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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just thought I should post this.

 

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I read and watched. :)

While I agree on a lot of the points, such as nosebands should not be used to clamp the mouth shut, I can't help but think it's all just a commercial for Dr. Cook's bitless bridles!

Maybe it's because I learned to ride before the whole natural horsemanship/ bitless thing became popular, but I have no problem with bits used with sensitive hands. But certainly if your horse goes good bitless, go for it! If you horse goes good in a bit, that is great too!

I try to have very sensitive hands. Am I perfect, no, but I really try to have a light touch on the bridle and I ride with very little contact. If the horse sneezes or trips, I usually loose my reins, that is how light I am holding them. I have even been known to ride with things (such as mechanical hackamores and curbs and tom thumb/ argentine snaffle type bits) that people on this board seem to hate. But I have good luck with them, and I think my horses are pretty content. If a horse isn't content, then I am a BIG BELIEVER in changing your bitting (or bitless) arrangements until you find what your horse goes well in. I have a whole box of bits and hackamores of different types and I actually enjoy trying different things until I find the "perfect" bit for the horse I am riding.

So yeah, if your horse is gapping at mouth, then please try out different bits, hackamores, Dr. Cook or whatever, to find out what your horse is comfortable with. Don't just clamp his jaw shut. I agree with that. But do I think there is a fundamental problem with using bits? No, I've actually had really good luck with them. :)

If I wanted to, I could ride my horses in their halters, the mildest snaffle I could find, or whatever. The problem I run into is that I want respect and finesse. I notice that if I ride in the absolute mildest head gear I can find (say a halter or regular snaffle), then the horse dives for grass, ignores my finer cues, etc. They just seem to loose respect for the head gear. If I move my headgear up just a notch in the control department, then they respect it more and I actually have to use it less. So sometimes I think the trade off is worth it in that you actually have to use the bit or headgear less, because they respect it. If they don't respect it, then I have to nag on them, such as if they dive for grass, want to go faster than I want, etc. and I just prefer not to have to nit pick them.

So I think there is a fine line between respect and the "perfect" bit for the horse, and overbitting or underbitting the horse. Sure, you can ride in almost anything if you want to, but to get close to optimal results without overbitting or underbitting, takes a little experimentation.

Sorry for the ramble. I like talking tack. :mrgreen:
 

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I ride in a NH halter and lead and my horse still runs around with his mouth wide open when he's feeling evasive. If it's handled properly a bit wont hurt. If a NH halter or a bitless bridle is handled incorrectly it will hurt. I strongly believe that it's the hands that hold the reins that make all the difference.
 

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Not using a bit doesn't make someone 'better' or 'kinder' than someone who does.

The bitless bridles can be cruel in the wrong hands, because they use pressure points on the poll and under the jaw for control. They're certainly not all sweetness and light, regardless of what the proponents of these bridles tell you.

ANY bit can be harsh in the wrong hands, as can a bitless bridle. If you don't have a clue what you're doing, instead of going bitless, I recommend advanced training for yourself in order to learn to stay off the horse's mouth.

Like crops, spurs, and whips, bits are meant to be communication devices, not something for torture. If you're riding correctly and using these tools as they're intended, your horse should be comfortable and happy.

It's the people who use these tools incorrectly that are hurting their animals. A harsher bit should never be used in lieu of advanced training for both the horse and rider.

Once you've learned to ride properly, if you prefer a bitless bridle, that's your choice.
 

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If that video was even the least bit accurate then no horse would be ridden without gaping its mouth. Every horse I own can be ridden without a gaping mouth.
 

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A bit is a communication tool; and like any communication tool, it can get abused. A bit is only as harsh as the hands behind it.

Very true. Any bit - snaffle, spade, kimberwick, mullon, even a simple halter or neck rope is abusive depending on the hand thats using it.

A stronger bit won't teach your horse how to stop correctly. It will only **** it off more.

Most people don't understand what the powers of 'releasing' can do on your horse to teach it things. This includes stopping.

Bits are communication devices.... they are not ment to be abusive. Look at how the vaqueros teach their horse how to take their huge bits.


Their horses are soft and supple. Not ****ed and tossing heads left and right.
 

