Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
My experience with curbs has been in western riding, so I'll get off this thread after sharing a thought for ecasey to think about and watch:
As an inadequate rider on a very spooky horse, I switched to a curb to give me more control. That will be 2 years ago this December. However, over the last 2 years, I've discovered a paradox:
Because I have more control with the bit, I use the bit less for control. It took having more control for stopping or slowing with the bit to teach both of us, rider AND horse, to use the bit for communication instead of control.
When faced with a 'scary' situation, both of us know she can be stopped with the curb. Because of that, we've been able to face more of those situations with slack in the reins and freedom for my horse. She has learned some confidence in herself because I act confident in her. And by her making more reasonable choices with a slack rein, I've started to actually trust her more.
The bit became 'harsher', but both of us have become softer.
I wonder if that isn't what ecasy's instructor is thinking of - using a bit with more control so neither pony nor rider will need to use the bit for control. If so, then the daughter may learn more from the change in bits than the horse does, to the benefit of both.
When I ride Mia now, I'm more likely to grab her newest bit, a single joint O-ring snaffle, than the Billy Allen curb. But using the curb changed us both enough that the Billy Allen is no longer the automatic "right bit" for either of us.
Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"