Lets take this blog to the next level

If you have a photo of crappy show riding, know of a jerkwad trainer or judge, or someone in the show world that is an abusive piece of shit then send the info to me. This blog is not anti-showing, it's anti-abuse. So there is no truth to the claims from the TWH, ASB, western pleasure and dressage zombies that I'm trying to shut showing down. Instead I'm trying to make showing more honest and to get abusive practices out of the showring! Email me at shameinthehorseshowring@gmail.com



I have a request for my readers: If you have successfully rehabbed a show horse, or gotten a rescue and taken it on to a show career then let me know, I'd love to feature you here!






Sunday, September 13, 2009

Stupid bait.... don't get caught with it

(Note: All images in today’s blog are linked to the actual image on the website that market’s the POS. I didn’t scan or copy anything.)

As previously mentioned on this blog there is a lot of horse equipment out there that just advertises how incompetent is the trainer. Most of it is expensive, most of it is dangerous and none of it is pleasant for the horse. Sadly, a big name trainer endorses most of it

I wandered over to my sister’s today and in a fit of boredom ( well truthfully I was watching her work on her mower and saying nasty things about the inventor’s family), I browsed through several horse catalogs she had sitting around. The Schneiders and Horse.com catalogs were loaded with blog material. WTF are these people thinking selling some of this shit?

So let’s take some of the places that sell this stuff to task and point out how they are all about the dollar, and not about the animal their industry is built on.

Schneiders, you’re a bunch of guilty as hell shits.

Here’s our first entry in the “Absolutely Worst Stupid Bait On The Market” entry, and you guessed it, it’s endorsed by a BNT that felt putting his name on this torture device was a good idea.



So Bob Hart Jr., exactly what were you thinking when you decided it was okay to put a chain over the top of a horse’s head and a thin leverage chin strap that would tighten things to such a degree that there would be pressure points from the top of the head to the nose and sides of the face? I grew up surrounded by Arabians and good Arabian trainers. I’m trying to figure out at what point it became acceptable to openly advertise that you’re such an incompetent jerk that you can’t teach a horse to stand for halter without jerking the shit out of his head and making it painful?
Keep pimping this crap Bob and you’re going to make my Trainwhore of the Year list.

Here’s some more stupid bait from Schneiders.



I think that in order to buy crap like this you should have to take a mandated written test and also have to be licensed by a professional horsemens’ group that will attest you have the knowledge and light hands necessary to ride in such a bit. Yet, I have seen kids riding with these bits. I’ve seen young horses that are barely out of bosals being tortured with these things. And I’ve seen some nasty flip-overs in the line up when ZippoCrackBars decides he’s not going to back and instead goes up and over.

I saw this and my jaw dropped in horror. At first glance it’s just a caveson. But read the fine print and you realize that this piece of stupid bait has a really nasty purpose.


This horrible thing is by Billy Royal ® and it’s a royal piece of shit. That black piece on the chin is metal. It connects to not one, but two, crank straps. That’s right, it’s a double crank noseband with metal lying against the sensitive jawbone! WTF are they thinking marketing this damn thing? I hope some novice doesn’t buy this thing and use it with a curb bit! I can just see the huge bloodstain after the horse flips over on some newbies!

There was a lot more in the Schnieders catalog, but these three items caught my attention the most.

Then I looked at the Horse.Com catalog and realized that the presence of stupid bait has infiltrated even the most basic of horse merchandisers.

How’d you like to wear this bit?

Not only is this high port, but it has chain link bars that are narrow and just waiting to pinch the hell out of the horse’s lip edges. Add to that aspect the fact that it’s a wide palate bit with a very narrow curb chain. I can just see this thing folding around a horse’s jaw and the curb digging into the skin. Makes me wince! People that ride with this kind of crap deserve to be bucked off. Mike Beers, shame on you for promoting this kind of crap! At least have the decency to demand that a warning be placed on this bit that it is not for novice riders!




This bit is pimped by universal Trainwhore Sharon Camarillo. It pisses me off for all kinds of reasons. 1) It’s a gag bit 2) It’s twisted wire 3) It’s a curb on top of being a gag 4) It has those squared off cheek piece holders that add to the poll pressure. This bit is prime stupid bait. Putting it on your horse is like a flashing neon sign that you’re a complete idiot where horses are concerned.



Just where to even fucking start? This POS by Mikmar just screams “I don’t have a clue!” Come on people, since when is some travesty like this necessary to train a horse? It’s obvious Frank Evans is not testing these things out on himself before putting them in a horse’s mouth. I have to say I’m not a big fan of most of the Myler bits, but after perusing the Mikmar website Myler looks almost normal. If someone had shown up with one of these things back where I grew up they would have been dismembered and buried in an old mine shaft.

After making my eyebrows cross the top of my skull I then picked up the Stateline Tack catalog. I have to say I love the cover with the lead line class photo. The pony is awesome and his little rider is so cute. I’m not jiving on mom’s shoes, but if she wants her pedi ruined by a sharp pony hoof then so be it.
I usually get along with Stateline, but I did find some nasty stuff in there that caused me some dismay.



WTF is this thing being pimped by Pessoa? I remember when Pelhams were frowned on as being suitable for kids or novices that couldn’t handle a real double bridle. This thing looks like the illegitimate child of a nasty western correction bit, and a set of thunder beads. My old horse would have learned to climb trees rather than let me put this in his mouth. Pessoa, when did you become such a Trainwhore? Your saddles are great, but this thing…not so much.

Again with the Mikmar junk!


First off, if you add a curb strap this bit ceases to be a snaffle. It becomes a short-shanked, flat- cannoned, poll pressure inducing, piece of junk. Why on earth would you inflict this on a horse?
Are the Mikmar people stoned or just stupid? Can you imagine what Louis Ortega or Colonel Podhajsky would say if someone showed up with one of these? If it takes this kind of crap to get your horse to pay attention then he's missing some basics, and you're missing $169.00 for something that shouldn't be used for any purpose other than a paperweight.

What has the industry come too? Other industries usually get simpler as they evolve. Not the horse industry. We've gone back to the dark ages. Can you imagine what horsemen in the future will say when they dig this crap up? They'll think it's the Equine Inquisition. Sad, sad, sad!

Remember, all of the above are prime stupid bait! Get caught with it and you could end up being featured as a poster child here!

243 comments:

1 – 200 of 243   Newer›   Newest»
Carrie Giannandrea said...

Wow! First....LOL!

I got my Schneiders catalog in my mailbox on Friday. Looked it over and couldn't stand some of the products they had. Downright torturous stuff!

I threw it away, no need to support this crap.

Carrie Giannandrea
Dances with Horses
Formula One Farms

Cheval Noire said...

I've seen some of these horrific torture devices on various internet sites and am amazed that they are actually legal.

If anyone is that incapable if controlling a horse that they need such barbaric and inhumane weapons they shouldn't be allowed near one.

Oh .... but that's right, if you're too stupid to communicate with a horse you torture it into submission so it does what you want.

NOTHING ON THIS PLANET justifies the use of any of these extreme control devices!!!!

SHAME SHAME SHAME

Vectormom said...

You are so right about the simple looking caveson. I knew something was coming as I read on and was shocked. I've been to a billion horse shows and I've never seen anyone using anything like that. But then it dawned on me, duh....people wouldn't use these things in public for the most part. They'd just use them for 'training' and mouthpieces are out of sight just as the 'metal crank' would probably not be noticed (except for flipovers and blood). I pondered a bit more,duh... someone MUST be buying these horrific contraptions or they wouldn't continue to make them. I'm just shocked at your finds here. I really had to study that one with the leather covered nose contraption that threaded throught the tubes. I tried to envision it on one of my horses but I just couldn't. Craptastically shocking!!

cattypex said...

UGH.

There is such a lack of good instruction out there.

Or maybe a lack of newbies willing to TAKE good instruction??

So they use all this shit. Reminds me of the movie Tin Cup (Yeah, I saw it. It was amusing.) when Renee Russo is out on the golf course for the first time, with all these stupid gadgets that are supposed to help her learn how to play golf, including a weird little wheelie-dealie hanging from her hat brim.

And of course none of it works as well as a decent instructor actually TEACHING her. Well, and porking her, but that's later in the movie.

But people DO get suckered in by "stuff," because they see the winning "trainers" using a bunch of STUFF, and they think that you have to spend top dollar on all that crap to get anywhere, instead of learning how to properly use their hands, legs, seat and ............ brains.

mulerider said...

I was looking at an article in a Horse & Rider magazine the other day about bits. It was written by some western BNT and he was supposed to be explaining the difference between several different bits that he likes and uses. It was clear, from reading the article, that he was an idiot that didn't have the foggiest idea of how the bits worked or what made his bits different from one another. Most of them were bits I would never put in a horse's mouth.

Also, all of the bridles pictured had chain curb straps. WTF is up with that? What happened to leather curb straps? When did everyone switch to chain, which was, back in the dark ages when I was showing, something that was used only by redneck gamers (no offense to redneck gamers).

Jennifer said...

And I'm betting none of them use a guard, either. (You know, that thing you thread the curb chain through that goes between it and the horse's chin).

I think I know how this stuff gets perpetuated. We live in a society where people have a sense of entitlement, especially kids. Where people think they can get what they want *right now*.

Correctly training a horse takes time. Learning to ride well enough to do it right takes time.

Getting a dressage frame out of a horse without tying down its head is work. It is hard physical work. I've gotten off with my legs feeling like jelly before. Using draw reins is so much easier...for the rider. I figure it's the same in other disciplines...heck, I've gotten jelly legs from trail riding western.

Of course, it was *real* trail riding, not moseying around a field. Any of the horses that place had could have done a 100 miler and passed the vet ;).

Paul said...

I would like to know what type of bits you would suggest? I see a lot of bitching but not a lot of hey this is what I would use.

Carrie Giannandrea said...

Paul,

I would use a simple three peice snaffle, as I always have.

I am in the process of moving my boy up to a low port, short shank, Monte Foreman bit for use in Reining. It is not my horse that needs the training for this bit, it is I who needs the training. Backing off the "contact" is the first step, so I have taken a simple set of soft loop reins, put knots in the position where I usually have "contact" and another set of knots further back on the reins to train myself to trust my horse and his responses. It is working for us. He is happy and I am relaxing. I am also working him with a neck strap that I keep in my pinky fingers, this is used as my first cue to him.

The transition to a shanked bit is not "overnight"....but in the end, I will have a soft and happy horse. Many times, gimmicky devices are used as "short cuts" in training. The horse nor the rider ever benefit from "short cuts".

Carrie Giannandrea
Dances with Horses
Formula One Farms

Paul said...

How does a three piece snaffle work?
I am curious. By what I have learned over the years is it works on the bars and tongue pressure not quite as severe as a straight snaffle bit which either of those bits in the wrong hands used the wrong way can crush a horses bars and make them quite crazy. This is something I have to correct for people most of the time. I am not a firm believer in gimmicks either. I do know one thing, you need to research the mikmar line of bits, they are for the rider not the horse. I do not use one, but have had riders with less experience use these bits even at shows for warm up. The training bit is not severe and watching someone with a curb bit and training fork working a horse over because they have not mastered the art of using a curb bit. If you notice the curb on the bit is leather the nose band and mouth piece and curb band use three points of contact and does not allow any of the three to over power the other. I have found that this bit is not rough on the horse and helps riders understand how to get their horse to correct carry themselves with any curb bit after the use of the mikmar. Maybe you folks should try things before you bitch. I have been training horses for 40 years and can tell you that a snaffle is a very dangerous bit in the wrong hands. I use snaffle bits most of the time due to their effectiveness to maintain a horses attention. You just might want to try that mikmar if you are moving to a shank bit, and pay attention to how the horse reacts to your hands and how the bit works so you can be as gentle with any other shanked bit as you can be with the mikmar.

Aelfleah Farm said...

Have to say that I just spent $600 at schneiders two days ago. I really like their stuff. Esp. the easy-up portable tack room stuff. I adore it. And they have the BEST blankets. And their ultra line of grooming products is great.

Every catalog has crap. Stateline, Dover, Nation Bridel Shop, Bit of Britian. Retailers sell what people buy.

I have a Mikmar bit... One of the dressage legal ones. My niece's eventer uses it for flatwork. I think the line is called Cuperon? It's a three piece full-cheek. The cob loves it, and really reaches for it but since he gets quick over fences he runs through it when jumping.

I have lots of Myler bits. My niece's eventer uses a ported barrel kimberwick on cross country or has also gone in Mikmar's bit, the non-shank one who's name I can't remember. But the kid can't adjust the rope nose correctly herself, so she doesn't get to use it, even though the pony really moved very round and soft with it and had more brakes that he did with just a snaffle.. One of my CDE ponies uses one for driving, another CDE pony uses a Myler ported barrel D-ring with hooks for driving. One of my younger future eventers uses a Myler comfort snaffle.

Again, the bit manufacturers make what people buy. The catalogs sell what people buy.

oh, rebecca. said...

ow. ow. ow. Honest to god, these things look like actual torture devices used in dungeons, especially that Mikmar one. Holy cripes. I was cringing just looking at them.

Paul said...

I agree, manufacturers make what people want and catalogs sell it.
I also agree that most of the big time trainers you were discussing are a pain. You all are right in saying that they need to spend more time explaining the tools they are using and how to use them vice selling them. They do not discuss when folks are buying a parelli snaffle bit that the smaller the diameter the more severe the bit. We all need to be more responsible in helping folks understand what it is they are using and why you would use it. A three piece snaffle is used more for a horses poll flexion, as where a two piece snaffle with a small mouth piece diameter helps with a horse with bad side flexion ie turning. Bitching does not get the job done, it just confuses the young riders and makes them cling to the BNT vice someone that can give them a one on one education and teach them to be able to look evaluate and try new things. No one bit can fix all your problems. But any bit in the right hands can make a good horse, even just a boot string in a horses mouth tied to a set of reins can be a tool if used correctly (I believe that indians used leather?). Try starting a horse with a bosal, teach them to turn and stop and go all three gaits, then try a large snaffle and see what you get?

Paul said...

