Re: A bit is not horse abuse: Food for thought

This is why people shouldnt use bits.- this is the original point the person was making. (To me this is food for thought. For all horse people.)

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Comment by Ginny Cassil on October 31, 2010 at 2:49pm
bits are only as harsh as your hands, there are exceptions of truly nasty designs of bits that are meant to inflict maximum pain used by people who can only control their horses through pain, not education, I have had to experiment with different snaffle designs to find the most comfortable fit for a particular horse, the morgan I ride now prefers a french link 3 piece mouth as she has a fairly low palate and the single joint snaffle put pressure on the roof of her mouth causing discomfort with out any rein contact. I can and do ride her with out a caveson with out her opening her mouth in evasion,pain or protest. I do ride most of my horses in a simple low leverage beetle hackamore or just in a rope halter when trail riding. Anything on a horses face for control, direction, or comunication has the potential for inflicting pain, it is the riders duty to find the perfict fit for tack, use the minimal force, educate themselves and their horses for the maximum harmony in comunication.
Comment by Debra McDaid on October 30, 2010 at 1:00pm

You are right, it is horrible riding, and greed, and impatiens-- some of the people's faces tell the story if you look at them. There is the attitude in the horse world that the person is the 'boss' and horse must do as they say-- no matter what and no matter the cost... as if the horse when it does not do what is wanted is simply trying to defy, as if the horse does not have valid reasons for what it's needs, wants and desires are-- that somehow that is only a human's right-- not a horse's/animal's right. It seems to me that the riding world is closer to this understanding than other worlds, ie stb racing (I'm sure other racing but I am not as familiar with it) which makes me happy, but then I see this video, or I talk to a girl who has a huge breeding (warm bloods) operation in Ontario, and we discus my colt and her colts and when she finds out that he isn't the kind of horse you 'tell what to do' she gets this sour look and says that she hates that kind of horse... I question her as to why... she has no real answer... just that she feels that the horse should comply to her wants-- always... this girl owns a huge operation that puts out a large number of jumper/hunter/dressage horses each year... they are being raised with this mentality... she made it perfectly clear that each foal is raised strictly and there is no room for anything but blind obedience. I wanted to cry at this. I can bet that she is one of these people that will be hacking at her horse's mouth whenever she isn't getting her own way...

I have met so many people that seem okay, until you get to really know them... there are many riding people who really do love their horses, which makes me happy and the knowledge that they really do care and are trying to do what is right keeps me going. But each day I go to the barn, and see the intentional cruelty around me, and each day that I see horses heads inverted purposely, with cruel check bits working against the bit, and the tongue tied so that it bleeds... and remember that this is all sanctioned by the vets at the track, as is it sanctioned by the ORC (the governing body) and it is allowed by the Human Society... each day this takes the heart out of me a little more... you are right it isn't the equipment (minus the harsh check bits... they are simply cruel by definition) it is the human hands on the end of the reins/lines... and yes the whips, spurs etc. are also punishment, or aids.... human hands again...
Comment by Barbara F. on October 30, 2010 at 10:23am
Thanks for posting this Debra. What I see is horrible riding and greed in what people are trying to get out of their horses.

No one I know would intentionally do any of that to their horses.

I think the bit is like anything else we use to get our horses to do what we want them to do. It can be used to severely punish the horse, or it can be used to guide the horse. The same would go for the whip, spurs, side reins, etc. In the wrong hands, in greedy or impatient or uneducated hands they can cause be abusive. It is food for thought though.
Comment by Kathryn on October 29, 2010 at 6:03pm
Bits are not abuse. Bits used incorrectly are abuse as shown in your video. I find that too many beginners that shouldn't be are cantering, jumping etc. when their hands are all over the place. I hate seeing horses with their mouths wide open but I see it all the time. I can tell you why your horse bucks a lot. Your elbows and locked at a right angle so that they move everywhere you body does. When I ride your horse he does not buck half as much. I push him forward into a very light hand and he learns that it is easier to go forward than buck. My horse doesn't need a noseband or flash. In fact when I bought her I rode her in a bridle without either . The only reason I have them now is so that we look professional at horse shows. I do up the flash way to loosely apparently but I don't see the point in riding with it anyways so I've stopped riding with it except when I compete because my bridle looks much nicer with it on.
Comment by Debra McDaid on October 29, 2010 at 1:52pm
Hi I agree with you. I am not hard core anything, just like to keep my options open. I too am from the old school. Which is why my young colt has never had handholds... in the race world this is unheard of past breaking in phase (other than one horse I have heard of that raced 40 years ago.) When I ride, I ride with the lightest bit possible, also although I will sometimes use a nose band, I don't always.

