Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: New Brunswick Canada
Looking back over the video, I have to say that this is way way too broad. It's basically implying that anyone who uses a bit in any way, in any discipline is harming their horse. As a trail rider, we basically pack around on the horse on a loose rein, with the bit loosely fitted, using leg and seat cues to meneuver the horse around or over obstacles. This type of riding is much much different than even riding with light contact, as riding with light contact is much different than rollkur. I bitted my guy up today with a D ring snaffle and left him to pasture while I watched him carry it. While he was a bit fizzled at first (he's only carried a bit maybe three times) after all of ten minutes he was eating, drinking and walking around like there was nothing up at all.
Bits have come a long way for the comfort of the horse. Even "severe" bits are now designed to be comfortable when not engaged. I had a collection of antique bits and most of them truly did resemble torture tools. Bicycle chain wrapped in wire, "bear trap" spoon bits, Mullen mouth bits with jagged teeth filed into them, "stud bits" that were homemade, using anything from 20 gauge snare wire to "frayed" cable between two rings, to an actual spring welded onto two rings. Ouch. Compared to today's bits, I'd say that we have mild enough bits even when fully engaged that pretty much anyone can use them without causing undue damage to the horses mouth. Look at some sprenger bits (which I love) if you apply it to your wrist, foot or even your mouth if you're brave (crazy?) enough, you really can't find a way to pinch, cut or harm yourself.