Is bitless really better? - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 31 Old 11-24-2009, 03:26 AM
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I think each horse is different--I've ridden horses in bits, and in hackamores. I even rode a horse who couldn't have a bit in his mouth because he had chronically inflamed gums which made him super-sensitive. I ride my gelding, an OTTB, in a hackamore because it was just too much of a fight to get a bit in his mouth. He was very stiff with a bit in his mouth, especially in his head/neck range but with a hackamore he's much more fluid.

But before I tried him in the hackamore, I did give the plain snaffle a pretty honest try.
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post #22 of 31 Old 11-24-2009, 03:38 AM
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Yeah, don't you just love that smrobs? I personally love to see people making arses out of themselves like that(though I dearly pity the poor animals that suffer at their hands).

I too have had my **** chapped many a time by both the "bitless camp" and "bitted camp" and funnily enough, though I rarely bit my horses since I mainly ride trails and am at a point where I don't really need a bit most of the time, by all means I definatley am not against using a bit on a horse, in my opinion unless you are a horse god or something, there is a time that they are a useful and almost necessary training tool.

It really gets me both ways, when "anti- bitless" make a big deal about the "bitless" movement, and the "bitless" riders call "bitted" riders barbaric, its all really childish. I too have seen the same situation with bosal and hackamore alike, "ohh she is much more happy now!" and the horse looks like it is miserable, confused, and terrified. but at the same time i have also been witness to the die hard my horse needs a bit rider who throws a curb into the mouth of a spirited 2 year old because "she/he needs a strong bit (or is hard headed ect.)". Both are cases of ignorant people who can't see logic and/or dont understand horses in my opinion.

Oh yeah, sorry to get off topic a bit(hehe no pun intended) but I looked at that spanish ring bit thing and could anyone tell me how in the heck that goes into a horses mouth? There is stuff at both ends, what goes where? To me that looks crazy...

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post #23 of 31 Old 11-24-2009, 04:09 AM Thread Starter
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^^Thats a good question. I will link a pic of a simpler one at the bottom of this post but the only way I can figure is the part that looks like a large square port goes up into the mouth like a cathedral port and the smooth ring is put around the lower jaw of the horse..............maybe? I can see how that would be very harsh.

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post #24 of 31 Old 11-24-2009, 04:38 AM
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Would you mind clarifying that for me. I wanna learn to do bridleless/halterleless riding. But for now it's a little ways off. I'm gonna spend my money on a hoof trimming dvd for now. I was also thinking it would be better for me to learn foundation work and such before I went to bridleless so it's like four dvd purchases away before I get to it. And them darn dvds are so dang expensive.

I guess I haven't really searched much for info on how to do it, so perhaps I should do some searching too. But I still think I would like to learn foundation work first before going tack free. Nevertheless I would like to hear what you meant when you said, "It isn't something that can't be achieved on a horse that is ridden in a bit.". As I will remember what you say and it will stay with me until I begin learning about going tack free. Cus ultimately that's my goal. To ride tack free.
Sure :]

Firstly - I don't think every hrse can be ridden tackless. It takes a certain amount off malleability, if you get me. My horse happens to be one of those who takes to it.

I use the bit to teach a movement - Stop, steer, rate, etc. Once it is learnt, I refine it back to a seat/leg cue - Gradually phasing out the need for the bit but having the bit there for correction - Which is often needed while phasing out. Once the horse is solid like that, then I can pretty confidently take off my tack and perform the same movements sans tack. It's a constant system of refinement - I haven't done any tackless riding for a little while as I want to refine my stops - He was starting to jut his head out sans bridle - Which is hard to correct without any contact with the head.

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post #25 of 31 Old 11-24-2009, 07:54 AM
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I can see how such an encounter would lead to this thread Smrobs, that's exactly the crap that irritates me too. That spanish ring bit looks scary, I wouldn't even know where to begin....

Good post Honeysuga, I think that's really the problem with the whole bitless/bit thing. People are ignorant of the true effect of what they're putting on their horse's face or mouth. They seem to think that if the horse is "listening" then it's happy without bothering to look at the rest of the horse's body language. Or god-forbid actually RESEARCHING what type of pressure points a peice of equiptment has. Argh.