Tell you what rebecca it is not a torture device like you think, that is one of the kindest bits to a horse that I have ever placed in a horses mouth. I wince every time I see a horse jumping with a snaffle that is untrained and throws that nose out against that bit and then throws its head straight up in pain from the misuse and misguided training. I am not an expert but you really need to learn to do research before you start talking about things that you know nothing about. I did a lot of research on that line of bits prior to my first purchase and told myself that we would try it and see if it is what it says it is. I can tell you that it is a gentle bit and can be very helpful to probably most riders. Their horse would be way better off if they did own one. The horse would spend a lot more time relaxed.

cattypex said...

That Mikmar thing is.... just weird.

The cable running thru the noseband and then the shanks???

Paul I agree with you for the most part, but that Mikmar bit looks like nothing but trouble. It's just another device for cranking a horse's head down low instead of teaching them how to use their bodies to achieve proper carriage.

I blame the futurities for some of this crap, because even if you're riding/training in a bosal and then snaffle, you're expected to then have a "fully finished" horse by the time he's 4. And so the shortcuts come into play. Also, I totally blame the peanut roller crowd.

I chalk it up, again, to riders' not knowing bit mechanics, or horse mechanics, and thinking that if the horse's nose and head are in the so-called "right" place, then you can freeze 'em there and Presto! You're "correct"! *snort* This misconception carries across all disciplines of course.

Paul I also totally agree with you that the right horse/hands/bit combination can happen with a wide variety of bits, but there's a LOT of mileage a person's gotta get before they develop that feel.

cattypex said...

And again Paul, now I see your post about actually USING one of those Mikmar things.

I am glad that you have the experience and good hands to actually get the right results... unfortunately, how many people are going to get these things and totally fry their horses' mouths and brains with 'em?

Paul said...

Cattypex, I thought the same thing, I do not like peanut rollers and spend most of my time working to keep my horses head up not between his knees. I have found that the mikmar works for vertical flexion, and lateral flexion, keeps the horses head where I want it. Either up, level or low (of which I cant stand.) This tool is what frank evans said it to be. A tool for the rider that saves the horse. Young riders can learn the correct feel and not at the horses expense. It helps the horse and inexperienced rider to make that connection without all the pain and fighting. I like you believe that they work horses way to young. I am working on my mare and she is five. I showed her when she was younger but very limited due to just what you said. She was not ready to flex and give in and carry herself as she should. I will just take my time and I know she will come to it in time. And also the mikmar is not for every horse, my mare does not like the feather light bit that they just came out with. I stick to my snaffle, I want my better half to be able to get along with her but both of them get frustrated with each other. Of course she was one a problem horse that was throwing everyone that got on her when she was three, due to be hurt with a snaffle and a rider that did not know what they were doing.

horsndogluvr said...

Whoo-eee boy, what a bunch of... stupid bait!

In the spirit of "If you can't say something nice, say nothing at all," that Mikmar over-gadgeted POS does at least have a leather curb strap.

Paul, if bits are for the rider, then let the rider wear them. Bits should be a communication device, not a shortcut for someone with bad hands.

I wish someone would come up with the riding machine Eliz. Moon described in "Hunting Party." (Read it, if you want SF with horses!) It had various tones and things that tell you when your pressures (leg & rein) are wrong.

If everyone learned to ride on one of those, we wouldn't "need" the gadgets.

Paul said...

cattypex, I do not use the mikmar I do not need one. I prefer to use a snaffle, and then several different curb bits. That is what the mikmar was made to keep from happening, the stopping of frying a horses mouth was why it was created. Like I said before, go watch the videos and listen carefully. Look at the bit and then think about it very carefully. By the way it is a soft string not a cable. I have never seen a mark left on any horses nose due to that string, never seen a horse be hurt by the mikmar training bit either.

Paul said...

horsendoglovr, it would be great if people could ride a fake horse before they get on the real thing. But the fact remains they can not. So I guess no one should ride a horse be cause they dont have fake ones. The fact is they have to learn and just in learning to ride a bike or drive a car, there are aids to help you learn not gimmicks. This bit does not hurt a horse. Yes it aids a rider to learn how to handle a curb bit, and not at the expense of the horses mouth.

cattypex said...

Well, the fact that it's soft string makes it better.

I'm not sold on it, but looking at it, I can see where it COULD be an OK thing in the right hands, on a horse that's already broke.

I'm a big fan of snaffles. I really liked a Dr Bristol in my QH mare's mouth, because she got impatient with a regular fat snaffle - like it wasn't worth her time. She was funny and finicky.

I do not normally like Kimberwickes either, but I saw the logic of using one on a hard-mouthed OLD pony that was used to a curb. The rider (a 40 lb. 2nd grader) was able to get a little leverage on him without him pulling at her like he would have with a regular snaffle - which in turn had HER leaning on her hands. Best lesson that girl had was when the pony went from a canter to a prop stop, and because she'd been hanging on his reins, she went right over his head. She was much better with her hands after that....

Trojan Mouse said...

Paul,

If you can't get a horse to do what you want in a bosal, snaffle or mild curb then there is a problem with the training foundation and you need to go all the way back to square one.
A severe bit is considered a finesse bit. It is used with the lightest of pressure, infinitesimal finger movement and the ability to ride with your seat and legs *first*, before the reins are ever engaged.
If someone's just playing around with a horse a short shank hackamore or Dr. Cook's bridle works too.

But the kind of crap I featured here is just ridiculous. It's a big flashing neon sign of incompetence and pot-holed training tactics.

T Jean Maus

cattypex said...

Yeah, I always think of a Kimberwicke as the harshest bit *I* would use, unless I got a lot of very good tutelage from a quality vaquero trainer. That's like the Jedi Master level of Western horsemanship....

Paul said...

Cattypex, The soft string is much better than a cable, which I have seen on some contraptions. It is not a bit to break a horse with by no means. You are correct, break the horse and school the horse and teach the horse what you want it to know, and then if you have a young rider that is learning and their hands are not what you think they should be and you are having trouble getting through to the rider and the rider and horse are fighting, then it might be a tool you would want to use. The Dr. Bristol is a more severe bit than a fat snaffle and your mare just did exactly what you said which was to not pay attention to it. I use a Dr. Bristol frequently and find it to be a great bit. My rule is, with no matter what bit I use is. How little movement can I use to communicate to my horse what it is I am wanting. Horses already know how to walk, jog, trot, canter, and gallop. It is the rider that must learn how to ask the horse to do these things. Communicate to the horse consistently the same cue for each gait every time you ask for that gait, and to correct the horse as little as possible, unless the horse is unruly. You have to remember when you were a teenager or child and did not want to do what your parents told you to do,and you wound up hurt. A horse can hurt themselves and you if we allow them to. The old rule of 1200 lbs verses rider which weighs much less, the horse must not get out of hand or it will become irreversible. Just as a child can not get out of hand it becomes irreversible. An aid to teach someone how to drive or ride a bike is something that can be very helpful and when it has out grown its usefulness it needs to be put away and only used when needed. This bit can even be useful to a broke horse with many problems not because it is painful, but because it helps maintain the control you must have and does it with only the pressure that is needed. Once the problem is corrected you move on, unless the horse becomes very comfortable with the bit and the rider also. The bit will work well on a day to day use with no problems, and it is quite surprising that it is one of few training bits that I have found that do not become a crutch for horse or rider. I have watched riders that just can not leave a horse alone with their hands to having very still hands due to the use of this bit. There are things out there that wind up being crutches such as training forks, martingales, draw reins and tie downs. None of which I like, I will use a training fork or draw reins when needed for short period of time usually for ground work and then use my brain and hands to get the same thing from the saddle.
If you have a rider with busy hands give the thing a try and see what happens. Its a little hard to put on the horse, the first time you need to be slow, but the horse usually wont mind. just a little confused as with anything new.


I'm a big fan of snaffles. I really liked a Dr Bristol in my QH mare's mouth, because she got impatient with a regular fat snaffle - like it wasn't worth her time. She was funny and finicky.

I do not normally like Kimberwickes either, but I saw the logic of using one on a hard-mouthed OLD pony that was used to a curb. The rider (a 40 lb. 2nd grader) was able to get a little leverage on him without him pulling at her like he would have with a regular snaffle - which in turn had HER leaning on her hands. Best lesson that girl had was when the pony went from a canter to a prop stop, and because she'd been hanging on his reins, she went right over his head. She was much better with her hands after that....

Trojan Mouse said...

Paul,
>Try starting a horse with a bosal, teach them to turn and stop and go all three gaits, then try a large snaffle and see what you get?

Hmm, sounds like you have no understanding of how a horse is "bridled". You start the horse in a bosal, then move it to a bosalita and snaffle, then move it to a bosalita and curb. That way the horse moves up to a new bit, while still having the comfort of his usual training gear. It produces soft, flexible and very well trained horses.

No novice should be allowed a MikMar curb bit. They have a flattened mouth piece that digs into the tongue. I've seen them demo'd on horses and they created gapping at the side of the mouth and wedging across the bars and tongue. And anyone using a curb bit, even something as short shanked as a kimberwicke, and a martingale should be killed.

Putting a curb in the hands of a novice rider is simply torturing the horse.

T Jean Maus

Paul said...

Trojan mouse, I did not say i had a problem most inexperienced riders have a problem and this bit works and is kind. I would not think of it as a training tool but a communication tool for horses with severe problems and also for a good horse but poor rider. You need to also spend a little time researching this product line. I probably own 1,000.00 dollars worth of bits probably more, I use very few of them myself but when I have a problem with a horse or rider I run through them all looking for the right combo. And the things you are talking about are gadgets to right?

Mary H. said...

any bit can be bad in the wrong hands (even a simple snaffle), however, some of these are just horrible!

I ride a lot of green horses. I usually ride in a rope halter or a basic snaffle. I figure that if the horse can't respond lightly in one of these, that they need more ground work and more work with basic riding exercises, not a harsher bit.

Mary H.
http://stalecheerios.com/blog

mulerider said...

horsndogluvr, I love Elizabeth Moon and loved Hunting Party and the whole Heris Serrano series. Wouldn't having one of those artificial horses to practice on be wonderful?

As far as the Mikmar bits go, all I'm going to say is, "I don't get it." I know how I train a horse and I know how I instruct riders and I know how I use bits and I don't see how Mikmar bits would fit into my world at all.

katphoti said...

I held a free gaited horse clinic out here, and I was asked a question by an audience member while the MFT was in the ring showing the fox trot: what is the bit she's wearing? It was a corrective bit (not my choice, but the rider had good, soft hands and was using the bit correctly). Is that a special Fox Trotter bit? I said let me say a word about bits here for a second: IT IS OUR RESPONSIBLITY TO KNOW HOW THE BIT WORKS BEFORE WE PUT IT IN OUR HORSE'S MOUTH. I told the audicence that ANY horse can be ridden in a snaffle bit or bitless as long as we do the right things when we're riding him. We are responsible for the horse's well being when we are on his back, and just throwing a bit in his mouth and expecting X result without learning about the bit is only going to cause trouble.

I agree with you TJM, as far as your post concerning the items themselves and your comments here. I am using bitless bridles on some very confused horses with my students right now, including my husband's horse. I learned from two different trainers that instead of going UP, let's go DOWN, back to basics and take the bit completely out of the equation. Either go back to a plain snaffle or go bitless. Suddenly, ALL of these horses are now listening to the cues in the riders hands and body, not fussing about the bit. Every horse I have met that has had bitting problems that has been taken out of the bit and put in either a REAL hackamore (NOT a mechanical one) or a bitless bridle has suddenly relaxed and quieted down. We can work them back up to the bit if we want to, but for now I'm more worried about them learning how to be ridden and how to respond to cues rather than what's in their mouth. Why mess around with different bits to get results when we can get completely away from that and work a horse back up to it if we want to? I have learned that the bigger/more complex the bit, the more likely you are to have an accident.

But back to my original thought. I don't think we should blame the catalogs, though. We can't blame Schneiders for selling a product. They are just putting a picture and the manufacturer's description in their catalog. They need to make money, and they have to do it how they need to do it. I have seriously considered opening a tack store for gaited horses myself, but the problem is I'd never make any money: my store would be full of various kinds of snaffles, short shanked mullen mouth bits, bitless bridles, hackamores, and quality saddles that fit gaited horses (English and Western). That would be it. I would never make any money because I wouldn't have the amount of stuff needed to make money.

We CAN blame the BNTs who endorse such crap, and we can blame whomever came up with the concept.

For the record, I do like Schneiders, only because they have good prices and a really good variety. And they sell some saddle seat stuff I can use (like saddles, show bridles and browbands). For the most part, we have to be good instructors and educate the public how to use products and show people they can take that high port spade bit out of their horse's mouth and suddenly he WILL slow down and be quiet and easy to handle because we've given him relief from pain.

katphoti said...

Oh yeah, concerning the PRICES....

I do NOT see how a bit that is $100+ is going to make my horse a better riding horse. I learned really fast that a $20 snaffle, when you know how to USE a snaffle correctly, is all you need. I also am a fan of Wonder bits for gaited horses, but I always tell people not to buy the Wonder bit brand because they're $50+--just get the $20 knock off and you'll be fine.

Now don't get me wrong--I know there are some bits out there that are made so they are well balanced and have certain kinds of steel or whatever to create them, so they are going to be a few extra $$$. But honestly, half the time you're just paying for a name, and that is just ridiculous to me.

cattypex said...

Never having brought along a young horse, this is all theoretical to me. But I was thinking .... The thing about bits, and especially so-called "corrective" bits....

I remember reading in a James Herriott novel a story about a horse who had some kind of traumatic internal event and NOTHING was working, so in desperation, the vets went back into their "museum" and dug out some equipment to bleed the horse. As in, Middle Ages technology.

And.... it worked.

They never used it again, but for that horse, at that time, and for that health event.... it worked.

So......... if you've been training horses forever, and have accumulated an unusual assortment of equipment, you might only use a weird bit ONCE, on one horse, for a week. And then he "gets it."

Now, I'm not talking CRUEL.... but something that touches him just a little differently?

No one in my area would know a bosal from a bosalita.... they just leave on the same bosal and hook 'em up with a snaffle.

You know, a lot of modern Western trainers start horses nicely (if way too young) in bosals & snaffles... get 'em nice and soft and responsive, and then go and ruin it all with the almighty Headset.


