The kindest bit? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 05-07-2015, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
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Smile The kindest bit?

Not looking for anything in particular at the moment, but just curious of peoples opinion on what is the 'kindest' bit for a horse and why-- or bitless bridle also!
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post #2 of 16 Old 05-07-2015, 12:50 AM
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The kindest bit is the one that particular horse responds to with the lightest amount of pressure, whichever type that may be.
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post #3 of 16 Old 05-07-2015, 12:53 AM
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I agree that it depends on the hrose. if you wanted to go by a broad generalization, a bit something like this:
is a pretty innocuous bit.
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post #4 of 16 Old 05-07-2015, 07:14 AM
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A horse is taught to respond to a bit with training through pressure and release. If this is done correctly and the rider has a good feel most any bit can be used in a manner that is not severe on the horse’s mouth. However in the wrong hands the a bit that is considered mild can be used as a weapon.

When selecting a bit from my tack room the type is based on the horses level of education. A green horse will most always be schooled in a direct rein device with a one to one ratio “snaffle bit or traditional hackamore”. They will continue mid level education in the traditional hackamore usually with a ” or 5/8” bosal, but I may also go back to the snaffle if I think it might need to re visit areas of earlier training. Once a horse is responsive to my seat and legs and is far enough along that one handed riding “neck reining” is progressing then I might put them in the two rein and allow the horse to carry signal bit under a 3/8” bosal to refine them for the transition to being ridden straight up in the bridle. This is all done over an extended period of time to create a horse that responds to a light signal so that the bit used is really a secondary part of my communication with them.

With all that said my tool of choice is the traditional hackamore and I often go back to this on my finished bridle horse if he has had time off from being under saddle. It is a versital tool and could be used along with nothing else from start to finish on a horse if one wanted if one wanted. The only reason I used snaffle bits is for clients that need the bit for their own comfort levels or for horses that will be moving to a show atmosphere. Seldom do my personal horses see this stage of training.

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post #5 of 16 Old 05-07-2015, 09:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Universicorn View Post
Not looking for anything in particular at the moment, but just curious of peoples opinion on what is the 'kindest' bit for a horse and why-- or bitless bridle also!
The bit is an arbitrary piece of metal. Honestly has nothing to do with how "kind" it is designed, because ultimately the HANDS that are holding the reins attached to it are going to dictate how "kind" the bit is going to be in their mouth.

I've seen people with good light hands make a bit like this very kind, because they have to move no more than 1/4" to get a response from their horse:




And I've seen people jerk and yank and pull on a horse's mouth in a snaffle.


So really, which bit is more "kind"? Depends on the hands.

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post #6 of 16 Old 05-07-2015, 10:00 AM
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The kindest "bit" is your hands. Plain and simple. Good hands make a good bit; bad hands make a disaster.
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post #7 of 16 Old 05-07-2015, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
I agree that it depends on the horse. if you wanted to go by a broad generalization, a bit something like this:
is a pretty innocuous bit.
I own and sometimes use that bit. In truth, my mare does OK in it...but she does better in either a Billy Allen curb (the same bit only in a curb) or a Waterford or a single joint snaffle. Yet many folks claim a curb bit is cruel and uses pain to intimidate a horse, that Waterford bits do the same and that single joint snaffles poke the horse's mouth (they don't, according to Hillary Clayton).

A double joint snaffle transfers more pressure to the tongue. A single joint puts more pressure on the bars. Some designs offer tongue relief. Some do not. A thicker mouthpiece puts any pressure over a larger area, but also takes up more space in the horse's mouth. My horse, as best as I can figure it, prefers pressure on the tongue with curb bits but pressure on the bars with snaffles. She tends to prefer thinner mouthpieces, except the Waterford is kind of bulky and she seems to like it. So...what bit would be the "kindest bit" for her? Of all the bits I've tried, so far she seems to prefer the Billy Allen curb bit to anything else, although she usually will behave well enough in almost any bit (now).
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post #8 of 16 Old 05-07-2015, 12:11 PM
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bsms,

the reason I posted that as a possible generally mild bit( not to ALL horses, but to a lot) is that it has the barrel mouthpiece, so does not collapse as much as a single, but is not as pliable as a double or Waterford, uses some straight bar in the rings for side pressure, has decent sized rings for the reins to move around.

it's a bit of a jack of all trades bit, and in and of itself, pretty mild. of course, it's the hands that hold the bit that matter, but the OP was curious about a general type that is mild, and to my mind, that is it.
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post #9 of 16 Old 05-07-2015, 12:36 PM
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It won't collapse, but it will have more pressure on the tongue than some other designs. And a single joint snaffle won't poke the roof of the mouth and won't have the 'nutcracker effect' unless it is pulled back while the horse's nose is stuck out. But a double joint snaffle, if pulled back when the horse's nose is stuck out, put a LOT of pressure on the tongue, so is it any kinder?



Having owned and used the bit in your picture, it is a heavy bit. My horse seems to get tired of carrying it in a way she doesn't with a Waterford, which some folks claim is a harsher design. Yet she'll carry the Billy Allen curb that is about the same size...but it balances differently with the reins.

That is my point: there ARE NO RULES. My horse seems happier in the Waterford, or a thin single joint snaffle. Another horse might love that one and hate the Waterford. And Mia seems happier in the curb than in the snaffle, although I've had quite a few Internet posters tell me curb bits are abusive. Happily, Mia can't read the Internet.

Asking for the kindest bit is like asking for the best flavor of ice cream...it depends.
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post #10 of 16 Old 05-08-2015, 01:29 AM
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lets say you did not know where to start in training, did not know a lot about bits, and did not know your horse's preferences, suffice it to say that the bit I put up there would be , IMO, a very good first choice. it is probably acceptable to a lot of horses.
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