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trail riding with no bit?

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  • She rides with a very cruel bit
  • She liked to make the horse nervous with her cruel spurs

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    02-17-2013, 11:26 PM
  #31
Weanling
I once had a very nervous Quarter Horse, who acted exactly like you described. We got a curb bit with a "cricket" in it that the horse could play with on her tongue. A cricket is a copper rowel-like piece fitted into the bit that the horse can spin with its tongue. It settled her right down. Best trail horse I ever had. I rarely saw animals on the trail, though, because she kept that cricket going all the time and you could hear it for quite a ways. She loved that bit, and she was as calm as the morning when she was wearing it.
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    02-18-2013, 11:06 AM
  #32
Started
I agree with Darrin a couple of replys up here. Too often people will get a new or green horse and think they can jump on and get right out and about. It is "unwise" to first not be familiar with the horse or know how the horse will respond to equipment.
Personally, I like bitless. I have a green mare. I use a snaffle right now but I look forward to the day when we can go bitless but that time is down the road a ways.
Do the homework, stay safe and enjoy the ride.
     
    02-18-2013, 01:53 PM
  #33
Weanling
Question re the s-hack, or any other type of bitless...

My horse can be heavy on the hands if you don't have enough hardware. I quickly moved from medium French link full cheek to thin snaffle o-ring to medium port medium shank and a kimberwick for our English work. He will luxate my bad shoulder on lesser bits but is fingertip light on the heavier gear.

My question is, in anyone's experience, has a horse this heavy ever been a good candidate for bitless?

My trainer lightened him up with a twisted snaffle but as soon as you revert back to something gentler, he reverts to heavy.

He is the same with leg aids, fyi. Big spurs = lightest of touches. No spurs = flapping like a headless chicken to NO response.
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    02-18-2013, 02:05 PM
  #34
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by phantomhorse13    
For us, it allows the horses to eat and drink freely. Not to say that horses wearing bits can't drink or eat, but seems a lot less hassle to not have to chew around a bit (and certainly much better for my lazy self to not have a gross bit to clean after the ride).

Also on days like today (very cold), not having to warm up a bit before asking the horse to take it is pretty convenient too.
yep definitely an endurance rider thing that's for sure - and they are light - not so much hardware on the face like other hacks.
     
    02-18-2013, 02:38 PM
  #35
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by hemms    
Question re the s-hack, or any other type of bitless...

My horse can be heavy on the hands if you don't have enough hardware. I quickly moved from medium French link full cheek to thin snaffle o-ring to medium port medium shank and a kimberwick for our English work. He will luxate my bad shoulder on lesser bits but is fingertip light on the heavier gear.

My question is, in anyone's experience, has a horse this heavy ever been a good candidate for bitless?

My trainer lightened him up with a twisted snaffle but as soon as you revert back to something gentler, he reverts to heavy.

He is the same with leg aids, fyi. Big spurs = lightest of touches. No spurs = flapping like a headless chicken to NO response.
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Good Grief I have to suggest that if your trainer had to 'lighten' a horse by using a twisted snaffle then they are not the sort of trainer you would want within a hundred miles of a horse. Same deal with the use of spurs. A horse can feel a fly land on him so IMHO no horse ever needed spurs.

It shouldn't matter whether you ride with a bit or not to how your horse goes. Personally I ride my horses in a cross under bridle (no bit). This included a huge Tb who was very forward moving and loved to move out and my little Ausie stock horse, (nick named the Pocket Rocket on the CTR circuit).
They both went/go fabulously well in this bridle (I no longer have the big chap - hence the past tense)
They both went beautifully in a Myler snaffle as well but I like the bitless approach because, as someone mentioned for the long ride, I like the idea that my horse can easily snatch and graze as we go.
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    02-18-2013, 04:34 PM
  #36
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Merlot    
Good Grief I have to suggest that if your trainer had to 'lighten' a horse by using a twisted snaffle then they are not the sort of trainer you would want within a hundred miles of a horse. Same deal with the use of spurs. A horse can feel a fly land on him so IMHO no horse ever needed spurs.