Schneiders was always about glitz & saddle seat stuff when I was a kid. Being of limited means (babysitting & Xmas presents), I made do with Chicks, State Line and my friend's mom's tack store.

I always hated those cheap leather bridles & especially generic curb bits from TSC.

I think that a system for rating bits would be awesome. Maybe 2 ratings, for horse and rider.

Tuffy Horse said...

I have to say I'm perplexed about the comment saying the "bit is a rider's bit".
That's complete hogwash. Unless it's a therapeutic issue, where the bridle has some special modification for a special needs person to use it then the bit is ALWAYS about the HORSE.

Paul,
I've got a collection of bits that covers one peg board wall of my tack room. I've got antique, obscure, made from weird materials, stuff that someone who had to be stoned dreamed up, and things that came with problem horses I've bought. The bits are on my wall for a reason: because they aren't good enough to put on my bridles, which hang on the opposite wall.
When I give clinics on bitting I always fill a five gallon bucket with the worst examples to show the people in attendance. We call it the "bit bucket of shame"

When Mikmar bits were first getting notice I studied up on them and even tried a few out. What I found was that they were gimmicky and they didn't do anything a return to basics couldn't fix. I've done bit testing for companies, including American Bridle and Bit, and know a gimmick when I see one. The leverage points on the flexion bit are staggering. I'd like to see it used with the fish scale test, but I'm not paying $169.00 to do it.

The Bob Hart halter and the metal chinned noseband really hack me off. They are endorsed and written up to make them seem acceptable and they are really problem items. I'd hate to see anyone using them.

Tracy M

Tuffy Horse said...

Catty Pex wrote:
>I think that a system for rating bits would be awesome. Maybe 2 ratings, for horse and rider.

It would be great. I have an old cavalry manual from the late 1800s that rates bits and rider levels, so the new recruits would be brought along consistently. It would hurt for Schneiders or Myler to rate a bit with a severity level and then put a rider level under that. It might save some novice from being flipped over on.


Tracy M

Morgan_Horse_Queen said...

We stabled next to Bob Hart at the Buckeye all arab show in the early 80s and he used those halters on *all* of his horses for every day use. Never understood why. Just another example of Arab WTF - they really are not crazy horses and do not require such severe methods to handle.

Cycle said...

I can't even COMPREHEND that Mikmar shit.. I was looking at their website a few days ago and feeling kind of ill.

katphoti said...

Tracy, what's the fish scale test? I've never heard of it myself.

Paul said:

"That is what the mikmar was made to keep from happening, the stopping of frying a horses mouth was why it was created."

I think you just proved the point that TJM is trying to make. If the mikmars are designed to keep the rider from hurting the horse, then the rider isn't being trained the right way in the first place. Once again, another gimmick to get to the end result quicker.

My big experiment is going to be when my foal is born. I've made the decision to go completely bitless from start to finish. We'll see if it works--I am trying to learn the Nurtural Bridle as best I can before I do it.

Tuffy Horse said...

Katphoti,

The fish scale test is where you take a regular fishing scale and clip it to the reins. Then slowly pull and see at what angle the bit turns for each pound of pressure. It's best to test with your arm between the bit mouthpiece and the curb chain, because no one should test this crap on a horse. Most people are shocked at how little pressure is needed to pinch the heck out of your arm.

I really need to post a video of it.


Tracy M

photogchic said...

Man..I get all those catalogs and never look at the bits because I use my bitless of a snaffle. Just looking at some of those pics hurt my mouth...no way any of those are going anywhere near my horse. I think you have inspired me to send some emails to many different folks.

HorseCommonSense said...

Some of the equipment out there today makes me wonder... do some believe they are riding ravishing, rabid pitbulls... ??? They sell the shit outta this stuff too! ??? Disturbing.

I am constantly "arguing" with clients to throw that shit out, some do, but some argue, and I just shake my head.

You wanna 10,000 opinions... buy a horse! The problem with all those opinions... 98% of them are bullshit and some horse owners "live" by them.

Like the old saying goes....
It's NOT the horse... It's the rider!!!! or owner.

cattypex said...

Yep.....

The other gigantic problem is horse/rider mismatch.

I'd say that 95% of my 4H'ers confidence issues could be solved with a different horse.

Too many poorly-trained or unbroke horses being bought by too many parents whose only concern is the bottom line.

Paul said...

Folks, you are talking about a bit you know nothing about. If you really tried one you would understand. I do not need one, I have seen what this bit can do with little pressure. I do not use this bit on every horse but you could. Just as I said before, if you turn your children lose on a bicycle with no training wheels or aids your wrong. If you can find an aid to help riders or horses if they are having problems that actually works then use it. Even back to basics is a gimmick.
Buzz words for supposed natural horsemen. The wide flat mouth piece on this bit sits comfortably and can not do the damage that a 1/4 inch snaffle would and can do to a horses mouth. It uses the basics of a bosal and bit rolled into one. Kinda like a side pull, but better. You cant test the pressure that a snaffle has on the vice grip it has on the bars of a horses mouth. When you pull back on a snaffle it makes a V and the out side of the bit crushes inward and downward on a horses mouth. Why do you think you start colts with them, the reason is they get a horses attention and they cant get away from them. I work hard to try and refrain from pulling down and back with a snaffle due to the pain it can cause. Think about the way it works. I almost always use a snaffle due to the way it works and keeps a horses attention. I use a curb when showing when required, but not till my horse is 5 or older. Moving to a curb is something that is hard to work out with most horses and riders, but what I have seen and heard is not the curb bit that throws the riders or horse for a loop it is the one hand thing that gets them. That is why I work my horses one handed with a snaffle prior to going to the curb. That is where the mikmar helps the inexperienced rider. What I have seen is that it supports from all directions and the riders hands are used less and less. The seat and legs are the foundation of the riders communication with the horse, but it is easy for a rider to lose control of themselves and the horse when transitioning from the snaffle and two hands to the curb and one hand. I have found that the mikmar helps in this situation and for the horses sake I will continue to use this aid when needed. When a rider has caused such a malfunction with a horse that it becomes a problem horse and shows up on my doorstep I will use this bit from time to time to help communicate with a horse. Its funny that folks say that it is harsh, I have put this bit in a horses mouth after using a snaffle to make sure of where the horse was and what problems I was up against. No matter how kind I was with my hands with the snaffle the horse would have their ears pinned to their head and mad at the whole world. I put this bit in their mouth and within 30 minutes they were looking forward through the bridle and happy as a lark, moving forward and relaxed. Call it what you may, but the thing works and if you want to live in the dark ages then go ahead. You use computers, phones, probably a GPS but for some reason you think an experienced rider should be able to climb on a horse and do everything right? You dont think that while you are schooling that young rider that the horse is not hurt or disturbed. Naive.
We are human, we do not drive a model "A" anymore because there is better.
I will use this bit and tell folks to use this bit, because it is kind and it works.

Paul said...

cattypex, you hit the nail on the head. That is the root of all problems for the most part. Unbroken horses being bought due to parents or riders buying something they should not be sold. It really makes me upset to get to these open shows and see a rider in the novice rider division and then see them in the novice horse division? The shows need to set more rigid rules on those things.

cattypex said...

Paul, I will defer to your expertise with the Mikmar. Looking at it, I can see how the mouthpiece would be forgiving. The cord running through it is exotic, but if it helps a rider develop good hands while sparing the horse, then I'm all for its PROPER use.

You're actually right that "Back to Basics" could be considered a gimmick - really, what's natural about riding a horse anyway? Or wearing clothes, or reading a book? "Natural" is kind of a bankrupt term in many ways.

I think what *I* would consider "basic" involves: a minimum of equipment, a stress-free forward-moving horse, a tactful and kind rider. If the horse and rider work happy in a snaffle, great. If they work best without any bit at all, great. If they go through years of careful training and work happy in full vaquero gear or a full bridle, wonderful.

Whatever works, and keeps everybody happy.

Jennifer said...

My philosophy is very simple.

You use the mildest bit to which that particular horse will reliably respond.

UNLESS you are doing high finesse work and know what you're doing, that is, such as high level dressage in a double bridle or vaquero work with a spade bit (which I know nothing about). In that case, the 'harsher' bit is actually used to help achieve the goal of reducing the cues to the minimum.

If you watch a *good* dressage ride, then the rider's signals should be all but invisible. This is also why dressage riders use spurs. For refinement and precision.

(Anky does not qualify as a good dressage rider. When I've seen videos of her riding, the horse wants her to get off. Seriously).

However, I would note. Some horses should not be ridden in a broken snaffle...if your horse happens to have a narrow jaw and a low palate, then a single jointed snaffle has almost the same action as one of those nightmare high ports on the animal's mouth. Mouth conformation is very important to look at when choosing a bit.

And personally (I know nothing about bosals, being a pure English person) if I need extra brakes, I rather prefer a full cheek, which renders a one rein stop far more effective...without increasing the harshness of the bit in situations where you *aren't* trying to stop in a hurry.

cattypex said...

I like full cheeks, too.... simply because they look pretty ; )

Don't forget the keepers!

Paul said...

Jennifer and cattypex, I agree, use only what you have to and when not needed hang it back up. A full check snaffle is a good bit. I used them driving horses and it works really well. I also have started many horses in my life and continue to do so, with the philosophy of use the least amount of anything to get what you are looking for. The mikmar is not a tool I would use to get brakes on a horse. The mikmar in the right hands with a problem horse communicates softly and quietly very quickly and puts the horse at ease. A horse that throws their head will stop throwing their head using the bit not because it hurts but because the bit communicates so well with the horse. I have seen horses that when wearing a snaffle throw their head so bad that they almost fall over, put the mikmar on their head and just start to ride as you would any horse and the horse would completely stop throwing their head in no more than a couple of 30 minute rides. Like I said it is not for every horse or rider but it could be used on every horse by every rider and do just fine. The bit will not sore or hurt. It is like any bit, but is way more forgiving to a horse with a rider with bad hands.

horsndogluvr said...

Paul, I don't get you. You have contradicted yourself a few times; like saying that the meanness of the single joint snaffle is what you use to get a young horse's attention, then saying you use the gentlest thing possible.

A new rider should stay on a good school horse until their hands are quiet. I don't care what Daddy bought them!

I never had training wheels, and my bit progression as I learned was snaffle, pelham, curb, full bridle; at the same time leading rein, leading and bearing rein, neck rein and double reins.

My horse progression was kid-safe old plug, friendly responsive horse needing a bit more control, more exciting horse, "hot" but well-trained horse, green horse, unridden horse.

The only gimmick I used was a tie-down, on the green horse, because he learned to run away from the bit w/ his nose horizontal. Once he learned the bit was for communication, not torture, I hung it up.

The best teacher is experience over time. Using gimmicks to get a desired result from either horse or rider, is just a hurry up.

That's my not-so-humble opinion, anyway.

Ruthie

katphoti said...

Jennifer, agreed, esp. the dressage part. I am also a fan of the full cheek snaffle--the mother of my future foal works best in it.

Paul said: "When you pull back on a snaffle it makes a V and the out side of the bit crushes inward and downward on a horses mouth."

That's why I teach my students NOT to pull back, no matter what the bit is. I teach them the one rein stop, and I learned an even MORE amazing way to get a horse to stop and back that is actually working with both a bit and bitless that requires extremely little mouth pressure. I teach my students that when you ask for your horse to make a circle, you LIFT your inside rein--you don't pull it. Pulling is not an option.

I'm not trying to argue with you, Paul, but bits are still gimmicks overall. For the record, I do not believe in "natural" horsemanship--I had a John Lyons certified trainer tell me once that there is nothing natural about how we treat horses. If the horses had their druthers, I'm sure they would prefer us to just feed them and keep them safe in a big pasture/turnout and never ride them! :)

Anyway, what I do believe in is not relying on the bit to do the work and relying on building a partnership with your horse. Groundwork and learning to ride with your body and NOT focusing on the bit is where this happens. It's why the bitless bridle DOES work. In fact, I like it better because it guides the horse's whole head, not just his mouth. I don't like Dr. Cook's bridle--to me it's not as effective as the Nurtural Bridle.

And heck, I'd prefer a Model A Ford because it's so simple and I could fix it myself! The problem with getting more and more "stuff", the more we have to rely on others to "fix" our problems. Cars, appliances, horse tack, you name it. Good for those in the industry, bad for those who choose to ignore that fact!

However, I DO commend you for learning how the bits work and using them accordingly. I think that's very important in general when it comes to being an instructor--know your gadgets and how to use them!

Trojan Mouse said...

Paul,

It's obvious from the links that you used to get here that your pimping for Mikmar.

T Jean Maus

mulerider said...

I was doing a Google search for something else and stumbled across this:

http://www.equiworld.net/uk/horsecare/saddlery/bitseverity.htm

It describes a bit severity rating scale developed by Dr. Deb Bennett, taken from an old Equus article.

That led me to Dr. Bennett's web site where I discovered this 8-hr DVD course, The Anatomy of Bitting.

http://www.equinestudies.org/esi_bookstore/anatomy_of_bitting_page.html

It looks fascinating, but at $119.95, I won't be buying it anytime soon.

cattypex said...

Oh man... wish you could check it out, like Netflix....

Good article - Deb Bennett doesn't get nearly the attention that she should.

katphoti said...

OMG, CP, THAT'S IT! We all should start a rental system for horse videos!!!!! What should we call it? Horseflix?

I love Deb Bennett's stuff. Her article about true collection is my mantra!

Yes, I agree with you, hndl. Paul has contradicted himself several times. I also learned English and Western equitation and showmanship on dead-broke plug horses. In fact, because I advanced so quickly, I had to move up to the more advanced horses because I had to be challenged by horses that would fight me here and there! :)

Overall, I believe that the worst thing we can do is teach green riders on their own horses. Everyone should learn to ride on an old plug so they can make the mistakes with a horse that's more forgiving. But I guess maybe I'm just a bit of a horse idealist there... Maybe someday I'll have a barn full of lesson horses and when people come to me saying their horse won't gait, I can have them ride a lesson horse and learn very quickly WHY the horse won't gait! :)

Paul said...

