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Bits or No bits

This is a discussion on Bits or No bits within the Natural Horsemanship forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Is it cruel to put horsesinto an outline?

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    01-28-2014, 12:07 PM
Originally Posted by bsms    

Yes, the horse's mouth was designed to hold a bit. Why else would they be born with a gap in their teeth?
Please tell me you are trying to be facetious.
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    01-28-2014, 12:14 PM
I can ride my horse, better than anyone else could ride her. All English competitions will accept bitless. It is not a rule. I don't put shoes on my horse because they are again something that causes unessisary problems in horses. It has been nice reading the way people feel about their bits, and I want attacking your way of riding just that I think bits are cruel and cause more problems than nessisary. Also, those saying they don't work well bitless and are uncomfortable in a rope halter when riding then they'll be the same on the ground.

Hackamores are an exception for bitless riding because they are horrible and I have known people to restrict breathing with them. How ever a horse that leads properly should respond the same when you're on their back. If a horse leads and gives to pressure while being relaxed and then are not happy being ridden in the same head collar, you're doing something wrong.

And with my horse opening her mouth when putting pressure on wasn't my fault. It was my fault when I did nothing about it and put a flash on. Top dressage horses while working do not look happy and neither to show jumpers.

When it comes it the numbing of the tongue it was a video on youtube with lots of sources and those sources came from scientific evidence.

I may not get the exact same from my horse by lifting my reins and getting an outline, but I don't want her to be ridden like that. If I wanted to, I could.

Bits are cruel. But in the right hands they can do well. But bitless may be a little harder to train with, it is the better option for a horse if the owner knows how to train them properly without a bit.
    01-28-2014, 12:20 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by bsms    

You spent 2 years trying to put your horse in "an outline", which is certainly worse than riding her in a bit.
I have noticed a correlation on this forum, among people who ride with a lot of contact, thinking bits are cruel. Maybe they need to consider it is cruel because they are riding with a lot of contact, not that the bit itself is the problem.

I will probably get flamed for this, but I see people on this forum, almost constantly, preaching snaffles are the only mild bit and if your horse doesn't respond well in a snaffle he needs more training (or like this poster, don't use a bit at all because they are all cruel!). And these are frequently people who ride English style with contact, trying to put the horse in a frame. I guess because they think it looks pretty (I admit it does) and they are somehow doing it for the benefit of the horse "working correctly" (which I don't think has actually been proven.....horses don't travel collected in a natural state very often, so I would argue that the horse is not designed to travel that way). Then, if the horse gapes it mouth or flings it's head, they use nosebands and martingales to try to quiet the horse's protests.

Maybe, just maybe, if they didn't ride in contact to begin with, they could actually use a curb bit and have finesse with their horse. No pulling, no nosebands and martingales. Just a feather soft horse. Or course the bit doesn't do the training for you, but what I am saying is that you can achieve a beautiful, light horse with a curb bit. And most of the time your horse is traveling with a loose rein with no contact at all. How beautiful is that?

So yes, please, use what works. If your horse rides in a halter, great, I'm all for it! That's fantastic. But, I have had this casual observation that the people bashing bits are either beginners who don't know any better or people who are too heavy on their horse's mouths and ride with tons of contact and then wonder why their horse is unhappy. Instead of looking at themselves, they say "it must be the cruel bit!"

I don't think I know a single experienced horseman who thinks bits are cruel. Maybe there is one out there, but I have never met one.
bsms, morganarab94 and jimmyp like this.
    01-28-2014, 12:25 PM
Honestly, I think its ignorant for you to say that you can ride your horse better than anyone else could. There are lots of great riders in the world, and I would be honored to see them ride my horse. Are you better than non horsey people at riding your horse? Probably. I've never seen you ride. But there is always someone out there better than you are.

I have had horses that prefer a bitless, others who excel in a bit. Soft hands should the goal of every rider. When the hands are correct, communication will be effective, and NOT CRUEL in any way. I love riding bridleless, just as a fun thing to do, and something different every now and then. Do what works for you and your horse. The fact is, horses have been ridden both poorly and excellently with bits for thousands of years. Bits are not bad. Riders are bad, hands are bad. I would argue that just as much or more damage can be done in a bitless, in the wrong hands.
    01-28-2014, 12:29 PM
So, basically what you're saying, OP, is that everything you do is correct and best? It's that kind of attitude that makes people think 16 year olds don't know what they're talking about...
You can ride your horse better than anyone? Really? Anyone in the world? That's interesting.

And below are the USEF rules for Dressage regarding bridles and bits. So you were wrong there, as well.