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I love those videos that make it out that everyone who puts a bit in their horse's mouth is one stressful event from a chronic animal abuser... My Name is Scoutrider and I Ride in a Single Joint Eggbutt Snaffle! :lol:

Seriously, I agree 1000% that no matter what is on/in the horse's face, it's the person holding the reins that decides whether it hurts or not.

@ Fluffy pony: I love watching vaquero riding! The time and patience that the style puts into developing and maintaining a good mouth on a horse astounds me every time I see it. Just goes to show, a bit can look heinous, but if you never touch it wrong, look what finesse can result. My hands could never be good enough to correctly ride a spade bit, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for those who can. :)
 

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Very true. Any bit - snaffle, spade, kimberwick, mullon, even a simple halter or neck rope is abusive depending on the hand thats using it.

A stronger bit won't teach your horse how to stop correctly. It will only **** it off more.

Most people don't understand what the powers of 'releasing' can do on your horse to teach it things. This includes stopping.

Bits are communication devices.... they are not ment to be abusive. Look at how the vaqueros teach their horse how to take their huge bits.

YouTube - Californio, Buckaroo, Vaquero - Art of the Traditional Vaquero Two Rein video

Their horses are soft and supple. Not ****ed and tossing heads left and right.

Nice video, I just hope people don't go out and buy these bits and try to use it based off a video.

As for the OP, some of the information was true, but they seemed to generalize bits and horse mouths. Horses have different sized mouths, and one bit in one horse's mouth creates pain while in another it is comfortable.
 

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I think with todays advances with training, understanding horses, and so many option to learn other training methods, then why must we use bits? If your horse will not respond to you with out the use of a "tool" then maybe you need to do more work with it?

I have worked in the horse industry breaking mustangs for guiding then turning them into dude horses and I used bits, never a whip or spur. And tool make up for the time not spent! Bits and "tools" do have a place in the horse industry, when you have to get the job done in a short period of time. And yes these "tools" were useful, and totally have a place for the job I was doing.

How ever, with my new horse a 7yr old (well broke.. not right broke) paint with a history of "issues", and a really bad attitude... part of the reason he has come to me, he is just to much work for his last owners (3 or more). I plan to never use a bit on him, and often not even a halter. But I am not in a rush, I have all the time in the world to build a relationship of trust and leadership. I dont planing on getting on his back for at least a few months, I have to start fresh with him and build a foundation.

Tools are for getting a job done right and right now, horses as a hobby is not something that should be rushed, take the time to do it right and you wont need the tools.
 

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So how far can or will you try to take it? Like Alec in The Black Stallion with no tack of any kind when he rides on the beach? (my favorite movie by the way)

But I don't ever expect to ride bridleless on the trail, if for no other reason than he will stop to eat grass where ever he wants, or take off for home whenever he wants. :lol:

If you can do it, great, but that is not everyone's holy grail. My holy grail is the perfect trail horse, but he need not be bitless or bridleless.

My old Arabian I could ride with just a rope around his neck. And if a horse neck reins, that is actually pretty easy to aspire to. But I have never even tried it on my current trail horses. I just don't have the desire to do it. Maybe if I had an arena it would be something to play with, but I would never actually go anywhere without at least a halter on my horse.

Even a dog needs a leash to be safe. Sure he should come and heel at your side, but all it takes is once for him to get killed out in traffic. A 1000 lb. horse that doesn't listen to you, even just once, has the potential to do a lot more damage if it gets loose than a dog. If you don't fear for your own safety, at least consider what might happen to your horse if he gets loose. Unless you just always plan to ride in an enclosed space, in which case I guess there won't be much risk to the horse. But I want to ride where there are no fences. :D

One time I rode my old Paint gelding over to a neighbor's house in just a halter. I was just being lazy, but they were all impressed. I honestly don't know why, because basically any horse you should be able to ride in a halter, right? Just not with as much finesse and control as a bit or other bridle arrangement. But I really don't think riding a horse in a halter is a big deal.

And riding a horse without any kind of head gear, outside an arena anyway, is well, kind of naive? Let us know how that works out, because I would be really impressed if it did!
 

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I think with todays advances with training, understanding horses, and so many option to learn other training methods, then why must we use bits? If your horse will not respond to you with out the use of a "tool" then maybe you need to do more work with it?
trailhorserider summed it up pretty much. Horses are still prey animals. Their instinct is to run. Any dead broke horse is still a horse, they will do unpredictable things and spook. A horse is a horse, not a car hehe.