Folks no contradiction, snaffles are not nice and if you think they are you are wrong. You must use a snaffle correctly and also use the correct one for the horse just as you would any curb bit. The two types of bits work different but both have their draw backs. I use a snaffle because it keeps a horses attention and two hands are better than one until the horse is ready. I am not pimping the mikmar bit, just telling you that what you are seeing in that bit is not what it does. Green riders need to be taught on their horse but that horse needs to be a broke well trained horse not a green horse. You are correct nothing we do with a horse is natural, natural is out on the plains eating grass and not ever being touched. All bits are aids, they aid us to steer and stop our horse. Of course we use our whole body to do this, but the bit, bitless or bosal aids use to do this. If you think that the good ole broke horse wants you to teach that green rider how to ride on him or her, your probably wrong. Dont you think that a good aid is worth your horses mouth and piece of mind even if the horse is broke. Folks it is easier to push a horse with the end of your finger vice using your palm. A bit is the same way. smaller the diameter the harsher the bit, whether it be a curb or snaffle.

cattypex said...

Well, the absolutely most heinous things featured in that post are Bob Hart's evil halter, the super-high port bit (it just doesn't look RIGHT, even for an expert), and that twisted-wire thing.

mulerider said...

Because it's so difficult to convey tone via writing, I'm going to state up front that I am not being snarky, I am asking a question that I think is legitimate and that I'm genuinely interested in hearing the answer to.

Paul, you keep saying that the the snaffle is so harsh and that the Mikmar is so gentle. I am having a difficult time visualizing this. I looked at the Mikmar web site hoping for some diagrams or videos, but couldn't find anything.

Please pick one of the Mikmar bits, preferably that one shown in the OP with the string across the nose, since it's relatively complicated, and explain to me exactly where the pressure points are and what the forces are when one uses that bit, as compared to where the pressure points are and what the forces are on a simple eggbutt snaffle.

I really do want to understand the basis for your claims about the Mikmar, I'm just having a hard time getting a visual picture.

cattypex said...

I don't like that fake snaffle Mikmar AT ALL, but the one with the string thru the nose... I can see its potential use IN THE RIGHT HANDS, and if Paul is getting the happy horse results that he claims, more power to him. I can see how it might work - IN THE RIGHT HANDS. The curb strap vs. chain makes me think it's not all that evil.

I dunno if I agree with Paul that that Mikmar is a tool to develop good rider hands - I learned good hands by:
a) developing a good seat on the lungeline
and then
b) good instruction on developing body awareness
and
c) sarcastic trainers who said very inappropriate things about all the AQHA huntseat girls with their see-sawing hands thumbs down in their crotches and hunched shoulders.

The Sharon Camarillo thing is HORRID.

And I can't handle that crank noseband. I don't like crank nosebands PERIOD. Why would you even want to put something on your horse called a Crank-anything? Cranking your horse's head down, forcing him in a frame, that's WRONG, any way you cut it.

horsndogluvr said...

Horseflix already exists, and Dr. Deb's bitting set is there:

http://www.horseflix.com/bits-c-105.html?osCsid=mht90edfvtgrnlgcq5j6rmuja6

I think I may join. The stuff on RFDTV just ain't doing it for me.

As for that Mikmar POS,
1. Straight bar, flat (meaning sharp edges), ported, w/roller.
2. Narrow cord over the nose.

Pull back, and the sensitive nose is pinched towards the lower jaw, and vice versa for the curb strap.

Pull back, and that nasty bit pinches the horse's tongue and pokes the roof of the mouth.

I will say that the shanks are bent in such a way as to keep the rider from being able to completely destroy the horse.

Still a gimmick, and a pretty nasty one.

Ruthie

Paul said...

Ruthie, It is a very smooth bit round on edges cord does not pinch due to the fact pressure is placed in three places evenly.
Talking about something you know nothing about. Flat round edges more coverage on the bars less likely to hurt the bars. When a bit is smaller in circumference there is less of the bit setting on the bar and much greater pressure to the bar. poke yourself with a finger hard and see what it feels like and then press with your palm and see what it feels like. Not hard do the math

Cut-N-Jump said...

* sniff * sniff * sniff *

Oh, man...

Anyone ever notice how contradiction and bullshit, tend to have the same stench about them?

I haven't had the time to gather things and point it all out, as it seems a few others have overlooked them.

Just because someone claims to have been doing something for XX number of years- doesn't mean they have been doing them right all that time, or have anything left to learn or build upon...

Carrie Giannandrea said...

"Just because someone claims to have been doing something for XX number of years- doesn't mean they have been doing them right all that time, or have anything left to learn or build upon."

HEAR HEAR!!!

Thanks Cut-n-Jump!

Carrie Giannandrea
Dances with Horses
Formula One Farms

Paul said...

folks, yes I have been doing this for a lot of years, and have been doing it correctly. But by no means do I know everything, and would never say that I do. If you do meet someone that says they know it all, then run the other way. Not sure about contradiction, I use a snaffle because it does make a horse pay attention, I start with a very large and smooth snaffle and work may way down in size until I receive the responses I am looking for. If the larger works, then great, also use it with as much care as I can. You should always be open to new things, every horse is different, what works with one might not work on another. I am just seeing a lot of folks here that think a snaffle is a kind bit? There is no kind bit, some kinder than others but the hands are what need to be kind.

Cut-N-Jump said...

CG- Does my post give you any indication of what is about to come?

cattypex said...

CNJ... you'd better post something good!!!

; )

Carrie Giannandrea said...

"I am just seeing a lot of folks here that think a snaffle is a kind bit? There is no kind bit, some kinder than others but the hands are what need to be kind. "

Then that is what you should have said and left it at that.

If you do indeed work for Mikmar, then be honest about it.

The horse and the rider need to understand one another, they also need to be on the same page. If the horse is a high level GP horse, then forget this whole conversation. Not many folks can ride one.

But for your everyday "average" level of rider with the average level of knowledge and the average horse....a nice fat snaffle is the best choice.

Stepping it up a notch or two requires learning on the part of the rider and the horse...in the kindest most sane way possible.

I think the Bit Level and Rider Level idea is awesome...whoever thunk that up, go with it! Most everyone would back you up!

I have a very happy and responsive horse under saddle with a fat three piece snaffle...guess what?, we are learning driving too, he has a rubber bit....'cause I love him and don't want him to be upset with my inadequacies! So, until we get this down, he will either have only his halter or the rubber bit It takes two and I need the "learning first"!!

Carrie Giannandrea
Dances with Horses
Formula One Farms

hope4more said...

Trojan Mouse....would you post some pictures of bits you use or like best. I am begining to get paranoid at what I have and feel like I need to toss everything and start over, although I mostly use snaffles.....maybe I am using the wrong ones? Bits are something that just fry my brain. You go to a big show and there are walls floor to ceiling full of bits and I stand there with my mouth hanging open because I have not a clue, and I have asked for explanations but everyone has a different opinion and some bits look just nasty.

Paul said...

Dont work for mikmar. Just know a good thing when I see it work. Rubber bits can tear the bars faster than metal. Seen it done by a horse not the rider. Of course it was due to a stupid rider. Rider tied the horse with the reins, horse jerked up, back and side ways, rubber grabbed the bar and split split it.
All bits are harsh, as I said.

Paul said...

By the way, I did say that a mikmar is not for every horse but can be for every horse. What this means is any bit can work on any horse, it depends on the hands. And yes, a good fat snaffle bit is a great place to start. I have a curb bit you would probably like, my mare seems to like it, it is like a nice big fat snaffle with a mullen mouth with a 2 inch shank, that is what I usually use to transition to a curb for young horses. It is call a colt bit, really quite kind. Hard to get much leverage with, would not recommend to anyone with a horse with a hard head, they just seem to blow it off and act like it is not there.

mulerider said...

There is a Horseflix?! Why didn't I know this? :-) Thanks, Ruthie.

Paul, you still didn't answer my question, you just re-stated the same stuff you've been saying all along. And I'm still not getting it.

For example, you say the Mikmar mouthpiece lays flat across the bars of the horse's mouth and is more comfortable than the round snaffle. But what happens when you pull on the reins? If the round snaffle mouthpiece rotates, it doesn't matter because its, well, round. If you have a flat mouthpiece with a port in the middle and it rotates, now you have the narrow edge of the mouthpiece digging into the bars of the mouth plus the port poking them in the roof of the mouth. I don't understand how this is better.

If I'm not visualizing this properly, then please explain it to me so that I can visualize it correctly.

Carrie Giannandrea said...

Go CNJ....let him have it!!

I really have no stomach for ramrods!

I will put my money where my mouth is! I will not buy from any catalog that sells torture devices, unknowingly or knowingly!

Yes a rubber bit can be ugly too, but you sir, can stop reading into my statements....anyone who knows me knows I am slow at training, slow at progressing, soft handed and happy I have such a sweet, patient and willing horse!


Carrie Giannandrea
Dances with Horses
Formula One Farms

Cut-N-Jump said...

Where to start? Where to start?

One thing is for sure, I will likely exceed bloggers character limit. Anyone who knows me is probably expecting that… Anyone who doesn’t, care to place your bets?

Snacks and refreshments should be brought out too. Beer and popcorn anyone? Yeah, it may be a little early still for some, but grab what’s handy and get comfy. The games are about to begin!

That Bob Hart Jr. halter is a grand display of “I am a dumbfuck and don’t know how to handle a horse!” If you cannot handle a horse wearing a normal halter- maybe you need to change your hobby. If it is your career- obvious display that you suck at it! Time for a change, that is loooong overdue... You aren’t doing anyone, least of which would be the horses, any favors.
__________________________

Those mikmar pieces of crap are about the hoakiest things anyone could ever lay eyes on. Paul, your defense of them, attempts to explain how they work and why choose to use them, does nothing to support or increase your level of knowledge, let alone any credibility in any matter concerning the treatment or training of horses.

P-> I would like to know what type of bits you would suggest? I see a lot of bitching but not a lot of hey this is what I would use.<

Why even bother to ask if you are just going to try to turn everything around to suit yourself? Were you testing the waters here before you exposed yourself? See the issue here, is that none of us have gotten to the point of using a torturous contraption such as any of those featured, because we know what the hell we are doing. If you can’t get the horse to cooperate or do as you ask without using this crap- you have failed the horse in learning how to use simple things and clear cues to get the response you desire.

Yes- any bit can be used in a manner which can make it deemed harsh. That depends on the hands holding the reins. But it also depends o how well the bridle is adjusted and where the bit sits in their mouth.

Yes- the thickness of the mouthpiece has a direct affect on the amount of ‘bite’ the bit has. Hell, Schneidders even offers that tidbit as a “Trainers Tip”, but rather in hopes that people may buy them in an attempt to gain control over their horse. Control they do not have, because they lack the respect from their horse. That lack of respect is from not knowing how to handle their horse in the first place- so they go out seeking things that may intimidate or cause pain, thinking the horse will just submit. Many times the horses do, but only for a matter of time. When they have had enough- it gets ugly and damn fast. People can get hurt or killed in the process.

P-> I do know one thing, you need to research the mikmar line of bits, they are for the rider not the horse.

Would that be because the rider lacks the talent, skill or knowledge to be handling that particular horse? Sure sounds like it. Maybe the rider should be wearing it instead then? The horse, their comfort and safety should be one of the main concerns for any trainer. If the horse is not comfortable or safe- you have failed to ensure that for them, in acting as their trainer. If the horse is a whack job with serious issues- many times it is a reaction, learned early on in response from poor handling, riding or training previously in the horses life. Again, it boils down to people creating the issues.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Part 2-

P->I do not use one, but have had riders with less experience use these bits even at shows for warm up.

So you will encourage clients to use things you do not? Brilliant! No truer testament for the rest of us to believe anything you have to say. Not just clients, but a client with less experience? So if the horse reacts in a bad way do you expect them to know what to do? How to handle the situation? How to keep things from getting any worse? Sorry to say, but that’s an avalanche of a lawsuit in the making there.

Let’s all take another look at the very last part of that statement there, Paul. You are having them use these bits even at shows for warm up. Haven’t you noticed the general consensus of opinion is this: If the horse or the rider is not ready, then why even bother taking them to the show? Doing so is another fine example of whoring yourself out to those who are paying you. You do what they wish, instead of what is best for their horse. Granted, if you don’t they may move on to another trainer that caters to them. It happens a lot and is a good example of how competition in the show ring has deteriorated to where it now resides.

If you haven’t figured out how to ride properly or cue the horse for the correct gaits, departures or transitions- you aren’t ready, save the money. If the horse isn’t trained properly, carrying themselves correctly or responding as needed- stay home and work on things. Failing to do so? Well, it just shows us you are another one of those “win at all costs” type. Easy to see where you stand, and why things smell so bad when you are around.

Sorry, skipping past a bit of the bullshit to move things along…

P-> You just might want to try that mikmar if you are moving to a shank bit, and pay attention to how the horse reacts to your hands and how the bit works so you can be as gentle with any other shanked bit as you can be with the mikmar.

If you are using your hands as gentle with the mm, why wouldn’t you be able to use your hands ‘as gentle’ with ANY bit? Say like, I dunno, one that is legal to use when showing? If your hands are that good, meaning quiet and gentle- then why would the mm be needed? If you are doing such a great job as a trainer- why do you suddenly need to pay attention to how the horse reacts to your hands? You should already know! If your hands are quiet and the horse is moving as they should be- there is absolutely NO Need to switch over to using a correction bit. NONE!

If the horse has issues that resort to the need of a correction bit being used- I would be willing to bet, it is because of poor handling at some point in their life. Otherwise- if things are going well from start to finish- there is no need.


Sheesh- All of that ^ ^ ^ and I only commented on small parts of your first two posts. Shall I continue? There’s plenty more! This was already 3 pages in Word… I can try to keep it a bit shorter.

cattypex said...

Carrie... I remember visiting your website and being very impressed by what I saw. Hope your farm is doing OK!

CNJ... whatcha got?

cattypex said...

...and now I see it.

CNJ.... FTW. You have convinced me... because when Paul started going on a leeeetle too much about letting bad-handed riders on the horses.... that gave me pause.

I think that it's a sellout that some trainers feel compelled to undergo, put inexperienced or lazy riders on horses they have no business showing, because of the $$$$. I'm thankful that I'll never be in that position, because I'd probly get fired.

And when it was pointed out about what happens when the bit rotates... hmmmmm, since I don't deal with exotic or Western bits, I hadn't thought about that.

