5 thoughts on “Bits, Horse – Intro

    1. Yes, Vicki. I think that is entirely possible. Most of the time we want a side-pull for people who already have insensitive hands, but it could certainly work the other way – especially if the horse has not been trained to be “light as a feather” on the lateral and vertical flex and the “whoa”. Get that “soft touch” flexion, and even the lightest hands can use a side-pull with real finesse. Read about Lateral and Vertical Flex and verbal and seat cues for whoa in the “Horse Training Exercises” section of this site.

  1. Bits are one of the most marketed products around horse riding. There are dozens of bit variations reputed to assist to carry out three very simple exercises with our horses.
    2. stop
    3. moderate speed and direction.
    If the exercises are so simple why do we need a confusing array of bits?
    Most weekend warrior riders should stick with the loose ring snaffle bit that has a medium thickness bar.
    We need to focus our money and energy into learning the skills of balance, hand control through the use of the reins ( on the bit) and the correct mental state of the rider .
    Good coaches will not worry about which bit to use until we are well down the path of being a well accomplished .
    One old sage , in answer to my question about which bit should I use commented “Don’t worry about the bit in the horses mouth mate, worry about the bit at the other end”

    1. This is one of the best comments I have received, and I heartily agree. I routinely ride my horse and almost all of the horses I have trained in a knotted halter or a side-pull. In fact, most of the horses I have RE-trained had their bits removed during the re-training process so that no one could mis-use the bit or use it as a crutch to “get around” good training. They should be able to perform easily and safely through “weekend warrior” type riding in this type of gear. There is some highly precise training that can benefit from a bit in the hands of a skilled trainer, but I still believe that hard work on the ground and a good rider in the saddle can cure almost any ill that 95% of people would try to cure with a bit – no matter the breed. Thank you.

  2. A snaffle bit is one that the pressure comes directly from the corner of the lips & no curb pressure. Can be a solid or jointed bar. Have used both style bars.
    A curb bit is one that has any amount of leverage.
    A kimberwicke can actually be considered a Pelham as the pressure can be either “straight” back from the lips or have a bit of pressure on the curb, depending on which “slot” the reins are attached to.

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