Affect of bits on the mouth of horses

Discussion in 'Tack & Equipment' started by striderlove, Sep 23, 2014.

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  1. striderlove

    striderlove Full Member

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    I would like to know how others think a bit works (how and why) and how they affect the health of the mouth and overall wellbeing of a horse.

    From research and experience, I have an ongoing investigation as to how damaging a bit can actually be. I have learned of it's affects on the palate, the tongue, the lower jaw bones, the teeth, their breathing, the chemical composition of their mouth, and their movement. Plus, I constantly recognise how they affect the horse to an open eye, and not just when the bit is yanked or misused.
     
  2. Muppetgirl

    Muppetgirl Senior Member

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    Well that would take me a few hours to write. Depends on the type of bit, the conformation of the horses mouth, the skill of the rider. And one must not get all emotional and start putting human emotions upon horses in these kinds of discussions - Ive seen various 'studies' by anti-bit people and I've also scientific studies done by non bias researchers. Which are you?
     
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  3. striderlove

    striderlove Full Member

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    I am an ex-equestrian whom has dedicated some time to researching (far and wide and continuing) on how the bit works and about the horses mouth. I also observe other riders and am working on refining my ability to read body language. I am personally anti-bit and anti-riding, for ethical reasons, but that should not influence anybody's attitude towards me. I myself will not get emotional and personally do not like anthropomorphising animals.
    I would like anything ranging from 'soft' snaffles, to curb types, as they are all metal/foreign and all able to impact negatively on the mouth. I'm not sure how conformation of the mouth would differ too greatly from horse to horse besides deformities and such, and also I recognise the skill of the rider will reduce the effects to a degree, although there are plenty still considered skilled, however still contribute to bit-induced discomfort. I'd be delighted to read your input if you find the time.
     
  4. caballeroranch

    caballeroranch Senior Member

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    My opinion is that in the hands of someone who really knows what they are doing, the bit is simply a communication tool for fine tuning. I don't even bit my horses until most of their training is complete. In many cases, a bit is not even needed. It really depends though on many factors. Overall, I don't think most people really understand how to use a bit properly.
     
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  5. ofauxaffliction

    ofauxaffliction Senior Member

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    I truly don't believe in the whole "any/all bits cause pain". In the wrong hands? Of course, but as mentioned -- they are simply a communication tool and when used properly they don't cause any damage or pain to the horse.
     
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  6. DressageHaffie

    DressageHaffie Senior Member

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    It is my opinion that the "majority" of riders misuse the bit. I see alot of yanking, see-sawing, and bouncing bits. I myself have misused the bit in a horse's mouth before I learned better. Funny, my Haflinger who was always "lazy/heavy in the front/hard to get on the bit" is now riding completely forward into my hands, since I've completely changed the way I ride. I no longer "sponge/squeeze" the bit. I use the reins against her neck to move her shoulders. I do not pull back. I will use opening rein as needed, however my contact is extremely following. My upper body position in the saddle even looks different. I've always been so proud of the complete bend in my elbows, with my elbows right at my sides. Now, my arms and hands are further forward. In every gait I think FORWARD with my hands. I don't worry about where her head is. I ask her for energy by activating her hind end. Once I get that engine going behind, her head naturally falls into place. She seems to trust my hands more now. When we do any downward transition, it comes from my core. I close my legs, and I keep my "center" stable/free of movement. I could go on and on.

    My short answer is yes, I think bits are no good because the use of them is abused. I also cannot fathom some of these bits people put in their horse's mouths. I have a HOT Quarter Horse- she's been yanked/spurred you name it by her prevous western pleasure trainer. I rode my fire-breathing hot mare bareback and in a halter with gaming reins attached last night.
     
  7. .Delete.

    .Delete. Senior Member

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    Hahahahahahahahah. This is one of the anti bit people from instagram
     
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  8. Muppetgirl

    Muppetgirl Senior Member

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    But you see, here's the problem.

    Saddles are abused if they're not fit right.
    Spurs and whips are abused if they're not used right.
    Heck even a bridle without a bit could be considered damaging if not fit right.

    Also, bitless bridles are probably one of the most misunderstood, misused and abused tools out there. Last time I checked horses still have nerve endings on their noses.

    Currently there's a petition out to 'ban all bits' - yup.

    Uneducated people are damaging, not bits.
     
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  9. Rhythm 'n Blues

    Rhythm 'n Blues Senior Member

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    Strider, all your replies show you have a very strong personal opinion on this subject. This strong personal opinion about bits comes through loud & clear that you are out to prove your thought/opinion of bits is indeed correct.

    The fact that you're "not sure how confirmation of the mouth would differ too greatly from horse to horse" shows that is an area where you really do need to brush up your education before continuing with your research. Yes there are some very big differences (outside of deformities) that can have HUGE effects to the findings of your research.

    I'm a little confused about your research too - are you just wanting to talk to people about it? Is that all you are basing your research on? It's going to be tough to come to any kind of conclusion that way, as there is little to no way to know what each posters experience & education is. I can say myself that I've met a few people who can "talk the talk" but seriously fail to "walk the walk" in all aspects of life - therefore this would greatly affect your research findings/conclusion.
     
  10. meljean

    meljean Senior Member

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    I have ridden horses that were light as a feather on the bit. And ridden some that were dead and heavy.

    The light ones? Had been ridden, in the cases of all but one, by riders with good hands, and had retained that. The one? Was out of Macks K Handshaker, who was known to throw horses with a heavy mouth, so genetic there, was something you might not be able to overcome.

    Bits per se, are not the problem. The hands are. And if people were still instructed properly, instead of just being able to go out and come up with a horse willy-nilly, that would help greatly. As would a riding crop across the wrists.

    But in nearly 60 years now, and many breeds and disciplines, I would say that bits being used by decent riders, are not the "demon rum" of the anti-bit crowd.

    And frankly, am not impressed with the bitless/tackless crowd much. Horses to me, always look very confused, as well as those bitless bridles are still putting pressure on face, and right over the easily broken cartilage too.


    Purely out of curiosity OP....if you are anti-riding? Just what do you think would happen to all the pretty horses if they weren't ridden anymore?
     
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