Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Oh the controversy of the bit.....

This is Star in her fancy schmancy side pull/bitless bridle that Shawn bought her last Fall.
Thank goodness he is a staunch supporter of bitless horses too.
He is going to make her some real sheepskin nose band and poll covers when he gets home.
Nothing too good right? right....
Anywho. I know there is a TON of discussion on both sides of the bit vs. no bit debate.
I want to be 100% bitless on endurance rides by season end.
I will be doing dressage and the rules are you have to have a bit..period. So she will NOT be 100% bitless horse. more like 60% endurance 40% Dressage.

What are your views? Experiences? Good or Bad.
Our bitless experiences have been nothing but positive ones. I have YET to have Star go sideways, freak out, go bats*** wild without a bit in her soft sensitive mouth. She is actually calmer and quieter. Her brakes are not as good as I would like but that will come with time.
See those happy ears, yeah she gots 'm.


Mrs Mom said...

Ya know JP, I never really had any thoughts on the matter either way. Until I got lazy with Sonny, and just started riding him in his rope halter and lead. He is light as a feather in that, excellent whoa, and no fussing. His teeth are fine, I've tried a decent selection of bits and bit types on him, and get the same reaction every time. He gets sluggish, cranky, pissy, lugs on my hands, and is a lot slower to respond because he is busy complaining about the bit in his mouth.

When I do ride with a bit, he is corrected for lugging and what not, and we school through it... but he never really comes around like he does in the halter and lead.

Makes me wonder some.......

Desert Rose said...

if the bitless bridle simular to a hackamore??? I haven't seen one. I have ridden Jesse in a hackamore when he was younger...my trainer was using everything she had on him just to see how he did. I was not as comfortable...but he did fine.

Jocelyn said...

MM: thanks for the input :)
It does make you wonder !

DR: Bitless bridle isnt the same as Hackamore. Hackamaore still has a curb chain to apply pressure under the chin. Most Bitless bridles or side pulls only use nose pressure, there is no clamping down pressure on the face.

Dunappy said...

I ride either way depending on the mood and the horse and the requirements needed for the job at hand. I train my horses to work with or without a bit so all my horses are expected to learn how to respond either way.

baystatebrumby said...

Wooooooweeeee! Now that is one nice looking paint! very eyecatching indeed! You ust be very awesome to ride without a bit!

Jocelyn said...

dunappy: that is my goal, for her to be ablke to be worked with or without a bit ! Mostly without, but we are working on BRAKES when she gets excited to catchup with the group.

BSB: Isnt she purty ! CAn you stand it! I am not awesome, but thanks, I made a humane choice and I am trusting her to be a partner and not have to use a bit. She makes it easy :)

Fantastyk Voyager said...

My horses always have happy ears and I ride all of them in bits. I agree that it must be hard on the mouth sometimes but it also depends on the level of pull used. I usually ride very lightly on the reins. When I ride in halters, the brakes and turns aren't as good but they are calmer so there is a trade-off.

Jocelyn said...

Val, I am not saying she only has happy ears becasue of going bitless.

jennybean79 said...

I am a chicken butt and feel nervous when I don't have a sense of full on security.I am a bit user; I use them all from snaffle to curb, kimberwicke to pelham :). I have light hands and I feel most comfortable w/ bit.

I am curious though, what are the reasons that people do chose bitless? is it for finicky horses that don't like bits? Or for ethical reasons?


Fantastyk Voyager said...

Okay, okay! I know there are lots of anti-bit people around that say the horse can never be happy with a bit in his mouth.

Whatever, Star looks great!

strivingforsavvy said...

I don't have any experience with the bitless bridles, but do ride my horse in a rope halter on trail rides or when I am just dinking around in the arena. I save the bit for when I am actually training him. All my horses are very light in the rope halter and I have found I have the same amount of control except if they decide to buck! I also like the fact that I can let them graze when we stop on the trail for a rest.

Jocelyn said...

Jenny: I am going bitless for ease of eating and drinking while on endurance rides. But also for humane reasons. Would you want to carry a bit in your mouth for 30 to 50 miles?
Clanking on your teeth?
yeah me neither.Trust me if she acts stupid and naughty, the bit will go right back in her mouth until she gets with the program!!!!

SOS: Can't wait to go trail riding with you!

jennybean79 said...

That makes perfect sense to me :) I forgot you were going to start Endurance - I bet you're so excited! If I were riding for up to and sometimes further than 50 miles, I'd think of bitless too :)

I mostly ride circles in rings, so it's almost always "training" for the show ring which requires a bit - you know, setting up and all that jazz. Oh yeah, and that chicken butt thing too.

Stephanie said...

I think it depends on the horse and what you want to do with them, as in your case.

I think it increases their re-sale ability and value if the horse can take a bit and be ridden in one. It increases the chances they will find a good home faster, just because of the sheer amount of equine competition that requires horses to be ridden in a bit. But if your horse can go in a bit --- but goes better without, all the more power to you.

It has been my experience with the thousands of different kinds of bits out there and the thousands of makers out there - that most horses I have seen that have come to me or my trainer and the past owners claimed "well they just don't like a bit" that its only a matter of taking the time to find the "right bit" for that horse, and we've never failed. Out of hunderds we've never came across a horse that we couldn't find a bit for that it was happy in and performed well in.

Also I have grown up with horses - spent hours upon hours upon hours out in large open pasture with them. I have spent a majority of my life with them and I am confident I know when my horses are happy, in pain, sad, afriad, or angry....I am pretty sure I can also identify jealousy. So I would just about bet my life on the fact that my horse, whom I helped into this world 5 years ago and spent the first night of his life with him out in the pasture on a pile of hay, is not "unhappy" in a bit in anyway. Take what you want from that.

A bit can be a instrument of pain or wonderful tool of communication depending on whose hands are attached to the reins.....

AareneX said...

Hi JP, new reader here (catching up on some of your older posts).

I have two bits that I use on a regular basis:
kimberwicke - for brakes and potentially exciting situations
boucher (french link) - for dressage lessons and "normal" trail rides.

I have a sidepull bridle with bit hangers, and can go bitless if the situation warrants.

With my old standie mare, the sidepull was fine almost all the time.

With the arab gelding I used to ride, the kimberwicke was barely enough brakes most of the time.

With my young standie mare, the boucher is best almost all the time.

Apparently, the bluntness of the kimberwicke and sidepull are too vague for my young mare. The snaffle gives more precise instructions , and that kind of thing makes her happy. Not something I would have guessed...but not something I intend to ignore, either.

For her first ride ever (HOTR), I used the kimberwicke for the first loop and then switched to the snaffle. After a few rides, we'll probably do the whole thing in a snaffle. It's not a barrier to food, BTW, she can eat huge amounts of grass at a time with the snaffle in.