Ok, here's my rant. I've been viewing old posts/threads trying to find out about bits. WHY is it that nearly (not every time) anytime someone asked a question about a bit or says they need to move up to a more corrective style bit does everyone (not everyone all the time, just a select few) start raving at the person that they need to go back to training yada yada yada, you need to go back to a snaffle yada yada yada.....really? Since when has the snaffle been the be all and end all in bits? I actually find them very limiting to use and quite frankly you can really harden a horse up with one of them because they require so much freaking contact all the time.....sometimes I believe it's actually kinder to use a more 'effective' bit on your horse lightly rather than use a 'ineffective' bit on your horse heavily......
Ahhhh that feels better.....go ahead flame me (ps. I don't want to hear anything about a bit being anatomically correct, since when is carrying around a chunk of steel in your mouth correct?)
I would not disagree with that. It is sometimes better to use a more effective (a bit that is capable of inflicting more pain ) bit on some horses. I know that sounds awful, but when you think about it, that is why a bit works; becuase if it is ignored, it CAN inflict enough pain to make the horse pay attention. except those horses that will ignore any amount of pain inflicted by a bit. Then what?
Usually, snaffles were used to in training becuase the horse would not understand the meaning of rein/bit pressure, so a fairly strong presssure might be needed, at first. Once the horse understands, then a very minimal contact/pressure is needed to cue the horse to do what he already knows how to do.
If the horse doesn't know how to "follow the rein", as my trainer says, then that is what he needs to be taught, first.
You'll only be using a snaffle 'heavily' if you are not a good enough rider to engage your core and ride through your seat.
The issue is, a lot of people asking about going to a more severe bit, have the problem themselves, not the horse. It ends up going to a downward spiral of moving to harsher and harsher bits until you're just about riding with a piece of cheese wire in the horse's mouth to gain some kind of control.
If a rider doesn't have an independant seat and is constantly jabbing the horse in the mouth, a snaffle is much kinder than a thin, leverage or twisted style bit - the rider will still ride exactly the same in a harsher bit, but the horse is going to feel the riders uneducated hands even more forcefully.
I've got no problem in seeing a good rider, who has established the basics in the horse, has it travelling light and softly into the contact, moving up to a harsher bit (per say a double bridle in Dressage) in order to refine their aids even more.
But, I do not agree with moving to a harsher bit because you can't ride well enough to work your horse in a snaffle.
lmao. I understand your frustration, however, nearly every horse should be able to perform the basics in a snaffle. Bitting up should be used to refine cues to your horse, not just for extra stop, etc. That said, I'm working on bringing my mare back down into the snaffle at home, because I know without a doubt that if I can get the proper responses in a non-stress situation, those responses will become second nature to her and I will not have to keep 'bitting up' constantly when we ride in more stressful situations.
Now, I know my horse, and I know that when we're out and about, I would do well to have a stronger bit on her. I don't usually have to use it (note the word 'usually' there), but it is there in case her mind wanders off of me and onto something else. What would take all my strength in a snaffle, and still likely not be effective (learned this the hard way) takes no more than a slight twitch of the rein in a stronger bit.
I don't think that stronger bits are evil overall, but I do think that they are misused, and often misunderstood by the people using them. The hard thing about a forum, is that you can't see how people use their hands, and what other aids they use along with the bit to get the desired response. It is nearly always better to go back and refine your basics in a non stress situation with a mild bit (not all horses feel that a single jointed snaffle is mild, btw) than to just keep bitting up because the horse won't listen. The goal of all riders should be to ride their horse as well as possible with the least amount of bit-associated pain possible. To achieve this end, we repeatedly go back to basics with a basic bit.
I agree that it does seem like everyone here wants every horse ridden in a snaffle, but that just is not possible. The disciplines that people ride require specific bits, and individual horses require different bits to get a good response. Knowing the mechanics of how your bit works as well as how to use it, and knowing how your horse responds to various bits should be a better guideline than just 'snaffle only'.
Why? Because most problems are rider error, and it would be supremely unfair to the horse if he was punished for the rider's incompetence by having a big bit shoved in his mouth.
I have no problem with a good rider with truly good hands deciding to use a bit with more "oomph" .... But those riders generally know who they are or are working with a coach who knows, so they don't need to ask on a forum. Generally speaking, of course.
My gelding goes best in a happy mouth two ring gag. I have good hands. However I'm trying my ****edest to get him going just as well in a snaffle because I think it's important.
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CalicoKatt......yay, my frustration made me rant......I just really believe that horses advance just like riders.....some bits even though considered harsh can actually advance a riders skill and advance a horses education as well....if I don't have to worry about my horse charging through a snaffle then I can focus on the task at hand....and some horses just cannot be effectively reschooled in a snaffle....JMHO:-)
what do you need a bit for? you shouldn't need one at all !
Hahaha Spotted.....well yes, in the indoor arena we've been brave and ditched the bridle and freestyled like Stacy Westfall! That's a trust issue! Don't know if I'd want to try that outside though???
That is true Muppetgirl, I can see where you are coming from. There are some cases when yes, a stronger bit is beneficial. Say on a cross country course - often it is safer for both horse and rider to have a 'set of breaks' with a bit more bite. But at home, I am a strong believer that the work should all be trained in a mild snaffle (English... I wouldn't know the first thing about how Western horses are trained).
Even Grand Prix Dressage horses, who are at absolute peak physical fitness and are often very hihgly wired, are generally trained at home in a snaffle bridle.
If the rider is good enough, there should be no need to a harsh bit in training, and a novice rider would do better to spend the money on some good lessons, than a shiny new piece of metal.
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