Bit vs Bitless ~
 
 

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Bit vs Bitless ~

This is a discussion on Bit vs Bitless ~ within the Natural Horsemanship forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • BIT VS BITLESS FOR HORSES
  • Bit vs bitless

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    03-07-2014, 12:21 AM
  #1
Foal
Bit vs Bitless ~

I believe this topic has already been posted, but when I read them, it was either expressing how bad the other one is, or just defending. But I would like your opinion on the two. Yes, both. Whether or not you use the other, or have any experience with either two. What have you been told, or what you've been taught, and how do your horses react with either one. And please only post negative things (bloody mouths, etc) if you have only witnessed it yourself, Lets not let this one explode, and keep everyone's opinion to one post. Thanks! Hopefully this will help me, and anybody else deciding between the two.
     
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    03-07-2014, 01:23 AM
  #2
Started
I like the bit as a training tool as well as bitless. If a horse will happily work bitless then I see no problem with it. But I don't like to see people trying to force a horse to go bitless with mechanical hacks. Or when they take a bolting horse out without a bit. THAT is an accident waiting to happen. IMO I think you should use whatever your horse works best in.
     
    03-07-2014, 02:46 AM
  #3
Weanling
Ehh, my horse goes fine in a snaffle, halter or with a neckrope. Goes best in the snaffle, I find riding without a bit like hitting someone with a pillow, yes, it works, but no finesse.
     
    03-07-2014, 02:50 AM
  #4
Green Broke
Honestly the question is too broad to get a good answer. Bits range from simple snaffles to cathedral bits and bitless could be anything from a halter to a mechanical hackamore. A properly trained horse with a tactful rider should be able to go in any of those well and without being in pain.
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    03-07-2014, 08:10 AM
  #5
Foal
Bit less really depends on the horse itself. My horse was used to having her mouth cranked on by kids so when I got her she refused to even put the bit in her mouth. Mind you I did some online research before choosing a bit less bridle later on but for awhile I just rode in a halter to see how she responded. She works well in it but others don't. If any of my lesson kids horses rid in a bit then I let them and if a problem arises where they won't take a bit and it has nothing to do with the horses teeth then I put my bit less on them to see how they respond. Long story short, if your horse takes the bit nicely and responds well, use a bit and if your horse doesn't, try riding in a halter to see where they stand with that. Hope this helps!
     
    03-07-2014, 10:28 AM
  #6
Green Broke
Use what makes the horse happy and it functions the best.

Sometimes thick tongues, palette issues, or tooth issues can cause a horse to reject any sort of bit.

I have two who wear mechanical hackamores and two who wear low port curbs with swivel shanks. Back when I was hard trail riding, they all did the same amount of sliding down a river bank, digging up the other side, riding on the flat of an old railroad bed, down a country road, yadda yadda.

Meaning, tooth/mouth issues or not
Quote:
A properly trained horse with a tactful rider should be able to go in any of those well and without being in pain.
The operative in that quote being the TACTFUL RIDER. If your hands are rough, you aren't getting anything but trouble out of the horse, no matter what goes on its head or in its mouth
smrobs, bsms, SketchyHorse and 2 others like this.
     
    03-07-2014, 10:32 AM
  #7
Weanling
I read an excellent piece on this in Mark Rashid's book "Life Lessons From a Ranch Horse" (I highly recommend this book btw!).

He talked about how at one of his clinics, he was warned about a woman who was a diehard NH fan was there who liked to accost clinicians about why they used anything more than a rope halter. She would hold up entire sessions for half an hour or more arguing with the clinician during Q&A time. Mark was prepared when her questions came and he used the example of the horse he'd just worked with, who had come in confused and frustrated after being in only a rope halter- he even had rope burns on his face from pulling against it. When the horse was put into a snaffle, he was able to understand what his rider wanted and comply with the request, so it helped him become more relaxed and focused.

In short, I believe that each type has it's place and it's time when it will do the most good. I consider it to be another tool in the toolbox, the difference between a Phillips' Head and a flat-head screwdriver. They both do the same job, but one will usually work better than the other in a given circumstance.

That said, I *DO* believe many riders could benefit from learning to ride bitless, especially at first when they are developing their hands and seat. I think a lot of riders are trained to rely on a bit like the brakes in a car, when they need to be learning how to communicate with their seat and legs. To me it feels a little like handing a 5th-grader a hammer and telling him to go build a house. He might be able to figure something out, but the result is rough and certainly ain't going to be pretty.
     
    03-07-2014, 11:04 AM
  #8
Showing
Neither is better than the other, they are just different and, IMHO, every horse/rider should learn how to ride both ways....given that the knowledge and training is there to be safe doing it.

I ride all my horses in a bit but I also ride all my horses in a halter, it just depends on the day and how lazy I'm feeling. If used improperly, both can be used to cause pain. That's why I get so frustrated with those folks that say "bitless is always kinder than bits".

People need to learn to ride correctly and manage their hands. Then, they can ride their horse in anything from a nylon halter to a cathedral bit and get along great.
walkinthewalk likes this.
     
    03-07-2014, 11:07 AM
  #9
Green Broke
Quote:
That said, I *DO* believe many riders could benefit from learning to ride bitless, especially at first when they are developing their hands and seat. I think a lot of riders are trained to rely on a bit like the brakes in a car, when they need to be learning how to communicate with their seat and legs. To me it feels a little like handing a 5th-grader a hammer and telling him to go build a house. He might be able to figure something out, but the result is rough and certainly ain't going to be pretty.
Great analogy

The very old timey way of saying that was "if you don't stop riding that horse's head, I'm going to take the bridle off and then see what you can do"
SueC likes this.
     
    03-07-2014, 11:12 AM
  #10
Weanling
My gelding (Rip 02/28/14) hated a bit. Literally he was terrible in one. Later found it was because he still had his wolf teeth. So I always rode him bitless and he was a charm. Never had any problems.
But my mare on the other hand, if you jumped on her bitless you'd probably be in the next county going. I ride her in a snaffle and she does fine with it.
So I guess it all depends on the horse.
     

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