Why even use a bit? - Page 13

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Why even use a bit?

This is a discussion on Why even use a bit? within the Natural Horsemanship forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    10-11-2012, 12:48 AM
Green Broke
I grew up riding my pony in a halter bareback all over Appalachia. I literally could point him at something and he would just do it. I developed great balance ducking through briars and going over hills, but really didn't learn much about anything else. It is only just recently that I feel like I am finally learning how to ride & communicate effectively with my horses.
I don't think riding bitless makes you necessarily a great horseman, but I do think a horse that will ride bitless is a pretty great horse. (ie.. Roxy)
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    10-11-2012, 12:49 AM
Originally Posted by nikelodeon79    

Sure sounded that way to me.

Gee, you are just going out of your way to insult people, aren't you?

How is a job that needs horses the "same difference" as a job that doesn't?

I can't exactly ride my horse into the office... I can't cram him in the elevator and ride up 15 floors. But... I suppose I should have him trained better so I can do that, right?

Don't assume you know everyone's lives and schedules and don't judge those of us who don't have an hour every single day to work our horses.

Don't assume that all of our horses actually need/benefit from an hour's work every single day. People generally get a couple days off per week... why shouldn't horses?

In fact, isn't it cruel and unnecessary to overwork a horse, just so you can boast that you can ride in a rope halter?
Haha Nickleodeon, they make great big service elevators now....do ya think he'd fit?
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    10-11-2012, 12:58 AM
Originally Posted by KSL    
I disagree that any horse "loves" any bit. You wouldn't "love" a metal bar stuck in your mouth. Tolerate it well, maybe.
I hate this argument. It doesn't prove anything. If you want to pull that card, then quit saddling and riding your horses as well.

Originally Posted by KSL    
Use a bit if you need one but you SHOULD have your horse responsive enough to ride without it is the main point here.
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You SHOULD be able to have your horse responsive enough to ride WITH a bit. That is the point a lot of people are making here.

Originally Posted by MangoRoX87    
But I have always wondered..who's idea, in the beginning stages of man riding horses, decided, "AH HA! We put rock in horse mouth. Rock make horse whoa whoa."
"Rock make horse whoa whoa." I laughed pretty hard at that.

They actually used rings through the horse's nose as control, and later moved into the horse's mouth. It isn't a crazy concept - If you have control of the horse's head, you have control of its body (usually, lol). When horse's were used for battle and work, you needed to have precise control. So the riders had direct control of the horse's sensitive mouth.

Now, here's my opinion on all this hullabaloo...

A lot of times the horse's behavior has absolutely nothing to do with what's attached to its face. A horse has a lot more leverage against you if you are riding in a halter. If a horse decides to put its head down and really use brute force against you, it has the leverage of its entire head and neck instead of its jaw. So you can train your horse to 'respond to a halter' all you like but in the case of a buck or god forbid a rear (where attempting to pull the horse's head to the side to prevent it from flipping will only result in the horse feeling pressure on its nose ... which means backwards you go) you have to consider that the horse might try to use its strength against you and you want to have the upper hand when it comes to that.

When I use a bit, I ride in my frenchie snaffle and I just bought a rubber mullen mouth snaffle. These bits are extremely mild and to top it off I have soft hands.

If you want to use the argument that we are selfish for using bits if the horses don't "need them", then let me just say YOU are selfish for using a rope halter just because you don't want to train your horse to ride bridleless. Think about it. You think that riding in a halter is some how kinder to the horse because it doesn't go into its mouth. Well.. what's even kinder than that? Not having anything on its face at all causing pressure and making it uncomfortable. If you work with your horse enough it SHOULD be able to respond to only seat, leg, and vocal cues. Isn't that the argument you are making? That the only reason people use bits is because they have not trained their horse to be ridden bitless?

If you want to argue that your horse responds to seat, leg, and vocal cues anyway, you just have a halter "just in case" or something, then what's the difference between that and a bit, honestly? If it's not being used except in an emergency, there will be uncomfortable pressure for the horse regardless of whether it's on the horse's nose or in its mouth. They are two completely different types of pressure but that's all they are: PRESSURE. A bit will not hurt a horse unless you are outright abusive with it, and the same can be said about your miracle rope halter. There are lots of sensitive tissues on the horse's face that can easily be damaged if someone rides them in a halter with a heavy hand - especially a thin rope halter with knots.