I DO think that a snaffle gets a colt's attention... because he's never had a bit in his mouth before!!

Carrie Giannandrea said...

Hi Cattypex!!

All is well here! Ponies are all fat and happy!

I still have the rescue TB mare too, 'cause I am so damn persnikety about where she goes.

Getting ready for winter and my vacation back east!

How are you and your horses doing?

Carrie Giannandrea
Dances with Horses
Formula One Farms

Cut-N-Jump said...

Round 2, ding, ding, ding…

There’s the bell!

P->A three piece snaffle is used more for a horses poll flexion, as where a two piece snaffle with a small mouth piece diameter helps with a horse with bad side flexion ie turning.

Ahem- either bit can be used to achieve Both poll flexion and lateral flexion. That is, if you know how to use them and how to achieve either one or a combination of both. The thickness of the mouthpiece doesn’t make any difference. What does, is how you use your hands, body and legs.

P-> Try starting a horse with a bosal, teach them to turn and stop and go all three gaits, then try a large snaffle and see what you get?

Well if you know what you are doing and are consistent in your work with the horse- you should be able to get the same results.

P-> Tell you what rebecca it is not a torture device like you think, that is one of the kindest bits to a horse that I have ever placed in a horses mouth. I wince every time I see a horse jumping with a snaffle that is untrained and throws that nose out against that bit and then throws its head straight up in pain from the misuse and misguided training.

Nice that you throw in a comparison of a jumper that is by your words- “untrained” and doing things to evade pain. I know a woman who does ride in a MM to practice jumping. The horse doesn’t need it. There are a host of other issues involved in her case, but the use of the mm bit is not the resolution to any of it.

P-> I did a lot of research on that line of bits prior to my first purchase and told myself that we would try it and see if it is what it says it is. I can tell you that it is a gentle bit and can be very helpful to probably most riders. Their horse would be way better off if they did own one. The horse would spend a lot more time relaxed.

So you looked into and eventually bought something you have repeatedly stated, you do not use. Probably would have been better off saving your money then… If this bit was so helpful to probably most riders and their horse may be more relaxed- it sounds like the relaxation could also come from them learning how to ride better, quiet their hands or just stay off the horse altogether.

P-> This tool is what frank evans said it to be. A tool for the rider that saves the horse. Young riders can learn the correct feel and not at the horses expense. It helps the horse and inexperienced rider to make that connection without all the pain and fighting.

First of all, if there is any pain or fighting, there is an issue that a bit will not magically solve. If they haven’t mastered an independent seat, there is no reason to put reins in their hands yet. Let the rider work on learning or fixing one thing at a time.


P-> I am working on my mare and she is five. I showed her when she was younger but very limited due to just what you said. She was not ready to flex and give in and carry herself as she should. I will just take my time and I know she will come to it in time.

In the Arab industry it is the norm to start them as 3 y/o’s. We had a filly we started as a 3 y/o. Then because a few things like life got in the way, she sat until she was 4. Getting her going again was not an issue and we rode her until we sold her. If your horse was not ready to flex and give, it seems to me there is an issue with your technique. Putting a correction bit in her mouth just shows you are willing to use gimmicky crap to cover up for your own shortcomings, rather than fix the problem in the first place.



You recommended looking at the bit and thinking carefully about how it works. In doing so, others may notice it could very well create far more issues than it will fix.

Cut-N-Jump said...

No prob CP! I think you have come to expect such things from me.

Mulerider- If you look at the bit in the OP with the cord over the nose, you will notice a few things when considering how it works.

One of them being that if the reins are attached to the loop end of the cord, using one rein alone puts tension on the cord- which slides through the 'loops' and puts an amount of upward pressure on the other side of the bit, as well as tightening things around the nose and creating some amount of poll pressure as well. Probably not the intended result that you wanted.

Then look at it as if you were to clip the reins to the rings. The cord doesn't do anything and it works like a normal curb. No amount of sooper seekrit handling or over gentile hands needed there then, is there?

I guess common sense is not a common thing in Paul's world.

Carrie Giannandrea said...

CNJ...done in your "as usual" flair!

Thank you!


Carrie Giannandrea
Dances with Horse
Formula One Farms

Cut-N-Jump said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cut-N-Jump said...

Thanks CG!

Just doing my best to keep things on the sensable path and holding out good thoughts for the horses.

Carry on.

Paul said...

not reading into anything just making a statement. Rubber bits can be very bad as just any bit can be. Did not say you were bad with one. Just quit knockin the mikmar bits until you have used one and know what it is about.

Paul said...

what do you people think a snaffle does when you pull on it, it pinches and creates a V in the mouth that is basically a point not round and goes strait for the roof of the mouth.

Paul said...

I always use a bit before I tell anyone to try it. I have a mare that is a nut do to all the bad things that can happen to a horse, green riders, bad hands, bought for a kid. You name it it was done to her, I tried everything from soup to nuts on that mare and believe me when I say that the mikmar is the only thing that would work on her. She is pleasant to ride now, she no longer throws her head, does not act crazy and enjoys our rides. Apparently you you do not read. I said that I personally would not use one unless there was a reason. Any green rider has bad hands, I work to shorten the time that they do. I am talking about riders and horses that have won year end high point at several local show series not just one. Just like any sport, horses get nervous and so do riders, you can work at home till the skin wears off your hands and it still does not get you completely ready for the show ring. Show horses are athletes and are asked to do more than the horse you take out for a spin. Even though all my horses and riders trail ride and just take sunday spins because it is good for horse and rider. You have proved to me you know very little of what you speak about and tell half truths and never want to talk about the real spin on bits. As I said above snaffles are one of the highest port bits you can use.

Paul said...

Showing horses can be fun for the horse and rider and I strive to make sure it is. If it is not fun for the horse and rider I work hard to make sure that it gets that way or I tell the rider to back off and do more work and try again. But tension can get the best of any horse, you can work at the barn forever and still not match the atmosphere of a show, so you go ahead and live in the dark ages and I will continue to strive to do the best for horse and rider. I can tell you this, I had a wise man tell me one time that the more you ride a horse the better it gets, that meant to him ride it to town like he did when he was a boy and man, pull a plow with it and ride it to the dance after a hard day of pulling that plow. I could not do all that, but I did ride the 6 miles to town 5 days a week and most of the time rode across the farm and alot of other places vice taking the truck. That would be on the average about 80 miles a week, and my horse an MFTHBA registered horse was one of the best horses I ever owned. And that old man told me he would be better if I could have worked him with a plow and rode that many miles. He was smart and correct. So no bullshit just facts that you do not want to hear, a horse is not a pet they are live stock but the best friend I have ever had. I treat them with respect but expect them to do what I ask, just as you should.
I have owned hundreds of horses and started as many as 4 a week for 6 months out of the year for many years of my life, trained, shoed, and cared for them before me. Have had them throw me, sit on me roll over on me and break many of my bones, but when that cowboy needed his horse to rope off of the next week he was ready. So you can talk shit all you want but horses are not just for leisure and when I was working all those horses with problems that fought me no matter how kind I work to be, I wish that I would have found the mikmar earlier. so my suggestion is to shut up about how much of an expert you are, I am not an expert just a horsemen and cowboy, I do not train riders for money I do it for a past time. Find that passing on good knowledge is my duty. And one thing that I always answer when I am not sure about a bit or feed or supplement is I do not know but I can check into it for you if you want me to(at no charge) and tell you what I think if you want me to.
I check the thing out, try it out and then give an honest opinion on the subject and also give them both sides of the story and people to talk to with pros and cons. You know if you have not really tried a mikmar then dont talk about it. When I said I have found it to be a very sound and kind bit you would think that statement is just what it says "I" which means that I have used it myself, and worked with others when they use it. I would not turn a green rider lose with a mikmar without giving them instruction!

Paul said...

By the way when you pull on one rein of a snaffle it does the same thing with the opposite side of the bit not to mention what it does with the ring or D ring on the out side of the mouth just like any other bit. I will refrain about making comments about your common sense. I have a lot of common sense. Different snaffles work different ways and they keep the attention of a colt not because it is their first bit, it keeps their attention because they cant get away from it or ignore it.

WiltedZebra said...

Perhaps someone who knows more can set me straight, but I thought that the idea was to teach a horse to come up from behind, lift the back, shoulders and neck and seek contact with the bridle. Once that is accomplished the bit is there to provide support and guidance.

I thought that if you were having problems with evading the bridle, it was indicitive of a larger training issue or discomfort on the horses end.

I always thought that relying on a piece of equipment to deal with the training issues was counter productive as the horse/rider combination never really figures out how to do things correctly. Silly me, I thought leaning on the riders hands, running through the bridle, stiffness through the neck/poll and evading were all symptoms that there was a missing link. I know that on a day to day basis there are problems with both horse and rider. Stiffness, soreness, tiredness, distraction or plain old lack of interest on that particular day. That, to me anyways, means that I'm going to have to skip my training goals for the day and address the issues that exist. It doesn't do me or my horse any good to try and teach something if there is a problem that is going to interfere with communication of aides. In fact, I don't even believe that anything can be taught under those circumstances without doing so very poorly.

I've never seen a horse and rider have their issues fixed with bigger bits or complicated equipment. Sometimes those things do a pretty good job of masking the problem, but once that crutch is gone the problem rears it's ugly head again. Or once the discomfort of the original problem outweighs the discomfort of the bit, here comes the ugly problem again.

It doesn't matter how this gadget or that works on this problem or that problem, all I can see is either a pain/discomfort issue or a gap in foundation training/rider understanding. TJM, CNJ, GL, JR, TJM's sis and anyone else who has more knowledge than I (I'm sure many of you do), can feel free to correct me. I love to learn and your knowledge and opinions are well respected by me.

Paul said...

Yes evading the bit is a discomfort issue. Sometimes to the point of almost no return. If you go all the way back to the beginning and and still cant get anywhere then you have to try something different. Sometimes the nutcracker effect of the snaffle just sends a horse into loop land and you just cant get their attention, going bit less is not the answer, the answer is to slowly work to find a bit that communicates with that animal. If you continue to try and tell me that a snaffle or bit less is the greatest thing on the earth you just continue to show me how little you really know. The Mikmar is not cruel, it is one of the most humane bits I have ever used. With that said, there are some horses that probably wont work with it. Most horses would not even need it. With a horse that it does work on, I have found that it is not a crutch, and have also found when working with a green rider it would only be a crutch if they do not quit using it. I have found having a rider switch back and forth from the mikmar to a standard curb is a great way to give them goals to obtain with the standard bit. And you know, I have found that the horse and rider have become closer and way the more better off for it. Not all green riders need to use this, but just as learning to play the piano (which I found kinda aggravating) not all people have the same learning curve and if they cant learn it they quit it. This tool helps the learning curve and preserves the horses mouth and the rider usually winds up a horseman or woman. By all means if you put this bit in a horses mouth and it dont work then pull it out, but as with any bit that does not mean 10 minutes. Myself I do not use it on a horse unless I really have a big problem. But I do not hesitate to use it when that moment arrives. The reason for not using it is not because it is cruel, or can become a crutch but is because I can achieve what I want with a standard snaffle and curb what I am looking for. That is what we all strive to do, I really strive to get there with every horse and rider. You know a lunge line and no bridle with someone instructing you how to ride is just a tool. Learning to ride with a halter bareback jumping on from a fence is just a tool. The mikmar is just another tool in the tool chest. The right tool for the job at hand is why we have that peg board and buckets full of bits. Horses are not built the same and you have to strive to keep the horse and person you are training comfortable. you all being hung up on nutcracking effect snaffles need to learn that sometimes you need to think out of the box. Howe do you think all the snaffle bits were created. It was by someone thinking outside the box and will to take a chance and learn something. Bigger bit does not necessarily mean bad or torturous. Sometimes it is better and more gentle. As I keep saying, dont talk about it until you have really given something a good honest try.
And again, I do not work for mikmar.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

I have a question about the Sharon Carmarillo bit...

You said the squared off headstall hangers cause it to apply more pressure to the poll?

What does the shape of the hangers have to do with how much pressure is applied to the poll?

Paul said...

I am not sure who said that, I do recall somewhere in this mess something about that. I am not positive but would say that a round hanger will not catch the bridle, it will just slide. A square hanger will catch the bridal and will not slide which seems to me would cause more poll pressure. Of course that is more than likely the desire result which makes since to me. As long as it is used correctly, seems to me that it would help with vertical flexion and help achieve it if that is what you need. Cant see anything wrong with that. The bridle is not meant to just sit there and hold the bit.

mulerider said...

OK, maybe I am just stupid. I like to think I'm reasonably intelligent, but willing to admit that I might be mistaken. But, in spite of of huge volume of words Paul has typed here, I still don't get it.

I still don't see why/how the Mikmar bit does what Paul keeps insisting that it does. For example:

Paul says, "This tool helps the learning curve and preserves the horses mouth and the rider usually winds up a horseman or woman."

I ask, "Why?"

Paul says: "...but it is easy for a rider to lose control of themselves and the horse when transitioning from the snaffle and two hands to the curb and one hand. I have found that the mikmar helps in this situation..."

I ask, "Why?"

Maybe it's just me, but until I see and understand the "why," I simply cannot accept the claims about the Mikmar being a kind and useful bit.

I will say one thing, though, this whole discussion has prompted me to haul out my book on bits and bitting and I think I will join Horseflix (thanks, Ruthie), if just long enough to rent Dr. Deb Bennett's bitting DVDs. So, I'd say it's a good thing.

Paul said...

I said why earlier in the postings, It works so well due to providing an equal distribution of pressure across 3 points none overpowering the other. When you pull on the reins the it pulls in the shank, the soft nose band and the poll equally. There have been variations of the bit for years, mikmar to me has seemed to get it right.

cattypex said...

I think I kind of understand, Paul, about how you're saying that the Mikmar thing makes a weird bosal-like pull. And I still don't think that THAT Mikmar is necessarily 100% evil, unlike that Mikmar fake snaffle thing.

But... if a rider loses control when they switch to one hand, then the RIDER needs to get better, and even if the Mikmar saves the horse's mouth when that happens, it does NOT excuse the rider, who has no business seriously working with a horse they can't even stay balanced on.

