New horse, Bit or Bitless? - The Horse Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 Old 03-01-2011, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
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Question New horse, Bit or Bitless?

Ok, so my new paint has been given the go ahead by the vet to be ridden. He has healed from his accident(stuck on the fence), and I have been exercising him on the ground (natural horsemanship style). First off, I have only ridden him once, because he got hurt the day after i brought him home. He is very responsive to voice commands and did well the one time i rode him. Anyway, I havn't gotten him a bridle yet. The bridle I used previously is a bitless, but this horse has only been ridden in a snaffle. Should I chance starting out bitless in the arena or order a new bridle and bit? he threw one of his shoes and the farrier is coming out next tuesday, so I was going to ride him after his hooves are done. I tried the bitless on him and he seems to respond to it from the ground, but i wanted more opinions. He has alot more "go" than any horse i've had before lol.

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post #2 of 9 Old 03-01-2011, 06:38 PM
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I would try bitted for starting simply because there are more options and little changes you can make with a bit. Going bitless may limit your options for change. Even more so if you plan on showing. Many rated shows ban certain bitless contraptions.
Personally, I would use a bit to start, and change over if the horse needed it.

"The wise man thinks he knows nothing.
The fool thinks he knows everything."

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post #3 of 9 Old 03-01-2011, 08:38 PM
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I'd go with a bit for now, just to minimize the changes the horse has to get used to.
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post #4 of 9 Old 03-01-2011, 08:45 PM
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In all honesty, I don't see a problem with going bitless if that's all you have now. Since he has never been ridden bitless, I would suggest riding him in a small enclosed space the first couple of times until you figure out exactly how responsive he's going to be. Then, if you choose to, you can go ahead and get him a snaffle and bridle. IMHO, it never hurts to switch things up occasionally.
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post #5 of 9 Old 03-02-2011, 02:40 PM
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^What smrobs said.

...you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. ... Explore. Dream. Discover.”
–Mark Twain
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post #6 of 9 Old 03-12-2011, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
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ok so i tried riding him yesterday...tried bitless and before i could get my other foot in the stirrup he was trotting, and wouldn't stop. the more i pulled the more freaked out he got, i tried letting the reins loose and just saying woah and sitting back..didn't work. finally just jumped off and borrowed my bf's snaffle. he was fine once he had a bit lol. i was hoping he would be like my other horses and do well bitless :( oh well. it may just be the type of bitless i used, it tightend around the muzzle when the reins are pulled. or i guess he just may be too much horse for it. opinions?
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post #7 of 9 Old 03-12-2011, 01:13 PM
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Sounds like he is lacking in some basic training then (or has been ridden bitless before and allowed to run through it). The good news is that a good snaffle bit is fairly inexpensive. I would work on him in the bit and get him more responsive to your voice and seat (not to mention some work on the ground to get him listening to a halter), then you can give it another try later on.
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post #8 of 9 Old 03-12-2011, 01:13 PM
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When I broke in my arab, I did it with A Bosal. He is the "hottest" horse I ever owned. He was great for a while, but then got very competitive with other horses, and the end result was him running away with me when another rider cantered by us. Even one rein stop didint work in that thing, lol. Pretty scary as he was not even heading back home... Just out on a joy-gallop. I kept a bit on him for quite a time. Now that he is an old man I will ride him in an s hack tho. My experience is that some horses are too hot to go bitless
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post #9 of 9 Old 03-12-2011, 02:19 PM
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Here's a different answer. Usually I endorse bitless, because that's how I ride. However, I am going to be using a snaffle bit, and eventually a curb bit, to rein with.

So to your question in the OP- Both.
Work towards being able to control your horse in a rope halter one day, and a bit the next.

Bitless riding and training is different. You cannot expect your horse to just "take" to it. You must work on the ground, lunge, and let your horse learn what is expected of him bitlessly.

It is my opinion, that ANY well-trained horse, unruined by abuse, hard hands or excessive force, with enough time, effort, and knowledge, can be successfully ridden both ways.

If a horse is "uncontrollable" bitlessly, it is not the headgear's fault. It is a rider/training/discomfort problem.
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