I think you've been watching too many Youtube horse trainers that try to drill into your head rope halters are kind and bits are not. They like to post videos of people using bits horridly wrong and pass it off as a general thing. Judging by your signature "It's NEVER the horse's fault" I have a feeling I know which trainer that is. If you want to ride in a rope halter and ignore the fact that not having something in its mouth does NOT equal a pain-free and stress-free horse, go ahead. But don't come here trying to say that people who use bits properly are still doing wrong by their horse.

I make my own rope tack and made this makeshift bosal (same exact pressure as a rope halter, just attached to a bridle) for my horse:

I also ride him in a halter:

Oh, I have also had this horse for less than two weeks and I did not have to do any "special" training with him to get him riding bitless. If your horse leads fine and respectfully, then it will ride in a halter most likely. Riding in a bit is a whole different type of pressure that has to be trained. Halter pressure is something the horse should have known most of its life.

I understand that rope halters slide and cause inconsistent pressure which does not allow me to train certain things properly. They are very confusing if you want to accomplish certain things. I also use a gentle snaffle on him when we're working on something new.

Bits have their places. The people that talk them down are people who were never properly trained to use them or people that have low aspirations of things to accomplish with their horse.

So, to your first question, "Why bother using a bit": Precision and communication.
    10-11-2012, 01:11 AM
Equilove......thanks, you took the words out of my mouth....I'm too lazy to write all that!
    10-11-2012, 01:15 AM
Originally Posted by KSL    
It is possible. I do it daily.

My job needs horses, so same difference. Everyone can make time though to work with their horse at least an hour a day. It makes a difference.
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Well, maybe if everyone rode for 2-4 hours a day every day, they'd all be perfect too.

But no, you are wrong. I've used a variety of bitless bridles, and none of them allow the precision and subtlety of cues that a bit does. Particularly a design like you describe. So if accurate and gentle communication is your goal, ditch your bitless bridle and get a bit for your horse.

And you might ditch the attitude as well. Most of the riders I know work to pay for their horses. Most horses are owned by recreational riders. And no, most riders do not have at least an hour a day to ride horses.
    10-11-2012, 01:20 AM
Originally Posted by bsms    
Most of the riders I know work to pay for their horses. Most horses are owned by recreational riders. And no, most riders do not have at least an hour a day to ride horses.
Right. I live 45 minutes away from my horses and use a quarter tank roundtrip. I drive a truck. It is not cheap. I can not afford to fill up my truck 2 times a week. It's just a measly 26 gallon tank but you get what I'm saying. -.-

Not everyone is blessed with horses in their backyard. If my horses were on my property, or even 15 minutes away, you bet your rootin tootin hiney I'd be out there every day.
    10-11-2012, 01:31 AM
The sun was about to rise when my wife, a nurse, left for work today. It is now 9:30 PM, and she hasn't made it home yet. Should nurses be prevented from riding because they don't have enough daylight to ride their horse daily?

When in the military, a 12 hour day, at least 5 days a week was the norm for me. I was deployed overseas on average 6 months a year. Guess folks in the military should be banned from owning horses too...
    10-11-2012, 01:38 AM
Originally Posted by KSL    
[Egg Butt snaffle]: Explain this bit to me, what it does for the horse and some uses for it (western, trails, English ect.) I have one in my barn and have never touched it.
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Egg butt snaffle

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    10-11-2012, 06:54 AM
I long for the day that the bitted/bitless debate is resolved using sound mechanical and biological facts, rather than using individual examples of horses and personal experience of riders.

And on that note:
Originally Posted by bsms    
and that it is physically impossible to be as precise with rein cues using a bitless bridle.
yes the pressure will be in different places, but X pressure in X direction can always be clearly distinguished from Y pressure in Y direction, regardless of bitted or bitless. This is a simple mechanical fact because there is nothing about bits through the mouth or nosebands around the nose that impedes the transmission of a changing or constant directional pressure.

So explain to me how there is any difference in precision, without telling me about a horse.
    10-11-2012, 08:01 AM
Originally Posted by bsms    
Egg butt snaffle

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