Personally, I don't like the one-handed riding in Western - makes me feel terribly unbalanced, so when I see a good Western rider sitting very balanced on an active horse (as opposed to WP/horsemanship robots), I can really admire that.

As for snaffles w/ nutcracker action? Only if you're HAULING on those reins, I'd think. I was taught to SQUEEZE the reins, hold them like baby birds or a crystal bowl that you don't want to drop, but don't want to hurt.

Not that I always achieve that, of course, but it's an ideal to work toward BEFORE you get on a finely tuned and/or green horse.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Oh, sorry Paul, I was asking the author, since she is the one who said that.

It just didn't seem like a very educated thing to say, considering the whole purpose of a gag action bit IS to apply pressure to the poll.

What I want to know is how the square headstall hangers is supposed to create more pressure to the poll vs. the round holders?

With the type of bit that the author showed, the headstall does not move-the mouthpiece does.

cattypex said...

I would think that the narrow, rectangular hangers don't allow for the slippage that round ones would? Like, the headstall could only go ONE way -tighter - whenever the bit is engaged, instead of having a little play around the bit?

Am I on the right track? It looks logical to me....

Paul said...

Cattypex, curb bits should be handled no different than a snaffle. You are correct.
I just wish all riders were taught that, then they would not have to bring their horse to me and I would not have to go through some of the things that I have had to go through. As for balance and one hand riding, I agree. I do not like it either. But when using a working horse sometimes it is a necessity and sometimes you even need to be able to just lay the reins on the saddle horn and let the horse do what you have taught him. When I am talking about messing with a horse with one hand, I am talking about not keeping the head still due to the rider moving the hands a tad to much, not being off balance. If a rider I am working with is a little happy with the hands(I mean a little, if it was a lot I would jerk them out of the saddle just as the old man that taught me did when I was just a pup) the Mikmar is more forgiving and helps the horse and rider get through those little bit of rough times. But I would only use the bit with a rider that needs it, or a horse that needs it. If you had a bunch of green riders and great lesson horses and a great trainer, the horses would love the trainer for using the combo bit. It truly is not as crazy as it looks.
But as I was saying above, not for every horse or rider.

Paul said...

by the way forgot to mention that most horses brought to me have never seen a curb bit.

katphoti said...

Part 1:

Paul, I just want to point out some things that I think you're really not getting.

"All bits are aids, they aid us to steer and stop our horse. Of course we use our whole body to do this, but the bit, bitless or bosal aids use to do this."

Um, NO, they don't. My husband's 11 yo 17 hand TWH gelding DOES NOT STOP BECAUSE of the bit. I can yank on it and try to use a one rein stop with him all I want, and he DOES NOT STOP if another horse is cantering or galloping in front of him. I counted and we have tried 15 different bits on him, and NONE of them work. He becomes Seabiscuit when another horse is going faster than him. All I can do is hold on. The bit causes him to clamp down and strain against it, and the more I try to stop him, the faster he goes.

Now, what DOES stop him is a properly fitted Nurtural Bridle AND proper training. His training has been inconsistent and that is our fault, but at the same time we know he has no respect for the bit and never has, and it's quite possible that the bit is painful to his mouth, no matter what kind it is. It's only recently that I learned that he will listen when we go bitless.

"If you think that the good ole broke horse wants you to teach that green rider how to ride on him or her, your probably wrong."

Oh boy, you really don't get it. I don't CARE of the good ol broke horse wants the green rider to teach him or not--he NEEDS to do it because that's his job. It is my responsibility to keep his training up, however, and that he not slip into bad habits because of green riders making mistakes. However, the old broke horse is my savior because he will not get upset or freak out if the rider makes a mistake. The rider can learn the proper cues and what the different gaits feel like and still be safe. They can move up to a more advanced horse once they show they can handle the easy horse. The old broke horse is a Godsend and a staple to any good riding program.

katphoti said...

Part 2:


"Dont you think that a good aid is worth your horses mouth and piece of mind even if the horse is broke."

Yes, but my good aids are my body and my Nurtural Bridle. A bit is a crutch, nothing more. Especially in the gaited horse world--I am constantly telling people that gaited horse riders are by far the worst because they ride with their hands, not their whole body.

Overall, I don't need to put something in my horse's mouth to aid him--I can learn to use my body to do it. It's why people like Clinton Anderson, Stacy Westfall, the Parellis, etc. can ride bareback and bridleless--they don't have to use a bit because they have taken the time to TRAIN their horses. CIP: the students at the Austrian Spanish Riding School are not allowed to touch a bridle for the first TWO YEARS of their training. Why? So they will learn to ride the horse by using their legs and seat aids and NOT with their hands. They ride on the lounge line or in arenas with no bridle. To me, that is TRUE horsemanship.

"Folks it is easier to push a horse with the end of your finger vice using your palm."

No, it's not. It never has been for me because I can use my whole body when I press my palm against the horse. But you know what's even easier? To do groundwork and teach my horse to move off of me WITHOUT TOUCHING HIM AT ALL, and by responding to my voice and body cues. That all transfers to the saddle if you keep your mindset clear and focus on it.

"A bit is the same way. smaller the diameter the harsher the bit, whether it be a curb or snaffle."

Yes, it is harsher. But you just contradicted yourself--you said the smaller the diameter the harsher the bit, but it's easier to push a horse with your finger rather than your palm. So I assume that means if you want an easier response, then you go with the harsher bit. Don't you mean you want to go LESS harsh?

I understand your arguments, Paul, but I believe that you just aren't seeing the whole picture. If we only focus on the bit as our aid, then we are not doing right by the horse. Training is not about the bit--it's about your body and how you use it. ANY high level competition rider of ANY discipline will tell you that.

katphoti said...

hndl,

Thanks for the info on Horseflix! I will check it out.

"I think I may join. The stuff on RFDTV just ain't doing it for me."

OMG, you are SO right! It's always hit and miss with that damn channel....

katphoti said...

Paul,

"All bits are harsh, as I said."

Then why do you use them?

horsndogluvr said...

P:
Talking about something you know nothing about. Flat round edges more coverage on the bars less likely to hurt the bars. When a bit is smaller in circumference there is less of the bit setting on the bar and much greater pressure to the bar. poke yourself with a finger hard and see what it feels like and then press with your palm and see what it feels like. Not hard do the math

Maybe I’m better at math than you are. Take something flat like a ruler. Put it across someplace tender, like the back of your hand, or your shin. Now ROTATE it so it’s standing on edge. The mikmar is a CURB bit. They ROTATE in the horse’s mouth. A flat bit, when rotated, becomes a narrow bit. A round bit stays round.

P: it is like a nice big fat snaffle with a mullen mouth with a 2 inch shank,

If it has a shank, it is NOT a snaffle. You could put a severe cathedral bit in the horse’s mouth, and as long as the reins are attached to the bit, it is a SNAFFLE. When the reins attach to a shank, it is a curb.

P: By the way when you pull on one rein of a snaffle it does the same thing with the opposite side of the bit

Nope. Pull on one side of a snaffle gently, and the other side doesn’t move, because of the joint in the middle. Pull on it harder, and both rings pull the horse’s head in the direction you want to go.

When you neck rein into a turn, the horse will lead with his poll, because the pressure on the bit comes from the outside rein, which pulls his nose to the outside.

P: Different snaffles work different ways and they keep the attention of a colt not because it is their first bit, it keeps their attention because they cant get away from it or ignore it.”

So, that means that if their first bit is a curb, they CAN get away from it, or ignore it?

P: Have had them throw me, sit on me roll over on me and break many of my bones, but when that cowboy needed his horse to rope off of the next week he was ready.

Yup. As I suspected, another Hurryup hurryup trainer. If the horse isn’t ready by the deadline, we’ll gimmick him into submission.

A horse I was breaking to ride tried to shake me off by rearing, and fell on me. (broken tailbone, smashed knee, “shocked” kidneys.) He came over to me, sniffed me, and stood patiently while I hauled myself up by the stirrup, got on and rode him back to the barn. I wonder what would have happened if I had force-trained him?

Paul says: "...but it is easy for a rider to lose control of themselves and the horse when transitioning from the snaffle and two hands to the curb and one hand. I have found that the mikmar helps in this situation..."

Mulerider asked, "Why?"

The answer is that steps were skipped, big time.

When using two hands, the inside rein is the leading rein, for obvious reasons. To release the pressure, the horse moves into the pressure. The outside rein is the bearing rein, because it bears on the horse’s neck. To transition to neck-reining, you use the leading rein less and less, until the horse responds to the light pressure on the neck, by moving away from the pressure. And there’s no farkin’ gimmick to teach THAT. That’s probably why we see less and less proper neck reining these days.

This same process teaches the rider to use less and less pressure, developing good hands.

Neck reining is just that. Little to no pressure is put on the bit. A horse thoroughly trained to neck rein will go on a strap around the neck. (Can you say, Stacy Westfall?)


Wilted Zebra is completely right when she says: “It doesn't matter how this gadget or that works on this problem or that problem, all I can see is either a pain/discomfort issue or a gap in foundation training/rider understanding.” A big fat AMEN to that.

Ruthie

katphoti said...

Paul,

"going bit less is not the answer, the answer is to slowly work to find a bit that communicates with that animal. If you continue to try and tell me that a snaffle or bit less is the greatest thing on the earth you just continue to show me how little you really know."

Really? Okay, Mr. I Try It On A Horse First Before I Recommend It To Anyone Else, how about YOU try bitless and see what happens? I WILL tell you that bitless works BECAUSE IT DOES. Our TWH gelding is proof of that, as is my friend's Percheron stallion who used to be mean and was about to be put down because of it, but it was due to poor handling on his owners' part. Two years of rehabilitation AND TAKING THE BIT OUT OF HIS MOUTH is what cured him. And this horse is at 2nd Level dressage in his bitless bridle--he can't go further only because he's not built for it.

AGAIN, you are showing how ignorant you are by relying on the bit to tell the horse what to do. It's too bad, really--true horsemanship comes from within and is not based on gadgets. Please, go train with a classical dressage trainer for a while and see what happens.

Plus, if you are that closed minded about bits, then you really shouldn't be training horses, period. Continuing to argue with us will get you nowhere. We have experienced what using a snaffle or a bitless bridle correctly can do, so we know what works. As John Lyons says, ANY horse can be ridden in a snaffle if you use it right. And he is absolutely correct.

katphoti said...

Thanks, Ruthie. My next post was going to be exactly what you said when he posted incorrectly about how the snaffle bit works and how a bit with a shank is NOT a snaffle. And of course how the how the horse that flipped over was cowboy-ready the next week. OMG, I don't even want to THINK about what was done to get that horse ready. A true horseman will be willing to say "this horse is not ready yet" and accept the consequences for what they are.

Although, that is why I don't make money in this business--I'm too honest! :) And it's why I won't train others' horses and am VERY picky about the trainers I do use. Anyone who tells me my horse will be trained in 30 days is off the list.

katphoti said...

mulerider,

You have excellent questions, btw!

cattypex said...

"The answer is that steps were skipped, big time."

YES. That is what I was getting at.

My not liking riding 1-handed is because I haven't DONE it much. And KP is right... it's not UP to the horse if I want to put a green rider on him.

It is up to the RIDER, though, to learn to use their whole body.

The bridle is AN aid, and of course it takes many forms. It's not the ONLY way to stop a horse, and only crappy riders think that it is.

I still think that that Mikmar contraption COULD POTENTIALLY be a decent temporary training tool, but not a substitute for good riding and educated hands.

And a fat snaffle is only harsh if
a) the horse's mouth is damaged or very weirdly formed
or
b) the rider HAULS on it, in which case I, too, would be inclined to drag them out of the saddle.

cattypex said...

horsndogluvr, you have smarts.

Tuffy Horse said...

BECG,

>It just didn't seem like a very educated thing to say, considering the whole purpose of a gag action bit IS to apply pressure to the poll.

The whole purpose of a gag action bit is to rip the lips up to the horse's eyeballs. You can get poll pressure with a much milder bit.

>What I want to know is how the square headstall hangers is supposed to create more pressure to the poll vs. the round holders?

>With the type of bit that the author showed, the headstall does not move-the mouthpiece does.

I'm not the author, but I can explain it. The squared cheek piece hangers DO apply more and direct pressure than rounded ones. The rounded holes allow the bit to rotate within the cheek piece and don't "catch" until the curb/mouthpiece engages. The square cheek piece holes "catch" immediately. Square holes DO increase leverage because there is no rolling of the bit within the cheekpiece. This is why a short shanked Kimberwicke actually produces more poll pressure than a short shanked, but rounded cheekpiece, Tom Thumb. (Did the fishing scale test on this one)

The bit featured certainly does apply poll pressure. It's a nasty piece of work combining the square slots, twisted wire mouth, and curb application. Combining a twisted wire and a curb action gag is like putting a saw in your horse's mouth.

Tracy M

WiltedZebra said...

Paul, I'm thinking your last post was directed my way. Thanks for reiterating your previous statements. Although I did read and comprehend them the first couple of times.

You seem to have misunderstood what I was getting at in my first post. That is okay, sometimes I am not nearly as perspicuous as I think.

Not at any point did I state that a snaffle or bitless was the only way to ride a horse. If you are using a snaffle and it is acting as a nutcracker on the horses mouth, you are riding with too much hand in the first place.

I think if you go back to the real begining with a horse and you are still having trouble, you need to take a time out and evaluate your program. Maybe even yourself, if you go that far back and are still having trouble it might be good to ask someone with fresh eyes to take a look. If you go back to the begining and do it all over correctly so that the horse understands what is expected, you should be able to fix the problem. Maybe not even all the way back, in some cases you only have to back track a few steps.

I also attempted to communicate that relying on a piece of equipment to teach a student or problem solve is counterintuitive from my perspective. Obviously you and I have different ideas about that. Apparently that makes me ignorant in your opinion. Thats okay too. I often find that persons who feel defensive often use insults in an attempt to bully people into agreement or shame them into silence.

If you use a bit to problem solve, put it away only to get it out later (or in the warm up pen) for the same issue, you haven't really solved the problem. From my perspective it hasn't anything to do with whether a bit is too severe or not severe enough. Although, I have noticed that lots of people seem to think that some gear will replace the necessary skills for problem solving and educating both horse and rider. Don't go taking that last bit personally, it simply an observation I have made over the years.