I mostly think that people should start thinking about their horses, and their horse's mouths. To me if the horse is opening his mouth, than their is a reason, and usually it's in the person's hands, not the horse's mouth that the answer is to be found. I don't really care where cruelty comes from-- where it is to be found, but it needs to stop. If a person rides with a light hand, they can ride with a bit effectively... just a lot of people don't ride lightly, and use the bit to punish not to work with the horse... so like I said food for thought...

you make great points. deb
Comment by Jackie Cochran on October 29, 2010 at 1:28pm
If all of the riding teachers would go back to teaching correct contact like they used to, say 40 years ago, we would not be seeing as many awful pictures. Instead they just gave up.
I am severly handicapped, with hand tremors. I do not use nosebands. My horses are perfectly free to object to my hands. I can still use bits humanely (with the horses voluntarily keeping their mouths close-remember no nosebands) because I was lucky enough to learn contact when it was still taught properly. Don't misuderstand me, there were awful riders back then too, but for those who wanted to learn proper contact there was hope, unlike today.
Now everyone seems to think that either proper contact is impossible to teach, or even worse, that proper contact is not important enough to teach.
When my hands get too bad (and the horses tell me), I go bitless.
I ride two mares that PREFER A BIT to any bitless system I use (6 so far). Since I have used bitless bridles for over 35 years it is not because I don't know how to ride bitless.
Learn to ride properly. Listen to your horse. Loosen or take off the nosebands. BELIEVE your horse if he objects to your rein aids. Lighten up the contact to OUNCES NOT POUNDS, and properly school your horse to the rein aids. If a rider does all this, there would not be pictures like this, pictures of BAD HORSEMANSHIP when using the rein aids.
Comment by Debra McDaid on October 29, 2010 at 1:25pm
The first comment went into cyber heaven I guess ! lol

I have seen many cruel uses of the bit in my day from pony club to the elite riders, but the most abusive off all is my time with the stbs. Not only is there the use of the bit, and mostly the most cruel one possible, as cruelty abounds in stbs, but add to this the tongue tie, and the check. Now you have a three way pulling contest. The tongue tie is usually so tight that the horse's tongue is ruined and scared, the blood often flows, and the answer it's a long way from their hart! The check is the cruelest of all. You have the regular bit, that is leveraged on by long lines and usually powerful men pulling with their feet braced on stirrups, then the check is used to also leverage against the bit and driver. This upward, and backward pull causes the horse to open it's mouth, the tongue tie keeps the horse from protecting it's mouth. The check bit is incredibly powerful, usually as strong as possible, and can be up to three pieced of metal in the horse's mouth, not including the regular bit. The neck is ewed, and the spine and the back are ruined. The horse usually becomes lame in the back, then the stifles and eventually the hocks, and often blows a suspensory. Not to mention the cruelty to the horses mouth, which is left bruised and often bloody, and this often occurs daily during jogging, during training sessions, and then on race night warm up and for the race. Horses are discorraged at all times for going on the bit, and at every chance they are forced to run with their heads up and past the vertical. There are only a few horsemen who allow their horses to run at all naturally, or close to it. This is all done in the name of "Balance"... any rider knows that this is the opposite, yet even when riders race horses, they throw their common sense out the window, and follow the same path as every other stb trainer... any time a horse's mouth is bruised or bloody is a travesty to me, and the sport does not mater, cruelty is cruelty. But the stb people seem to want to market cruelty and sell it... and their methods of bits follow this trend.
Comment by Debra McDaid on October 29, 2010 at 1:12pm
Sorry missed the last part hit enter-- horses don't need checks to race, I have proven this over and over again. I raced old horses, young horses, horse I claimed, horses I raised myself, and everything in between without the check. I have tried to go bitless, and although my colt will do it, the briddles don't work properly, and the hackamore etc. don't work properly with the length of line-- at speed, it's alright for jogging, but at speed is an issue. So for now we go without a check on my young horse, and are working towards this on my old horse. He is nearly there. The bits we use are as light as possible, and we are soft handed as we can be. We don't use handholds unless we are in a race, as the old horse pulls and we can no longer drive our own, we are stuck on this point. Take care. deb

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