It shouldn't matter whether you ride with a bit or not to how your horse goes. Personally I ride my horses in a cross under bridle (no bit). This included a huge Tb who was very forward moving and loved to move out and my little Ausie stock horse, (nick named the Pocket Rocket on the CTR circuit).
They both went/go fabulously well in this bridle (I no longer have the big chap - hence the past tense)
They both went beautifully in a Myler snaffle as well but I like the bitless approach because, as someone mentioned for the long ride, I like the idea that my horse can easily snatch and graze as we go.
Opposing view:

If your horse is "fingertip light" with the "heavier gear", that's what you ought to be using. If he is light on that gear it will not be uncomfortable for him. He obviously knows what he can get away with, and when. You may be able to transition back to "lighter" gear once you have a handle on him and both of you have your communication issues sorted out.

Contrary to some opinions, a properly adjusted bit in the horse's mouth is not uncomfortable and the horse can easily eat around it. The bit only gets uncomfortable when the horse resists it, regardless of how aggressive the bit may appear. When a horse resists the bit, it should cause some discomfort. If the horse's mouth has become so hard that it is no longer responsive to the bit, a twisted wire snaffle will remind him of his manners fairly quickly, causing him to resist less, and thereby helping soften his mouth once again. Once the horse is responsive to the harsher bit, he can be transitioned back to the less aggressive bit.

Many trainers will "lighten-up" a horse who is heavy on the bit by going to a thinner snaffle or a twisted wire snaffle. There is nothing wrong in that. Your horse needs it.

I am a proponent of spurs for training. I find horses respond quicker, more eagerly, and are more willing and obedient when I train with spurs. They learn faster. This eventually translates into a submissive, obedient, safe, and happy horse, which comes with the added benefit making a happy rider. I don't always ride with them, but I train with them.

Just because you wear spurs doesn't mean you are cruel with them, and the fact that you use an aggressive bit doesn't mean you are causing injury to the horse. Someone, at some point, must teach your horse discipline. That involves causing some level of discomfort for disobedience. If you can ride without doing that, then someone else has done it for you and you can thank your trainer...though he/she may be more than a hundred miles away.
     
    02-18-2013, 04:42 PM
  #37
Yearling
I agree with you in theory Thenrie, but in my experience there are very few riders who ride well enough to be riding a horse wearing or using these types of 'hardwear'.
I have seen too many horses with sores on their sides from spurs and horses with the roofs of their mouths so bruised they cannot tolerate any bit.
     
    02-18-2013, 04:59 PM
  #38
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Merlot    
I agree with you in theory Thenrie, but in my experience there are very few riders who ride well enough to be riding a horse wearing or using these types of 'hardwear'.
I have seen too many horses with sores on their sides from spurs and horses with the roofs of their mouths so bruised they cannot tolerate any bit.
Bruised mouths and sores from spurs?
Those people should take up another sport.............
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    02-18-2013, 05:01 PM
  #39
Yearling
I find this discussion about bit vs bitless very interesting because I have gone in the opposite direction. When I got my horse, she was terrible about bridling, setting back and rearing at the mere sight of a bridle. But, she was very responsive to a halter. I started with a rope halter, then went softer with a flat halter. When she settled down and became more trusting, I put her back in a bridle because I wanted finer communication. She has a French link snaffle right now, but I think she is ready for a shank bit so I can ride one handed. I am interested in a shank with a cricket because she chomps on hr bit when she is bored, eager or anxious. I think it will enhance our communication. And my horse isn't afraid of her bridle anymore. She will pu her head in the head stall and reach her open mouth for the bit!
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    02-19-2013, 01:25 AM
  #40
Foal
Why not? I once saw some ladies riding by and had my mare in her halter and lead. I *really* wanted to catch up to them so I just tied the lead around hopped on and took off. Bareback, running up hill.
My mare could be spooky sometimes. She liked to let her reactive Arab side take over sometimes. But she normally would just spook in place. Actually, Breezy looked a lot like Wallaby's mare!

Danielle
     

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