The kindest bit? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 16 Old 05-08-2015, 10:45 AM
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It is essentially a heavy mullen bit:



The center roller puts more pressure against the tongue and will rub against the tongue if the bit is moved sideways in the mouth. If a horse wants to resist a snaffle, that is an easy one to resist - and horses are best if they never learn to resist a bit. I bought one and used it for some time because it is so similar to a Billy Allen curb in terms of the mouthpiece. But because it is a snaffle and not a curb, its FUNCTION inside the mouth is very different, and its weight is balanced differently in the mouth.

If someone wanted to use a bit like that, the Mylar variation might work better with more tongue relief and less bulk:



As a curb bit, I love the design:



For a snaffle, I think it borders on worthless - too bulky, too heavy, rubs the tongue and offers marginal control. For a generic, mild but well-accepted starting point, I'd strongly recommend this instead:



J.P. Copper Oval Link Hunter Dee Bit - Quality Tack at Outlet Prices - VTO Saddlery

It is half the price of the bit I bought, smoother on the tongue, offers more room for the tongue, is not likely to have a nutcracker effect (rare anyways), lighter in the mouth but more effective at giving cues. I bought the other bit with high hopes, and used it longer than I ought to have because I wanted it to work better than it actually did. I would never buy another one or recommend it. That is just my opinion, but it is based on using one around 25-30 rides and becoming unhappy with the results over time. The first 5-10 rides went fine, but I think my horse's response went downhill as I used it longer. YMMV.
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post #12 of 16 Old 05-08-2015, 10:56 AM
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At this point, I think you're arguing semantics, bsms xD

In regards to the question, I think you've got some solid answers. My own opinion is that a rider with soft, aware hands can ride a horse in any bit. I ride my horse in a gag and he's happy as a clam.

An eggbutt snaffle may be a good, simple place to start--maybe chat with your trainer? :)

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post #13 of 16 Old 05-08-2015, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by beau159 View Post
The bit is an arbitrary piece of metal. Honestly has nothing to do with how "kind" it is designed,

If this were true there would only be one kind of bit. There are different kinds of bits because hands are NOT everything.
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post #14 of 16 Old 05-08-2015, 07:47 PM
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^No, but they're a HUGE factor. I think we can all agree that a snaffle in someone with harsh hands is more "cruel" than a shank.

The same could be said of saddles--there are different types because they do different things, but ultimately you are riding the horse and not the saddle.
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post #15 of 16 Old 05-11-2015, 09:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ponyboy View Post
If this were true there would only be one kind of bit. There are different kinds of bits because hands are NOT everything.
Yes they are.

If you give this bit to two people (one who is a beginner rider and one who is extremely advanced and knows how to use it), the bit will be harsh in the beginner's hands and it will be soft in the advanced person's hands. Of course, assuming you put them on the same horse who is trained properly to carry this type of bit.





So once again, the bit itself really doesn't have much to do with it. It can be a very, very mild bit if it is used properly on a correctly trained horse. Or it can be an absolute disaster if someone tries to use it without understanding it.

Maybe to clarify even farther, I should say:
"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 .... and the amount of correct TRAINING the horse has received. "

The bit is only a tool. It just depends on how you use that tool.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ponyboy View Post
If this were true there would only be one kind of bit. There are different kinds of bits because hands are NOT everything.
There are different kinds of bits because they are different tools that do different things. If that tool is used wrong, there are bits (like the one I posted above) that will be more harsh. However, if a bit is used properly .... then what's harsh about it? If your hands are soft, and the horse is soft, what why would you call that same bit harsh when you are achieving softness?

I am going to select a barrel racing bits based on my horse's preferances (horses have likes and dislikes too) and how I can best send a signal with that tool for what I want to accomplish. Just like I select a different bit for reining and for western pleasure, again, to accomplish the advanced maneuvars I want to achieve with my horse with a certain tool, based on their skill level.

But as an example, I would never select a snaffle bit because I have bad hands. If that were the case, I'd need to work on improving my hands and not simply selecting a bit that's going to let me jerk around on my horse.

As I said above, I've seen many a snaffle being HARSH with someone yanking on their horse and I've seen many a high port curb bit being SOFT with someone with good hands and a horse with good training. The piece of metal in their mouth does not dictate if the bit is harsh or soft. The hands behind the reins do so long as the correct training level of the horse matches that bit.
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post #16 of 16 Old 05-11-2015, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beau159 View Post
If you give this bit to two people (one who is a beginner rider and one who is extremely advanced and knows how to use it), the bit will be harsh in the beginner's hands and it will be soft in the advanced person's hands. Of course, assuming you put them on the same horse who is trained properly to carry this type of bit.
I think the key here is that both the horse and the rider have to be properly trained to use any bit properly, and some bits have a lower bar to entry than others.

A spade bit is never the first bit a horse carries, and should never be the first bit a new rider uses because it requires a higher level of training for both parties. Saying that a spade bit is as kind as a smooth snaffle is kind of like saying that the distance doesn't make a difference in the difficulty between a marathon and a 5k run.

The kindest bit is always the one the horse responds to best, and that may be different depending on the riding style of the person who's holding the reins (and not necessarily because of bad hands). The real question is if you got a new horse, what bit would you start with to see what they liked? Me, I'd go with a smooth snaffle- a KK Ultra or a Myler comfort snaffle are my top picks, but that doesn't mean that I'd actually end up with either or those if the horse didn't go well in it or it didn't suit my end goals in terms of riding style.
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