Glad to hear I'm going about it the right way on the bridleless riding Wild_Spot, that's one of my (many) goals with Soda. Right now I'm working on getting him to respond more to my seat/legs..
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post #26 of 31 Old 11-24-2009, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by smrobs View Post
...And sometimes those bits that are "cruel" are actually very mild in the right hands.
I believe your 'right hands' comment says it all, regardless of the bit or going bitless.

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post #27 of 31 Old 11-24-2009, 08:33 AM
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I remember getting that from people when I used to ride my old Appy.

Now if anybody chastised me on his HARSH bit (not really that harsh, but it's shanked so it may look that way) I'd simply take his bridle and bit off and then continue riding sans bridle/bit/bitless/everything.

Like many have stated here, it's all in the hands of the rider.

I could probably ride Java in a string of barbed wire, but he'd never notice the difference because I rarely, if ever, use my hands. The only time I do is to set up his frame and that doesn't happen every ride.

I say use what works for you. I've had plenty of different horses throughout the years. Some who were better in a hackamore, some who just wouldn't stop without a bit (not that they didn't know how) and some who didn't care either way.


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post #28 of 31 Old 11-24-2009, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Wallaby View Post
I completely agree with you about people who think bits are so harsh and then ride bitless in something that could very possibly be harsher than any bit. Many people who ride bitless seem to be kinda uneducated about the mechanics of the things they put on their horses faces (including bits), which you'd think they should at least know more about bits than "they're evil metal" even if they're going to be staunchly bitless. But there are people who are educated (but generally they have no issues with bits) who ride bitless, so I think it might be a little unfair to lump every person who rides bitless together in the "anti-bit" camp.

I ride Lacey bitless and I like to think that I made the choice in an educated, unbiased manner. It has absolutely nothing to do with my view on bits. I have no issue throwing a bit in her mouth if necessary, I've just discovered that she responds better bitless. She has a better stop, her neckreining is much better and she doesn't get as ****y when I have to get in her face a smidge when she's not listening (but since she does better bitless I usually don't have to get anywhere near her face). She also can jog/trot and canter on a loose rein where she couldn't/wouldn't with a bit (not sure how that works but whatever). Also, Lacey seems to behave better the more I have to trust her and since I'm not completely comfortable bitless yet, I have to trust her a lot and she behaves which is really good for our relationship.
I decided to make the switch when a friend told me that they thought Lacey would be fine bitless and when I started riding her in a halter and discovered that she was really good. I'm scared of those scary looking hackamores so I wanted to find something less scary than that, and something that wouldn't be bad if an uneducated person were to ride in it. I found my "indian hackamore/bosal" on Ebay for $15 which I thought was a pretty good deal for something to try. I wasn't expecting her to like it but she seems to (she'll actually stick her nose into it where she'd never pick up the bit/open her mouth voluntarily for it).

Picture of something like Lacey's shindig-

Here's Lacey wearing it-

I have no issues with bits, I think it depends on the horse. Some horses are just going to go better bitless and others need a bit in their mouths to be optimal.

Sorry if this didn't make any sense...I'm having a rather ADHD morning. haha

Good thread! =)
That is what I use!

Bits aren't cruel and using them really (in the end) depends on the horse.
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post #29 of 31 Old 11-24-2009, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by smrobs View Post
^^Thats a good question. I will link a pic of a simpler one at the bottom of this post but the only way I can figure is the part that looks like a large square port goes up into the mouth like a cathedral port and the smooth ring is put around the lower jaw of the horse..............maybe? I can see how that would be very harsh.

I doubt any horse got a broken jaw from this. Unless your horse was really well broke you would have zero control with this bit. The ring acts as a curb strap. This bit which is a pre-curser to the spades that we see today is a signal bit. It doesn't work off of leverage so much as it signals him in his mouth and on the bottom of his jaw. While I'm sure that a person could abuse this bit a good horseman could make a good horse really shine with this bit.

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post #30 of 31 Old 11-24-2009, 07:27 PM
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Bits are like Guns. Either will hurt you in the right hands. The bit is not the harsh part it is the riders hands. My young horses are started in a twisted snaffle. They move up as they get light and responsive. TO finally they are being ridden and showing in a high port bit.

The idea is not to be harsh or MAKE the horse work or correct anything. It is to make and keep the horse light and responsive. The less movement of your hands is needed to cue the horse. Now in the wrong hands these bits can be very very harsh. However if the right hands it can make a horse responsive to just a slight movement of your hand.

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