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Re: RC: RE: snaffles, kimberwicks and curbs

Lone Pine Ranch wrote:

 > 	I have to agree that every horse is different. For what it is worth, I 
 > been riding in endurance for the past 12 years using sidepulls and 
saving my
 > bit for arena work. My mare is a very dominant, competitive horse 
 > to broodmare status now), yet I could ride her in a very soft 
sidepull. She
 > just gave to the nose pressure, the sidepull allowed her to eat & 
drink as
 > needed and I loved it because it was my halter during vet checks.

I'm reading a lot about choices of bits, etc.  Somewhere along the way I 
think I got categorized as a "snaffle-bit only purist".  Well, in some 
ways that's true, but it's more of a philosophical angle than practical. 
  Truthfully, if you look in my tack room you'll see all kinds of stuff 
hanging there, including a large variety of snaffles.  I even have one 
mare who I'm riding in <shudder> a tom-thumb!  I guess my philosophy is 
that you START with a snaffle. (And by snaffle I mean direct pressure 
bit, NOT single-jointed bit, this would include a sidepull).  I do the 
basic training with the type of snaffle that the horse seems to like.

I also begin any retraining of horses with a snaffle bit.  This is VERY 
important to me, because retraining is more about eliminating evasions 
than anything else, and I can not do what I call "putting the horse in a 
box" with any kind of leverage device.  In addition, I want the horse to 
learn to stretch out and lengthen into the bridle, which is hard to do 
with a curb.

I do change bits, I really do, BUT not until after I've worked the horse 
into the bridle in a snaffle.

And as for my last word on the RM ...

> 	An emergency brake is probably is a poor excuse to use a RM but it works,
> most of the rest of the time it just hangs there. I rarely use the emergency
> brake in my SUV but I am glad it is there if my other brakes fail. 

Marilyn, I have to say that it sounds to me as though your horses are 
exceptionally well trained and responsive.  This is the kind of horse I 
strive to have at the end of training.  Others on the list have 
described the same kind of responsiveness.  I guess what it comes down 
to FOR ME is that if my "emergency brake" moments are few and far 
between, and if when I need it I have another tool in my bag that will 
do the trick (and I'd better, since I trained the horse to that point 
w/o a RM), I would rather ride without one.  First of all, it's more 
stuff to pack, assemble & manage.  I have enough crap to worry about.

Second, though (maybe this should be first?) is that I see the RM as a 
safety hazard.  The last thing I want when my horse makes a poor choice 
of direction at speed or when I see footing going bad or branches coming 
at my face, is to have ANYTHING tied to my reins.  It gets in the way of 
my steering & rein management, and it's one more thing for the horse (or 
me) to get body parts tangled in.  That's where the e-brake analogy 
breaks down for me - the e-brake in my car is of no risk to me during 
the 99.44% of the time that I don't need it.  The RM is, and truthfully, 
it's not of that much benefit to me anyway.

Karen Sullivan wrote:

> Nobody has the right to judge what someone is using of their horse, or what
> they try!  

And I guess I differ with Karen on this point as well.  I absolutely 
have the right to judge what other people use.  So do you.  You can 
judge me all you want.  AAMOF, I think you have an obligation to.  I 
just don't want people to berate each other in public for it.  If we 
didn't judge each other's choices, then how would we ever learn?  Each 
of us would be limited to only those ideas that we can think up on our 
own.  Some of us would have lots of choices, but others of us would be 
stuck in the ring going in circles ...

I gotta go shoe a horse.  See ya.

* * *
Abby Bloxsom
ARICP Certified Instructor
Level III Recreational and Distance Riding
Colebrook, CT USA

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