Going Bitless - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 40 Old 02-07-2015, 11:06 AM
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I'd probably not wince when I hear the word bitless if I had just once seen a rider who could truly control their horse using them.
I trail ride with a club where 3 people use bitless bridles and swear by them. The sad fact is that none of these people are in control, their horses are constantly dragging them off into the grassy areas, diving for the grass and sometimes almost pulling the riders off. Wandering off the trail or taking off down the trail way too fast, totally out of control.
In the meantime, the rest of us on the trail are aggravated, waiting for the situation to stop or laughing at their ignorance.
Yes, I occasionally ride my horses with just a halter and lead, bareback but just for a fun few minutes and they do fairly well. But I would never take them off the property that way.
From what I have witnessed, I've ended up with no respect for people who swear by bitless bridles and the other poster is right about reducing the value of a horse for sale-I wouldn't even look at a supposedly trained horse that had only been riding bitless unless I was ready to retrain them with a bit.
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post #12 of 40 Old 02-07-2015, 11:21 AM
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I'm seriously considering buying a nice leather sidepull for Mia. But the truth is that you will ALWAYS be able to communicate more information and more precisely with a bit than bitless. And if your horse decides to take control, you will always have a better chance of regaining control using a bit than without.

If you use a curb bit properly, on a horse who is trained for it, it is every bit as gentle as any bitless option.

If you want to go bitless because it can be a fun way of doing things with a horse who knows what is going on and who won't take advantage of it - great! Like I said, I'm seriously considering getting a $150 one for Mia.

But Mia was started in a sidepull, and back then she had no business being in one! She was a spooky, very reactive mare, and a sidepull was not the answer. A snaffle was not the answer. A curb bit turned out to be the tool that convinced her to stand still when scared - and that was the beginning of a long process of teaching her that the world is not as scary as she believed it to be. After a couple of years in a curb, and increasing time in a snaffle, I may go bitless with her for fun...but I'm not going to tell myself I'm being "gentler" with her that way.

And I will always accept that a bit will allow greater communication with my horse - a more sensitive telegraph, if you will.

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #13 of 40 Old 02-07-2015, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chasin Ponies View Post
I'd probably not wince when I hear the word bitless if I had just once seen a rider who could truly control their horse using them.
Ever seen riders who could not control their horses WITH a bit? Training of the horse and ability of the rider is the same for both riding with and without a bit. I would not paint all bitless riders with the same brush. Many, many people pleasure ride and compete bitless.
Just my humble opinion.

If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it's because your tactics suck. ~ Marine 1SGT J. Reifinger
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post #14 of 40 Old 02-07-2015, 03:21 PM
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If your horse goes well bit less then there is not much reason not to, but chomping can mean three things, Pain, Board, or intelligence.....the last one I'm not 100% sure on, but a lot of people I know swear by it.
Our Standardbred gelding has always chomped on the bit, there is nothing wrong with him, he is in no pain. In his case I think it was learnt behaviour...from when he was a trotter....but he is also the smartest horse we got.....but I hardly think that an intelligent horse would chomp a bit!
Our pony chomps the bit...in her case it's from boardrem and having to be ridden.

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post #15 of 40 Old 02-07-2015, 04:06 PM
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I have to bristle at the broad brush. I think it's very dependent on animal/human. And I have to agree whole-heartedly about seeing LOTS of bitted horses out of control.

Speaking for only myself and my mare, she is superb in a bosal(true rawhide bosal and hanger with mecate). She responds very finitely, as a well-trained horse should. She excels at that particular sensation, and it works for her face, and her intelligence.

I have heard the same of other horses, with other options: indian hackamore, chin slip, cross jaw, etc.

I firmly believe that if you go bitless, it is as important to find the perfect style for your horse, as it is to shop for the perfect bit.

I've tried multiple things, but a bosal is what gives *me* control, and *her* succinct messages. Each horse and rider is different.

I do not believe that riding in a halter = bitless. It's riding in a halter. It is what it is. Most riders can do it, with most horses. Yet it's not exactly clear and/or trustworthy. It is just a thing that a trained horse *can* do. But only a superbly trained horse could truly and safely excel in only a halter.
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post #16 of 40 Old 02-07-2015, 04:52 PM
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Cool. Yea I go bitless sometimes! You can do it!
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post #17 of 40 Old 02-07-2015, 05:34 PM
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I think a lot of people who've never actually ridden a horse bitless for any length of time and who haven't trained a horse to ride bitless, have some very strong opinions about how bitless riding is never as good as riding with a bit.

Fact is, unless you've ridden bitless, trained bitless, been on a well-trained bitless horse, you don't know for sure what that kind of horse is capable of. Since I have and do, I can say with absolute certainty that my horse can be ridden anywhere, on property or off with that bitless bridle, she stops and turns on a dime, and probably because she doesn't have a bit in her mouth, she's become very sensitive to my seat and leg cues. Horses at the same club in bits are not nearly as responsive as she is.

For some people, the bit is a crutch. Not everyone, obviously, but for some, yes. If someone says a horse can't be well-trained, responsive, and trustworthy without a bit, I would have to respectfully say that they haven't met my horse, so I can understand why they might feel that way ... but they're wrong. :)

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post #18 of 40 Old 02-07-2015, 07:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chasin Ponies View Post
I'd probably not wince when I hear the word bitless if I had just once seen a rider who could truly control their horse using them.
I trail ride with a club where 3 people use bitless bridles and swear by them. The sad fact is that none of these people are in control, their horses are constantly dragging them off into the grassy areas, diving for the grass and sometimes almost pulling the riders off. Wandering off the trail or taking off down the trail way too fast, totally out of control.
In the meantime, the rest of us on the trail are aggravated, waiting for the situation to stop or laughing at their ignorance.
Yes, I occasionally ride my horses with just a halter and lead, bareback but just for a fun few minutes and they do fairly well. But I would never take them off the property that way.
From what I have witnessed, I've ended up with no respect for people who swear by bitless bridles and the other poster is right about reducing the value of a horse for sale-I wouldn't even look at a supposedly trained horse that had only been riding bitless unless I was ready to retrain them with a bit.
Have you seen these 3 people ride with bitted bridles - did they even have any more control of their horses with bits? I would guess no by the sounds of it - eating while riding or being out of control sounds more like poor riding/training to be honest.
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post #19 of 40 Old 02-07-2015, 08:15 PM
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I ride Gilbert in a "Skip's Bitless Bridle", or a rope halter sometimes. He is very responsive to my seat and leg cues. When I ride him in a snaffle or curb bit, I always ride with loose reins. He responds good with or without a bit.

I wouldn't try that with my green broke appy although he moves off the lightest touch. Once I get more miles under his feet, I'm trying bitless on him.
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post #20 of 40 Old 02-07-2015, 08:34 PM
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There is no reason that your average Joe can't have just as much control bitless as they do with a bit. Once a horse starts getting really broke, a bit can offer more subtle communication, however I can still do everything in my sidepull that I can in a snaffle or curb on a broke horse.

I start every horse I train bitless in a side pull ( or a rope halter if my side pull is too small) and I don't move to a bit for at least a couple of weeks. I do not ground drive in a snaffle, or do any of my groundwork in one. However, that horse has had hours of learning how to respond to pressure on their nose. Therefore, my horses are pretty darn broke in the face before I ever swing a leg over. I feel much more secure on a new horse in just a side pull than I do in a snaffle. I do move to a snaffle after a couple of weeks but only after I have my basics established.
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