Why even use a bit? - Page 3

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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
  • Sherry cervi life saver short gag
  • Sherry cervi draw gag bridle with lifesaver bit

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    10-09-2012, 02:33 AM
Hey guys, anyone wanna come start my two year old bridleless? I don't think I'm a real horsewomen, I'm too concerned to get on without some headgear.
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    10-09-2012, 02:37 AM
Originally Posted by SorrelHorse    
Hey guys, anyone wanna come start my two year old bridleless? I don't think I'm a real horsewomen, I'm too concerned to get on without some headgear.
I will, if you'll ride Brock bitless - whichever of us ends up in hospital last gets a snazzy wheelchair as a prize!
Corporal, Celeste and Nitefeatherz like this.
    10-09-2012, 02:49 AM
Seriously though, I'll bite.

This is my mare bridleless.

I can rope like that. I can play with some cows. I can lope (Not run) a barrel pattern like that. I can do a reining or eq pattern like that too.

Here's the question though. Why the hell would I do that?

Sure I can rope like that, but she's a cowhorse. Without the bridle cue, she won't stop long enough for the string to break. She'll chase that cow until she tramples it. That turns a three second run into a five second one. There goes a check from the jackpot.

I can play with cows. But again, she's a cowhorse, and a **** aggressive one. She'll chase the cow regardless of my opinion. She'll listen maybe, but she's delayed. There's no finesse with that.

I can lope a barrel pattern with that neck rope. But there's no way for me to pick up her shoulder. No way for me to set her up. If I ever asked her to run she'd fall on her face and kill us both, or have to recover by going wide.

Sure I can rein like that. But there's no finesse. She won't ever be perfectly in frame like that. She'll occasionally look to the outside of a circle. She won't have any support form the bridle in the stop. Same with the spin and lead change. No support, no cues from me placing her body, no finesse. Sure we might do okay, but a bridle is the differance between a neutral score and a +1 or +1 1/2. Surely you, miss owner of a three time world reining champion, can understand that.

Now let's explore a little more into the bits here, shall we?

My transition goes like this:

Loose rein french link/lifesaver snaffle.
Myler Comfort Snaffle Level 2
Jr. Cowhorse (Smooth w/ copper roller) or short shank Billy Allen

From there, it's anywhere. O ring combo dogbone bit, pozzi lifter, low port short shank, medium port S shank, little S hack, Jim Warner Hack, Sherry Cervi Diamond Lifter, Sweet Six, Simplicity, Loomis, Draw Gags, whatever.

If the horse likes it, works good in it, doesn't fight, by all means, STAY IN IT. Selena has a differant bit for every event. Smooth eggbutt for English. Low port short shank for roping. Billy Allen long shank for reining/cowhorse, Short shank Jr. Cowhorse for gaming and speed events, O ring combo bit for trail riding. Why? Because that's how she works.

Am I cruel in my choices? I do not believe so. I'm not here to play "true horsewoman" with someone on a forum. I'm here to chat and have fun, and then go out and ride with finesse. You flat out cannot get that in a rope halter. Bosals do not even have the same action as a rope halter, contrary to popular belief.
    10-09-2012, 02:51 AM
Originally Posted by EvilHorseOfDoom    
I will, if you'll ride Brock bitless - whichever of us ends up in hospital last gets a snazzy wheelchair as a prize!
*gasp* Can mine be a purple wheelchair if I win?? Then can we get "Para-Barrel Racing" in the WEG?
EvilHorseOfDoom likes this.
    10-09-2012, 03:11 AM
I think maybe you have a bit too bias idea of what bits are about, and perhaps about riding horses. But then I used to think exactly the same, so I'm not going to judge you. I think a good place to begin is that, ideally, a bit has nothing to do with controlling a horse. If a person needs to have any contraption to “control” their horse, they, or whoever, haven’t trained it properly, and no bit is going to control a horse that really wants to go. What bits should be about is communicating what you want to the horse. However I think the trouble is that too many people do think bits are about controlling their horses and so we see the emergence of various bits that are harsher than the last one; and then there’s many bits that, to someone who is naive about their use look very harsh but in reality, if used how they are intended, are about as gentle a piece of equipment you could ever use on a horse.
I hackamore train horses with the long term aim of getting, at least the ones I own, into a full bridle with a Santa Barbara spade bit (and just to give you a little perspective I personally think most people shouldn’t be allowed to ride with a rope halter like a hackamore, they can be quite nasty on a horse). In this process of training a horse the bit has nothing to do with control but about allowing the horse to pick up clear instructions through minute changes in the balance of the bit and your seat. Changes too minute for most bits to convey clearly; and in such a way that the bit has little to no contact on the horses jaw. That type of bit is designed to be picked up and held by the horse in its lips and tongue and carried on its poll, not resting in the bars of its mouth. So why use one? That’s a decent question because you have to have the horse to a high level of refinement in a hackamore before you think of putting the bit in its mouth; which suggests you could forgo the bit and just use a rawhide bosal. And indeed you can. The reason for using the bit is mainly double, 1) that it allows for more refined signals than even the most finely made and well balanced light bosal mecate combination, 2) because since even a bosal has direct contact constantly on what it is working on, even thought the signal is the cue, not direct pressure, a horse can potentially still harden to it given enough time. Can a spade bit be harsh? Hell yeah, if you go pulling the reins firmly, much less jerking on them; should they be harsh? Absolutely not, indeed they are designed to be so soft that they hardly touch the horses gums, if at all.
Like others have said, its usually not the bit that's bad but the person using it. There are some exceptions, like the spiky Indian driving bit (see the worst invention thread) but they are designed from the outset to be harsh.
    10-09-2012, 07:45 AM
Smile Bitless at last!

