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Re: [RC] bitless bridle- late night musings about bridles and bits from a designer - Jonni Jewell

From: "Stephanie E Caldwell"
Well.... There's some bits/hackamores that are more severe, to the point
of not being useable except in professional hands in extreme cases. I think
anything over reasonable length shanks, on trails I'm not comfortable with
much over 2", although my old curb was 4" grazing shanks. It's too easy to
balance on the reins, to get them caught, or for things to happen on the

Yes, some bits / hackamores are deemed more sever in general. But, even a
simple ring snaffle, in the wrong hands, or if caught on something, can do
permanent damage to a mouth (or nose / jaw) of a horse.  I think one of the
worst things I see on the endurance trail is riders going along, with a
snaffle, having to pull, tug, and as you said "balance" on the reins. I
think they are doing MORE damage, than if they would find a bit they would
not have the horse hauling against all day. That, and do some retraining to
get the horse to not tug against ones arms on a ride. I would much rather
have a horse that is light in my hand, than one who wants to pull. I
personally do not use the reins to balance myself when I ride. I use the
reins to balance my horse, and to give him 'information' on what I am
wanting him to do.

Yes, accidents happen. Horses can get away from their riders, and get reins
caught, or stepped on out on the trail. But, (at least in my case) that is
fairly rare. Looking at the design of the "bitless bridles" (the type that
cross under the jaw figure 8 style) I would think if a horse stepped on the
reins if he got loose with those, and the bridle did not break (such as
biothane) that the horse could end up with a bruised jaw, bruised poll, and
be sore.  They can catch most pieces of equipment they wear. Most all tack,
caught on something in an accident, can injure a horse.  I do wonder how
many accidents and loose horses might have been prevented if the rider had
more control in the first place....there's a study for Truman. <wink>

I use the bit that suits the horse the best, for the control I desire.
Currently one is in a simple, plastic happy mouth bit, that is about as mild
as one can get. The other, I am now changing to a shanked hackamore, with
wide biothane curb strap.  You can never generalize any piece of equipment
will work on ALL horses, with ALL riders. Find what works best for you. Ask
to borrow one before you buy, to see if it will work. (as the one rider
wanted to try the S Hackamore recently) Or, you can just buy it, and if it
does not work, hang it up, and renew your membership to the bit of the month
club! <grin>

Jonni in TX

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[RC] bitless bridle- late night musings about bridles and bits from a designer, Jonni Jewell
Re: [RC] bitless bridle- late night musings about bridles and bits from a designer, Stephanie E Caldwell