If you can ride on the trail with a neck rope great! But again like trailhorserider said.... horses are still horses ;-). It is unsafe no matter how broke a horse is.

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Kinda off topic but here is another example of what I think happens to horses when no bits are applied. This is a very extreme side of what becomes of your horse's attitude sorta thing...

There is a dude over in Russia named Alexander Nevorov. Here is his website. http://www.hauteecole.ru/en/nevzorov_haute_ecole.php?sid=0&id=85.

He has a 'school' by the name of Nevzorov Haute Ecole. About four years ago it was focused on riding high school elements with no bit or saddle.
Here is a video showing where he was at that point.

Don't get me wrong. Hey Alexander thats great! But I can see some attitude problems in your horses a bit in your clips.

He focuses not only on riding without tack. But he souly believes the horse is the teacher. But this dude is a little extreme. He goes all the way to the point of not laying a hand on a horse or punishing of any kind when they bite out or kick. He believes that if they do such then you are in the wrong.... unsafe? yep think so. Horses are herd animals.... they will give you lots of body language and attitude if you don't tell them what you need of them... and Alexander doesn’t tell. He 'asks'. To the point of when its time to 'ask' a horse to pick up his hoof, it may take a week of 'asking' until the horse decided to give it to you (he also has another rule that you shouldn't ask for one thing more then three times in one day)..... now if you were me thats pretty dang long to be asking for something so simple I can teach in one day hehe.

There is a video out on youtube (can't find it right now) that has a clip of his stallion doing one of his rearing up exercises, then lunging his head down and literally almost nabs Alexander in the head with his teeth. Yeah.... dunno what to think about this dude lol.

The whole bitless thing I think got to far into Alexander’s head. First it was going bitless because that was just plain abusive... then no saddles because it hurts the horse's back no matter how well fit they are... then not even riding more then fifteen minutes every two days because even riding bareback is harmful.... then this year he announce riding all together is harmful and he has not ridden in over a year because of it. So hes doing everything from the ground. He claims its respect he is giving his horses... I think there is more to it. I think his horses have become too dangerous for him to mount them lol.

If you look at other people who ride 'bitless' such as....

Stacy Westfall

Trevor Brazile

David O'Connor

They all didn't get to where they are with their horses without the use of bits and bridles. They go back and refresh a horse's mind if needed with one. Its all about communication. Alexander claims he has taught his horses all the moves they know now without anything in the mouth. He was proven wrong. He bought all his horses from backgrounds of them having bits and most of them were dressage horses who already knew the high school elements.

Sorry for going wayyyy off topic lol. But hey wanted to share some info I know lol.

If you can achieve going bitless all the way with a horse. I highly respect the fact. Its a grand achievement.

 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hey, OP here.
Did I EVER say that bitless was the only way to go? No. I posted it as an informatory video, maybe making people reconsider checking their horses in the mouth, simply because of where the bit lays if nothing else.
Did the video say the Dr. Cook's Bitless Bridle was the only bitless bridle to use? NO. Check the OP if you're unsure.
Just a quick fact- there is more than one type of bitless headgear on the market. My personal favourite is a type of noseband with rings on the side- basically like riding with a halter, but more finesse. Here is a picture:http://farm1.static.flickr.com/41/86681413_20a4db4604.jpg Is there any poll pressure on that bridle? No. Please do NOT assume because I said bitless that I meant a cross-under bitless.
And here is my two cents on bits- riding in a snaffle is great, preferable a double jointed one but single joints works for some horses two. But if you ride your horse in a curb, unless the horse is a fully, properly finished and properly ridden bridle horse, I am NOT impressed.
And the finesse everyone speaks about having with bits, your horse could just be acting submissive to pain. If your horse retaliates, what is he considered? Unmanageable? A "rogue"? That horse is simply not wanting the pain, however mild, in his mouth. The mouth is an extremely sensitive oral cavity.
It just bothers me that people are so resistant to even the idea of trying bitless. One of the excuses I commonly hear is that the rider doesn't think they would be "in control." However, if you are not in control of your horse without a bit, there are deeper training issues to address.
 
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