or anywhere inbetween can and often times will be related to how his handler handles his mouth/face (bitless). I have had horses who respond better bitless, and others, like my current mare who seem to prefer her snaffle bits to pressure on her face (bitless). Does she respond bitless? Sure, but she's NOT as relaxed, so that is what makes the difference for me...and I broke her in bitless so it's not like I didn't have time to evaluate how she performed (rope halter, as per norm for me when breaking in a horse).

Everytime I step on a horse, whether it's one I'm training, or my own mare, keep a mental check on how my hands are handling the horse...ideally the only thing the reins should 'control' are the horse's head and neck; your seat and legs are what control his shoulder, ribcage, and hips...ultimately all forward, backward, sideways, etc, movement.
I agree it is 100% in the riders hands as to how the horse reacts to a bit or lack their of. Like I have said 1000 times. It is not the bit. It is the hands. You can hurt a horse just as easy in a bit-less bridle as you can with a bit. Maybe even more so as you are putting pressure on their nose and poll. Damage or soreness in the pole area is one of the biggest problems of horses being out in other areas of their body and stiff and tense.
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    10-10-2010, 10:22 PM
Green Broke
Mom2pride exactly...what works for one horse won't necessarily work for another.

not all horses like bitless...mine doesn't. Not all like bits. But mine will go in a halter and lead rope but she gets confused because the cues are kind of garbled...whereas with a bit she understands the tiniest movement.

Bottom line...a bit sitting in a horses mouth causes no pain. But a heavy handed rider yanking on it...yes. A bitless bridle sitting on a horses face does not cause pain...but a heavy handed rider yanking on the horses face...yes.

I think that point should be drilled into everyone's head by now ;) hopefully certain people on here can take that tid bit away from all the rest of the melodramatic posts ;)
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    10-11-2010, 01:26 PM
Emily, I don't mean this as an attack, but a valid question.

What do you do when you have a horse that dislikes face pressure? I have two examples.

I tried Soda in a bitless bridle as he wasn't comfortable or happy in the bit I was using. He was very unhappy with it and fought it. He was actually significantly worse in the bitless than the bit he didn't like. I've posted the story so many times that I don't really want to get into it again, but if you would like it's further back in this thread. I went back to a bit, but continued my research and bought several different bits until I found one he likes.

My new pony, Lily is extremely sensitive to face pressure and will literally flip out if it's a hair too much. I'm talking rearing all the way up in the air repeatedly. She is a danger to herself and others when this happens. Currently I'm using a loose ring snaffle right now on her and while it's taken her awhile to "get it" she hasn't flipped out with it. This leads me to believe that she is happier with a bit in her mouth than pressure on her face. I will probably attempt a bitless option with her at some point to see if it's viable, but do I force her into something that apparently hurts her either mentally or physically. Or do I stay with what she appears to like?
    10-11-2010, 01:39 PM
Originally Posted by MN Tigerstripes    

What do you do when you have a horse that dislikes face pressure?
Ride primarily off your seat and legs. Yes, really.
    10-11-2010, 01:41 PM
I think a point that should be brought out, here, is that there are several members on this forum, and this thread who are also trainers (myself included); people who have worked with not just a handful of horses but hundreds, and in some cases thousands...I don't think "most" significant conclusions can be drawn between bitless and bitted from folks who only work with a few horses here and there. I'm not saying this to be condescending either, so PLEASE don't hear it that way, but there is a big difference between opinions that involve 10 horses and 100. Which one would I choose between? The one that's worked with hundreds. Why? Because there has been a very large variety in the types of horses worked with, how they handle, their attitudes, etc. Personally, I start bitless (rope halter), and transition to a snaffle bit, and if I or an owner will be showing the horse, a curb later on. It's what's gotten the most "level" results over the years for me.
    10-11-2010, 01:45 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by mom2pride    
there is a big difference between opinions that involve 10 horses and 100. Which one would I choose between? The one that's worked with hundreds. Why? Because there has been a very large variety in the types of horses worked with, how they handle, their attitudes, etc.
So very true...that's simple statistics and sample sizes at work
    10-11-2010, 02:21 PM
Originally Posted by mls    
Ride primarily off your seat and legs. Yes, really.
My point was, do I put a bitless bridle on that horse or do I use the bit?

I already ride primarily off of my seat and legs so that really isn't the issue. I'm not using the bit to turn or stop my horse. For whoa I stop my seat for turning I weight my seat and signal with my legs. The bit is used, but it is with gentle contact. He will back with the correct pressure from my seat and the only thing the reins are doing is not moving.I don't really think his problem with the bitless bridle is linked to me not riding with my seat/legs. For the record his bit is a double jointed snaffle so it isn't like it's a harsh bit (in the correct hands of course) that magically solved all my problems.

Edit - Good point Mom2pride.
    10-11-2010, 03:10 PM
Very good post Mom2pride, and so very true, I won't say I'm a very experienced trainer, but I have at least aided in training 100 horses, and I hope to continue to grow those numbers with the most knowledge I can obtain which is a big reason I'm here. I will say when I started training I was ill knowledged and didn't know much, but throw me on any horse and I was confident to get it to stop rearing, bucking, bolting, etc. But could I access why they were doing so? Nope!

But anyway, with experience comes knowledge and vice versa. I won't say that there are trainers out there better than us just because they've trained 1000's of horses, that'd be completely wrong knowing how some people train.
    10-24-2010, 04:10 AM
Horses feel face pressure in bridles with bits too. I have seen people like the youtube video nahreiner posted and I don't understand why bits are needed. I am honestly trying to understand and to gain more knowledge. If you are saying that a bit is to refine a cue how come you have to use it? Because you are already getting what you want without it right? I don't understand. Is it just so that you don't have to pull as hard or something? I am not being rude all I am trying to do is gain knowledge on the subject now. So my main question is if you are already getting the response you need why do you have to add something to refine a cue? I don't understand that.
    10-24-2010, 04:11 AM
Nrhareiner* is the name I meant sorry.

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