Originally Posted by Pegasus1
An "interesting" point of view.
Having studied with James Roberts, a professional colt starter and re-starter for difficult horses, he generally did not advocate riding in a bit until the horse has around 100 to 150 hours riding time.
My young tb mare that he started for me is a case in point. I only around 15 hours on her and have yet to use a bridle. I just use a rope halter and rope reins. In fact to get her thinking forwards we even stopped using the 12 foot lead rope we started using, the heavy clip was too much interference around her face. She goes much better in just tied rope reins.
She will be ridden in a snaffle bit, but only once the schooling is to the level that the bit is used very the subtlest refinement, not for gross control.
What sort of advantage is it that a bit gives you ? Having re-started riding after a long break in just the last few years I have come back to it with fewer "received" truths and find myself questioning more things. The use of the bit for control of an unruly horse is one.
I watched a very good rider and friend of mine helping a young girl school her horse for jumping. It kept ducking out to the side. Eventually Liz decided to have a quick ride and removed the bridle to replace it with a halter. She reckoned she would actually have more control in the halter, and so it turned out. The horse was very soon jumping beautifully.
I know I might get a lot of disagreement to this, but I never ever ride my horses in a rope halter. I start in a snaffle then move to a bosal. Rope halters move, twist, roll on the horses face. This fails to transfer signals from the riders hands in a consistent manner. I use rope halters for the purpose they were designed for. As for this case, you say you have control over your horses "big head" well by softening her up with a bit, you will find that her big, heavy head will get a lot smaller And more responsive. The lighter she is, the easier it is to work her out of her spoiled issues.