I have had my horse for little over a year and never felt that I was steering well at all. I must say that I have not had time to ride much due to my husband's heart problems (I stay close to him) but I had no confidence. Also he (my horse!) was trained Western, I was trained English and I fight my dyslexia every day.
Lately I have been getting slapped in the face with bitless articles everywhere I look, Something is trying to tell me Something. So last night I took the reins off his bridle and put them on his halter and we had such a better ride, more connection and 100% more success. My Jacey was a school horse and likely was sick to death of having his mouth hauled on by learners. I think he also sensed that I hated him having a bit in his mouth, I have hated bits since I read Black Beauty as a child and I also have a fast gag reflex so event he thought of one gags me. Before last night I would cry after riding at my own clumsiness at communicating, last night I felt on top of the world.
PS why do they not make "Smilies" with horses on them?????
    10-09-2012, 09:05 AM
Green Broke
Sandi, what the hell has dyslexia got to do with riding? I too am dyslexic but it does not affect your riding as it is a difficulty with the written word not with balance or coordination
    10-09-2012, 09:25 AM
Originally Posted by faye    
Sandi, what the hell has dyslexia got to do with riding? I too am dyslexic but it does not affect your riding as it is a difficulty with the written word not with balance or coordination
That's what I was thinking! I was diagnosed with dyslexia at a young age, it just means I get things backwards sometimes, doesn't mean I can't steer a horse.

Just so I add something contributing to the thread; I enjoy riding my seasoned and well trained trail horse in a mechanical hack, because SHE enjoys it, she responds in it much better than anything else we've tried. The only thing that rivals it is her full cheek snaffle, and that's what I have guests and family ride her in because the hack DOES have the potential to be harmful and takes a skilled hand to properly weild.

My new girl is in a snaffle for her training, but she seems much quieter in her halter... so once she graduates we'll probably be trying her in a little s (well wrapped and padded) to see how she likes it.

Bits or bitless, neither matters to me except which one my horse responds better in, it's a silly thing to nag someone about and unless the bit doesn't fit both the RIDER and the horse, then I'm not about to get on someones neck and breathe abuse on their conscience about it
    10-09-2012, 09:31 AM
I do not know if it is actual (dr. Sanctioned) dyslexia but I mostly cannot tell my right from my left and have a hard time understanding bending my horse with one leg when I want him to turn the other way. You should see me try to fold the flaps of a box so it closes!
    10-09-2012, 09:36 AM
It it s whole lot easier to call it Visual Dyslexia than admit I am stupid, un-coordinated and generally an idiot, eh?
I do not mean any disrespect to real dyslexics, but what else can I call it and have some shards of self-respect and keep on trying? I suffer from a deep chronic depression and PTSD, when I fail it really cripples me and it is hard to go on.
Sorry, I seem to have derailed this thread! I was just trying to celebrate my success going bitless.

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