3. For Federation Third and Fourth Level tests same as (2) above, or a simple double bridle (bridoon [snaffle] and bit [curb] and curb chain, cavesson noseband only). The curb “chain” can be made of metal, leather or rubber. A lip strap and rubber or leather cover for curb chain are optional. 4. For FEI tests ridden at national competitions, a plain snaffle bridle or simple double bridle may be used, as described above in DR121.2-.3. However, for USEF High Performance qualifying and championship classes, USEF Young Adult qualifying and championship classes, NAJYRC qualifying classes, USEF Junior qualifying and championship classes, and USEF Young Rider qualifying and championship classes, a double bridle is mandatory. Only snaffles, curbs and bridoons pictured under Figure 1-B are permitted in FEI tests. For the FEI Dressage Tests for 4, 5, and 6-year-old horses and the USEF Dressage Test for 4-year old horses, a
Plain snaffle bridle is required, as above (DR121.2). However, when a snaffle is used in FEI tests, a crescent noseband is not permitted and a snaffle is required as described in Figure I and as pictured in Figure 1B. In addition to the crescent noseband, the crossed (figure-8, Mexican) noseband is not permitted for the FEI Dressage Tests for 4, 5,and 6-year-old horses and the USEF test for 4-year old horses.
    01-28-2014, 12:33 PM
Originally Posted by Sahara    
Please tell me you are trying to be facetious.
Not really. The idea is that a horse's mouth invariably experiences pain because "Horses are not designed to have anything but food and water in their mouth".

While horses were not 'designed' to have bits, bits are designed to work in their mouth - just like a retainer fits a human mouth. In the case of my Jr Cow Horse Dogbone, the metal is shaped to fit the horse's mouth. It is made of sweet iron to encourage salvation, and the dogbone has a copper roller for my horse to play with:

The Billy Allen has less curve, but retains the copper roller and is easy for her to hold it in her mouth:

It doesn't matter if the horse was designed for the bit, or the bit was designed for the horse - they match. And if a bit does not match, many horses will let you know. Mia has only flat out refused to use one style of bit more than 2 rides: a loose ring, french link snaffle with fat hollow mouthpieces. She made it very clear that fat nasty thing would NOT go in her mouth a third time...unlike how she behaves with the Jr Cow Horse, Billy Allen, or single joint snaffles.

I was merely using humor to point out that bits and horses' mouths do, by design, go together...

"When it comes it the numbing of the tongue it was a video on youtube with lots of sources and those sources came from scientific evidence."

Hmmm...yet my horse, and every other horse I've ever met, continues to respond to light pressure on the bit after hours of riding - after their mouth is supposedly numb. Mia can feel the left side of the mouthpiece in the Billy Allen rotate 5-10 deg with her supposedly numb mouth. YouTube is not a very reliable source of information. In this case, what you are finding there contradicts what almost everyone with a horse experiences...
    01-28-2014, 12:34 PM
I'm not without experience at all, I work well with horses. With our without a bit I can ride without contact and can ask her to ride an outline to, I don't think an outline is the "correct way" is how I ride. Therefore a bit is unfair for her and many other horses. I didn't say all bits are cruel I said it's the handler and bits are their tools. I'm not saying everyone should ride bitless because some work well with it. Again people are just reading the part they don't like. Bits can work well if you don't use the reins as much as say people in dressage do. However if you can get the same out of a bitless bridle then why put a hunk of metal in their mouths. They can't eat properly with his and I like to let my horse eat when we stop on hacks. Houses ate better off without boys and unfortunately for those who have owners who can't control them, his will be relied on until they are recognised for what they can be which is cruel.
    01-28-2014, 12:37 PM
Originally Posted by EquineObsessed    
Honestly, I think its ignorant for you to say that you can ride your horse better than anyone else could. There are lots of great riders in the world, and I would be honored to see them ride my horse. Are you better than non horsey people at riding your horse? Probably. I've never seen you ride. But there is always someone out there better than you .
There are plenty of better riders than me, but my horse is very selective and has taken a lot of time to train to my aids, not what everyone else knows to do when riding.
    01-28-2014, 12:39 PM
Not saying you don't have experience, but in my experience, those with the most experience are the most humble, and will be the first to tell you how much they still have to learn. I just said 'experience' wayyy too many times. I'm just pointing out that a little humility goes a long ways. There are a lot of truly experienced and gifted folk on this forum that we can all learn a lot from, if we don't assume that we already have it all figured out.
    01-28-2014, 12:40 PM
And numbing tales long long rides to cause, never the less it does it. If we leave a bit on our am for hours and hours on end it will make us numb

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