It is clear to me that you and I come from different schools of thought on teaching and training. None of this is personal, try not to take it that way.

So we are also clear on one other matter, I don't care if you work for mikmar or roto-rooter as long as you have good information to impart.

katphoti said...

WiltedZebra,

"I often find that persons who feel defensive often use insults in an attempt to bully people into agreement or shame them into silence."

Good call. Or it just causes them not to comment because 1) they realize there's no way to reason with insults, or 2) it's just not worth it.

He was talking to me about bitless, btw. :) Let me say that my husband's gelding, two of my students' horses, my friend's Perch stallion, and hundreds of other horses that are now bitless (see www.nurturalhorse.com) are testiment that it DOES work. Sure, it may not work for all horses, but it's still a great place I can go without worrying about hurting the horse's mouth anymore.

katphoti said...

Tracy, BTW, thanks for the explanation as far as the fish scale is concerned. I am totally going to buy a fish scale now and give it a shot.

cattypex said...

(WX can use "perspicuous" in a sentence. I will now weep a little tear of joy!)

Which horse in the Olympics was going bitless - I think *gulp* cross-country? Maybe it was show jumping.... I had to watch everything late, late at night, so everything was a big fat blur to me.

I thought it was a good argument, though, that even a HOT horse doesn't necessarily need a bridle.

I love a pretty bosal setup, with a handbraided noseband etc.

Nurtural bridle... will check that out (again - I haven't looked in awhile)

Paul said...

Folks, I ride bitless when needed, Did not say a curb was a snaffle, said the colt bit I have and use to transition young horses to a curb with is nice and fat, did not say that I start colts in it, you all really like to twist things, read all of it please. I know my grammar sucks but it is still readable. Read people. Would not give anybody a horse that was not ready. Sometimes had to ride them 4 to 5 times in a 24hr period to have them ready to work, because that is what they did from sun up till after sundown all day and hard. The place for them to learn was out doing there job. I know you all think horse show should be abolished but it will not happen.
no matter how you pull on a snaffle it moves both sides I am glad you think readers are naive, I am not. The horse that wont stop, is do to some one pushing him into a snaffle and ruining his mouth, I have had to fix several of these horses, it is not easy but can be done in a short period of time with a ring full of cantering hunter jumpers and alot of circling. I have been to the world a ava mo for the MFTHBA and have place in the top 5 in the world on several occasions, that was long ago. Gaited people do have a tendency to ride with their hands and not their seat. I was taught to do both, the MO Foxtrotter is used for numerous jobs all the way from a pleasure horse to pulling a plow to cutting cattle and even running barrels and are quite good at it. Never rush the basics, takes me about on hour or two to break the average colt. Usually ride them in the round pen for a bit and then head out and give them a spin to see how they will do. Have found most do just fine.

Paul said...

I know you experts think you have it down, and that you know it all. But I will tell you, I do not know it all. But I do know this, most of the horses I get have been trained by your kind, bought by someone and then wind up with me to be re-started and taught not to hurt anyone. I have a horse that I can ride just about any western equitation pattern without a bridle. I use aids to make it easier on the horse to learn what I am asking for. I have found if I get to start the horse, aids usually do not have to be used. I have done things the way Parelli and others do, but you know I was doing them in the 60's and 70's before people knew who they were. The things they do have been around along time. Longer than you all and I. I do not feel defensive or like a bully, I feel that this web blog is a bunch of folks that feel that way and bully people into thinking their way, if I did not feel this way I would not have said anything. You all do things the way you want but I will point out again, if you dont know about a product and have not personally used it, dont knock it or try and bully people into not using it. I am not bulling you into using it. Use it or not I dont care either way, just stop talking bad about something you know nothing about. I train horses for the most part the same way most of you do. There is one difference, I have figured out that you can use a tool to better communicate quicker to the horse what it is we are trying to accomplish and then put it up and continue on the way we started with the snaffle or curb or halter or bitless or for my horse bridle less sometimes. Depending on what I am trying to do. I am not questioning anybodies skills here. All snaffles work off of the nutcracker effect no matter how gentle you use it. That is why it works. I will refrain from saying what I think about this web site. I as a professional would never start a blog like this or web site like this. Its amazing that I even bothered to write anything. Be truthful to yourselves, snaffles can be and are not nice. A Bosal can take the hide off the nose of a horse no matter how gentle you are trying to be, and a bitless bridle works due to the fact that it causes discomfort when you pull on the rein, grant it the discomfort from a bitless is very little. How little discomfort a Mikmar training bit has would probably surprise you. I would never bully anyone into using something they do not want to use! Parelli rides his mare with a curb.

Paul said...

cattypex,
I believe that you get it, only use a tool for what it is intended for and time needed for and then get back to the business at hand. One thing I want you to know, when I talk about getting the horse to the cowboy in a week, it was not a finished horse, just a started horse that was not scared to learn his job or hurt the cowboy. It takes a long time to finish a horse, and I really feel that no horse just as any good trainer is never finished. There are always new things to learn and train with and on.

Paul said...

By the way, the point about the end of your finger is a comparative thing. In ground work you work with your whole body. If the horse does not respond and move out of your face, you touch with your whole body. If that does not work then use your palm, still no response then the simple push of the end of the finger will move the horse. And surprise it causes very little excitement, it usually simply moves the horse.

Paigeley said...

Podhajsky would have thrown a royal-ass-kicking-horse-saving-beat-the-rider-with-a-baseball-bat-kind-of hissy fit if he had ever seen that stuff

Paul said...

Doubt it, he would have at least checked it out before giving an opinion.

Jennifer said...

Here's one story I like to tell about bits and bitting.

A large English lesson barn had a nice pony...about thirteen hands. Nice conformation, pretty color...neurotic mess.

This was a horse who freaked out if you touched his flanks lightly. A horse that regularly took off with people, hollowing his back, throwing his head up and rushing forward. And guess what?

The more the rider pulled on the reins, the faster he went.

This is the horse who taught me what the idiot who was supposed to be teaching me to ride did not seem to even know herself. This is the horse on which I learned to use the inside leg to rebalance the horse and on which I learned to keep my hands low, quiet and soft. If you released the reins and used the inside leg, that horse came right back to you...but you had to be SO light with the reins. And this was in a fat Eggbutt snaffle. A mild bit.

Eventually the trainer gave up and sold Neurotic Boy to one of the other students.

She immediately put him in a rubber snaffle.

Within a week, quiet, well behaved horse.

Mild is relative to the horse. On this horse, a thick-mouthed eggbutt was having the same effect I've seen a curb bit have on soft mouthed horses...making him try anything to get away from the pain in his mouth.

Paul said...

Yup, that is what I am talking about.

Paul said...

curb bits are no worse than a snaffle. just depends on horse and rider. They are not something you want to have a green rider learn with.

HorseCommonSense said...

Jeeeez... Paul... I think you made your point... but no one's buying it here.

You sound juuust like one of my neighbors down the road... He lives by what he was told by the so called "cowboys" in Nebraska... and YOU can NOT tell him any different.
It's actually Funny Shit to me. Especially when I see him RIDE! Or Fall a lot! LMAO!

There is no need to defend tack or purpose of tack... There is a need to defend opinion... THIS is what all the bickering is really about.

Keep it simple...
I live by... it's NOT the HORSE... It's the RIDER! If you can not work, ride, train the horse in the "simplest" tack... YOU do NOT know what you are doing and need to learn and practice more. Period.

They don't have this shit for dogs... HELL... they don't even have this crazy stuff for ELEPHANTS.. No Market... but because the horse is such a popular, larger (than dog and so on), more intimidating animal to many... businessmen thrive on pitching out bullshit! It's fact bud. It's business. Awww I looove the Business Man! But people are catching on. Same goes for Parelli... his over indulgence of pricing has caused people to call him out.

Every heard that story years ago... when the Mississippi flooded bad, and a guy was selling a "pump" product to get water out of your house for 19.99... when people received it in the mail... it was a bucket??? BUSINESS MAN!

Hey.. no hard feelings... if you like that shit USE IT! I learned a LOOOONG time ago... Can't save 'em ALL!

:) :) :)

HorseCommonSense said...

Jeeeez... Paul... I think you made your point... but no one's buying it here. :)

You sound juuust like one of my neighbors down the road... He lives by what he was told by the so called "cowboys" in Nebraska... and YOU can NOT tell him any different.
It's actually Funny Shit to me. Especially when I see him RIDE! Or Fall a lot! LMAO!

There is no need to defend tack or purpose of tack... There is a need to defend opinion... THIS is what all the bickering is really about.

Keep it simple...
I live by... it's NOT the HORSE... It's the RIDER! If you can not work, ride, train the horse in the "simplest" tack... YOU do NOT know what you are doing and need to learn and practice more. Period.

They don't have this shit for dogs... HELL... they don't even have this crazy stuff for ELEPHANTS.. No Market... but because the horse is such a popular, larger (than dog and so on), more intimidating animal to many... businessmen thrive on pitching out bullshit! It's fact bud. It's business. Awww I looove the Business Man! But people are catching on. Same goes for Parelli... his over indulgence of pricing has caused people to call him out on many things.

Every heard that story years ago... when the Mississippi flooded bad, and a guy was selling a "pump" product to get water out of your house for 19.99... when people received it in the mail... it was a bucket??? BUSINESS MAN!

Hey.. no hard feelings... if you like that crap... USE IT! I learned a LOOOONG time ago... Can't save 'em ALL!

:) :) :)

katphoti said...

Paul,

No one here said they were an expert. We have all talked about what works and what doesn't. What we see as far as what TJM has posted are bits that are designed to get a trained horse with the minimal amount of work on the rider's part AND to base it in pain. Paul, have you put a Mikmar bit in your own mouth and see what it does? Then how do you know if the horse is comfortable or not? Sometimes a horse will give in because it hurts so much. I have worked with many horses that seemed comfortable with the bit they're wearing but it's only because they have gotten used to or are anticipating the pain and don't know any better.

You are assuming things that aren't true. Most of us are all for showing--we just want to torture and abuse to end. You don't know our backgrounds as to how we have learned what we have learned, and we don't need to post our credentials to prove it. What I believe all of us here know is that for hundreds of years, the basics of riding have rang true: learn to ride with your seat and legs, not your hands, and to keep your hands soft and supple to help guide the horse with a bit. If you learn these things, then you can ride a horse with nothing more than a halter and won't have to resort to gimmicky bits to get results. The is a reason why high level dressage, jumping, cross country, you name it horses are ridden in only a snaffle: it's because the riders have taken the time to train their horses properly.

Now you are saying you ride bitless when you need to, but you said earlier going bitless is not the answer...? I don't get it.

When you talk about pulling on a snaffle and it pulling the whole mouth, the key word here is PULL. Sure, if I pull on it it will jerk the horse's whole mouth. But if I lightly squeeze my rein or lift my inside rein while I hug my horse's body with my inside leg, I can have him turn by feeling the pressure on one side of the bit. THAT is true horsemanship, and that is what I teach my students. I know a snaffle or a bitless bridle will work every time because I've seen it proven to work. A wall and bucket full of bits isn't going to solve problems--proper riding techniques will.

The Nartural bridle can be painful if you have to crank the horse's head to get it to listen. ANYTHING can be painful if we use it wrong. However, knowing that I have taken the bit out of the horse's mouth and when I do have to use some discipline (such as a circle or backing to change the horse's feet and change his mind) and I am not in danger of hurting his mouth gives me peace of mind.

You have done a good job in learning how the Mikmar bits work. But let me ask you this: Do we ever see a top level dressage horse in a Mikmar bit? The answer is no. A snaffle bit is ALWAYS humane when the rider learns to ride correctly.

I just think that you are being extremely close minded in thinking that bits, especially bits with gadgets attached to them, solve problems. They don't. But, if you want results fast, then go for it. I just hope that the riders you work with can be more open minded than you are.

Paul said...

They have all kinds of contraptions to train dogs with? Where you been. Not that I use them I dont train dogs. I find alot of things that english riders do with their horses to be strange. First is the saddle not much use. Those nebraska cowboys have sit in the saddle during a day more most of the folks on this blog sit in a month.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Still reeking of bullshit...

Good thing I wore my boots today! Maybe I shoulda worn hip waders instead though?

Paul, you still have a way of repeatedly contradicting yourself and although trying to make a point here or there, adding in things that disolve the rest of the words supporting it.

P->I wince every time I see a horse jumping with a snaffle that is untrained and throws that nose out against that bit and then throws its head straight up in pain from the misuse and misguided training.

I would wince too for the horse. They are reacting to the lack of t/s/k possessed by the rider. Not a display of the result of which bit they chose, but rather how they use it to compensate for their crappy riding.

Yet all of us are the 'know it alls' of the world? Seems I asked several questions. None of which have been answered yet by you.


P->I do not use one, but have had riders with less experience use these bits even at shows for warm up.

P-> I am talking about riders and horses that have won year end high point at several local show series not just one.

Wonder how they would feel about your references to their level of skill?


P->Just like any sport, horses get nervous and so do riders, you can work at home till the skin wears off your hands and it still does not get you completely ready for the show ring.

Sorry, but I beg to differ. The horses movement and behavior is a reflection of the rider. The rider gets nervous and overcorrects- the horse reacts and responds accordingly. In short it all goes downhill and the horse usually gets blamed. Afterall- they are the silent one and cannot speak for themselves.

If it is the horse, then the rider or handler needs to have the level of t/s/k to handle things as they should be.


P->By the way when you pull on one rein of a snaffle it does the same thing with the opposite side of the bit not to mention what it does with the ring or D ring on the out side of the mouth just like any other bit.

Nobody said that pulling on a snaffle, didn't at some point put pressure on the other side of the bit. But then if you are pulling hard enough to do that, then maybe your hands aren't as quiet and soft as everyone is talking about? Switching bits won't improve the results. Yet you keep advising the use of a mm for inexperienced riders or those with rough hands? A bit you repeatedly proclaim you do not use yourself?


P-> I am working on my mare and she is five. I showed her when she was younger but very limited due to just what you said. She was not ready to flex and give in and carry herself as she should. I will just take my time and I know she will come to it in time.

So by your statement, you do no supppling work? Do they just learn that on their own? Apparently you expect them to, but without any guidance or cues. Check.

P-> Show horses are athletes and are asked to do more than the horse you take out for a spin.

Depends on what you 'show' them in and how you ride them. A number of the performance classes require a different level of muscling than a WP horse or HUS. But then taking a horse 'for a spin' could include crossing a stream or climbing hills. So now how does that call for any different type of tack, bit or conditioning to be used.

Thinking before you speak, does wonders for your credibility.

Paul said...

Paul, you still have a way of repeatedly contradicting yourself and although trying to make a point here or there, adding in things that disolve the rest of the words supporting it.

c- You cant read.

P->I wince every time I see a horse jumping with a snaffle that is untrained and throws that nose out against that bit and then throws its head straight up in pain from the misuse and misguided training.

I would wince too for the horse. They are reacting to the lack of t/s/k possessed by the rider. Not a display of the result of which bit they chose, but rather how they use it to compensate for their crappy riding.

-C Making the point that any bit is bad if used incorrectly.

Yet all of us are the 'know it alls' of the world? Seems I asked several questions. None of which have been answered yet by you.


P->I do not use one, but have had riders with less experience use these bits even at shows for warm up.

C- Said that I have used one, again you cant read. Said only use it when needed I prefer to use a snaffle, or a nice curb, because I keep my hands still.

P-> I am talking about riders and horses that have won year end high point at several local show series not just one.

Wonder how they would feel about your references to their level of skill?

C- The horses have their ears up looking though the bridle and are quite happy, or they would not win.

P->Just like any sport, horses get nervous and so do riders, you can work at home till the skin wears off your hands and it still does not get you completely ready for the show ring.

Sorry, but I beg to differ. The horses movement and behavior is a reflection of the rider. The rider gets nervous and overcorrects- the horse reacts and responds accordingly. In short it all goes downhill and the horse usually gets blamed. Afterall- they are the silent one and cannot speak for themselves.

-C my point exactly, except for the fact that most horses are nervous on their own, especially the first few times at a show. Horses are flight animals dont tell me its all the rider I am not stupid!

If it is the horse, then the rider or handler needs to have the level of t/s/k to handle things as they should be.

-C you cant learn everything at the barn. Again I am not naive, I have been doing this a great long time with great success.

P->By the way when you pull on one rein of a snaffle it does the same thing with the opposite side of the bit not to mention what it does with the ring or D ring on the out side of the mouth just like any other bit.

Nobody said that pulling on a snaffle, didn't at some point put pressure on the other side of the bit. But then if you are pulling hard enough to do that, then maybe your hands aren't as quiet and soft as everyone is talking about? Switching bits won't improve the results. Yet you keep advising the use of a mm for inexperienced riders or those with rough hands? A bit you repeatedly proclaim you do not use yourself?

-C again did not say rough hands, said hands that move to much. And again I said that I have used one of these bits and will use one when needed. The bit is a very gentle bit.


P-> I am working on my mare and she is five. I showed her when she was younger but very limited due to just what you said. She was not ready to flex and give in and carry herself as she should. I will just take my time and I know she will come to it in time.

So by your statement, you do no supppling work? Do they just learn that on their own? Apparently you expect them to, but without any guidance or cues. Check.

C- I do work on supp ling work. I do ask and spend many hours in the saddle working patterns just for that supp ling. If a horse is not getting it, or I am working on other horses and do not have the time to work on mine then I leave them at home, as any good trainer would!

Paul said...

P-> Show horses are athletes and are asked to do more than the horse you take out for a spin.

Depends on what you 'show' them in and how you ride them. A number of the performance classes require a different level of muscling than a WP horse or HUS. But then taking a horse 'for a spin' could include crossing a stream or climbing hills. So now how does that call for any different type of tack, bit or conditioning to be used.

-C if you think a western pleasure horse takes less muscle than a trail horse you are sadly mistaken. WP takes a lot of muscle to stay in that frame correctly and is one of the hardest disciplines you can ride in. It is much like dressage. You can come out of a WP class and you and your horse be wore out. Riding a good english pleasure horse moving correctly, up over their top, a back end with impulsion and the front end low to the ground and doing all the horse can do is very tiring. I dont care how trained your horse is, you still have to ride the horse. All horses I deal with learn to trail ride. And sometimes they wear a mikmar while doing it.

Thinking before you speak, does wonders for your credibility.

-C I do read and think prior to speaking. Again you dont read or cant.

Paul said...

-C forgot to say, if you move the reins on a snaffle far enough to turn or stop your horse it moves both sides. again I am not naive. Quit telling these people half truths.

Cut-N-Jump said...

P-> Sometimes had to ride them 4 to 5 times in a 24hr period to have them ready to work, because that is what they did from sun up till after sundown all day and hard.

Really? 4-5 times in one day? Talk about rushing things, pushing the envelope and frying their brain! And you are claiming to 'fix' horses?

So how often do you find ride #3 undoing what was taught in ride #1? And ride #4 undoing ride #3 which undid ride #1?

Quick display of why more than one ride per day doesn't always produce any better results, than the horse despising your very presence.

P-> I am not questioning anybodies skills here.

Really? Care to try explaining then, why you go so such great lengths to dispute nearly everything anyone has said and all the combined years of experience we have?

P->I have owned hundreds of horses and started as many as 4 a week for 6 months out of the year for many years of my life, trained, shoed, and cared for them before me.

Now we are getting somewhere. I have stated before. I know of a few people who proclaim to be trainers, farriers and whatever else they wish to add to the equation. Jack of all trades, master of NONE. Boy is that ever the truth!

P->Have had them throw me, sit on me roll over on me and break many of my bones, but when that cowboy needed his horse to rope off of the next week he was ready.

Rush, push and get the horse ready. No good results ever come from that. Well, other than ending up with the horse coming back, to again be 'fixed' because they were not properly trained to begin with.

At least until the owner wises up and realizes, you don't train them well in such a short amount of time.

P->The horse that wont stop, is do to some one pushing him into a snaffle and ruining his mouth,

Um, no. They can be the result of a wide array of things. Bits, poor bridle adjustment, poor riding, poor training- the door is wide open on this one.

Speaks about the MFT he has then says:
P-> Never rush the basics, takes me about on hour or two to break the average colt. Usually ride them in the round pen for a bit and then head out and give them a spin to see how they will do. Have found most do just fine.

Would this be because the gaited horses have such wonderful temperments? No it doesn't take long to 'break' any horse. Regardless of breed. But the gaited breeds tend to put up with a giant shitload more bad behavior from the humans in their lives than other breeds. One thing that can be determined a detriment to their very existance or a testament to their temperment.

Cut-N-Jump said...

WZ- you are dead on!

Kat- I cracked up when I read, "Part 2:"

BECG- Lovin it!

HCS- You owe me a monitor cleaning.

Paul said...

-C Working different things every time you ride in a day for short periods of time can for the most part work very well.
Especially when you do not run into problems on any of the rides.

-C Most of the time when a horse is nasty enough to chunk me, it is because someone else fouled up and I have to fix it. And sometimes some horses just have a bad day and any trainer can misread one every now and then, unless of course your perfect, oh yeah I forget you are perfect what was i thinking!

-C why do you dispute every thing I say oh I know you know everything and are perfect and never make mistakes. I am disputing the fact that you all have never used the Mikmar and dont know what it is about. I bet you cant even tell me the dimensions of the bit.

-C I learned to shoe horses from some of the best. I am no farrier, but simply wanted to know everything I can about the animal that I am working with.
I used to shoe other folks horses on occasion but it hurts my back and am no longer young. If you read, it says that I do not know everthing and even though been doing for years still learn something everyday. I would hope you do?

-C Again if you could read you would see that I do not send a horse on their way if they are not ready. When I got the horse ready for the cowboy, it was nothing more than started under saddle with a good left or right and stop. Few trail rides to get use to the country side so the man could start the training on horse.

-C most horse that I work with now are horses that are screwed up, they are all kinds. You are correct in the fact that a MFT horse is a very gentle and easy horse to ride. I find walking horses to be a little high strung and take a little longer to get there. The AQH that I was talking about is a very stocky horse very foundation breed horse with little TB in them. They are a very reliable quiet easy to deal with horse. They are very trusting and quite kind. Of course my favorite is and always will be the Missouri Foxtrotter, To own one is to ride one!

Paul said...

-C will say this you are a fine horsewoman but with a closed mind.

-C I am not a jack of all trades. I do a little training not much because it is not what I like to do, I focus on fouled up horses and riders. As I said I shoe my horses, because finding a good farrier where I am at is hard to do. I have been told by the three vet's that I have used that they wish the feet of the rest horses they see looked like my horses feet. They are highly reputable vets.

Paul said...

-C also focus on starting horses for people. A good foudation goes along way.

horsndogluvr said...

Well, Paul, now we're getting down to it.

Unreasoned prejudice against both snaffles and English riding.

I could write something sarcastic about "how can western riders use leg and seat aids through all that leather?" but I won't, because it's not true.

A saddle that fits both horse and rider correctly is comfortable to ride. I've been on all-day trail rides with both. No problem.

English riding has been around a lot longer than western riding. And dressage has been around since before Jesus Christ was born - read your Xenophon! (And he rode without stirrups.)

Mind you, I'm not "dissing" western. I ride both. And in the incident I mentioned earlier, my knee would have been hurt a lot worse, if it wasn't for the pommel and cantle of that good ol' Tex-Tan Roper taking part of the weight.

You *could* use this blog as a new knowledge base, as I do. Or you can waste bandwidth defending yourself, and not learn anything.

horsndogluvr said...

P:
if you move the reins on a snaffle far enough to turn or stop your horse it moves both sides.

Me:
You haven't watched much dressage, have you? Or reining? or cutting? In all three, the score goes HIGHER the less you move the reins. Those horses don't need much, if any, pressure on the bit to turn or halt.

If a snaffle is used the way you THINK it is, then, yes, you will develop a hard-mouthed horse. That's why "whoa" should be taught on the ground, before the horse ever has a bridle on its head.

cattypex said...

Paul, you strike me as one of the better old-style horsemen, the kind that really does know a lot, but the Western folks' concept of the direct rein action from a snaffle kind of blows my mind. (Also the AQHA HUS people, which are really Western people in different costumes, I don't care what they say.)

The best instructor I ever had was very good with teaching me how to coordinate my aids in soft & balanced fashion (she's riding the big black horse with the blaze face in the very first Centered Riding video, in fact).

You do NOT pull on the reins to steer a horse, like the steering thing on the front of an old Flexible Flyer sled. You DO maintain enough delicate contact with your horse's mouth to enable him to feel the difference when you squeeeeeze with your hand. I don't care if you're in the equitation ring or on a backcountry trail, that's how it works, with your leg directing the hind end. This leg action is of course no less important, but not much brought up in this discussion.

A wise old horsewoman in our area (who did Arabs) always said "Everything behind the withers belongs to you. Everything in front of the withers belongs to the horse." (Maybe she said "girth." I can't remember.)

A protege of hers, my awesome old 4H leader, used to make her kids ride with yarn reins when they got in their horse's mouths.

THAT is a better lesson than any bit.

Cut-N-Jump said...

P-> But I do know this, most of the horses I get have been trained by your kind, bought by someone and then wind up with me to be re-started and taught not to hurt anyone.


So because someone in between fucks the horse up, it is our fault? I fail to see your logic in that one. Do your arms get sore form reaching around to pat yourself on the back?

So if someone buys a horse you started and fucks them up and brings it to me- do I blame you or them? Who is truly at fault there?

I have had my share of retreads. The majority of them are the direct result of idiots and morons who lack the ability to ride, yet possess an ego so large, they fail to see past it in hopes of learning anything or improving themselves.

What happens in most cases? 'People like us' stop accepting them as clients. As a result- they turn to others who rarely have the horses best interest in mind, let alone at heart.

Things don't improve for the horse and at some point the horse has enough and goes off. Many times, someone gets hurt, the horse is at fault and then ditched at a KB auction. The End.


When you claim a WP horse needs the same amount of muscling any other horse needs and that riding one can use all of your energy...

I can agree with you to a certain point. They do require muscling and to be in good condition. Muscling that will develop when they are moving properly and doing things correctly-> as they should. But riding them should not wear you out. Not while warming them up, not just by being in the ring, be it one class or a few. If it takes that much work on the riders part, to keep them composed and traveling correctly- something isn't right.

Have you seen the horses in the WP rings lately? They lack a lot of things! Those are the things we are all here against! No matter the breed, the WP horses in the show ring seem to all be disengaged, heavy on the forehand lack impulsion, overbridled and look absolutely miserable. If I missed anything, please feel free to add it!

The use of one bit over another is not going to improve any of that. The trainers work the horses to the point of submission- be it overworking or other cruel and unnecessary methods and the owners and riders- just want the 'win' and to be able to just sit on their horsey.


Paul, you can claim all you want that I lack any sort of comprehension skills. But when others here all seem to understand the things I say and the points I make, it instead brings your thoughts (or lack of) and comprehension skills into question.

I am pointing out the discrepancies in the things you say. Apparently I hit a nerve.

Might I also add that several of us here have had some pretty 'in depth' discussions about a number of things. Bits, being a portion of them. We really do not care, even a little bit, if you work for or are otherwise 'supported by' the mm bit company. Bottom line- its a piece of crap.

And thank you for calling me perfect. You could very well, be the only one who thinks I am.

Cut-N-Jump said...

CP & Paul- when you state that you don't care so much for riding one handed and feel it puts you off balance, you may notice a lot of the WP riders anymore, keep their other hand in front of them and near the 'rein hand'.

This helps keep them feeling 'balanced' when only using one hand. It also helps to keep their shoulders aligned and straight and their upper body in position where it belongs.

Some of us may not like 'the look' of having both hands up there, but to some degree, it can also hide any contact or corrections you are making while traveling down the rail.

Of course if the judge is paying attention- (has their eyes open and knows what they are looking at!) they will still see the reins move and reallize why. How they place you after that is up to them.

cattypex said...

Yeah, I've seen the hand positions.

Man, modern WP is just DUMB.

For all the reasons we've spouted here before.

I knooooow that I'm gonna get dragged to Congress this year..... and that I'll be force to watch some class and probably end up in fetal position under the nice changing table in the Family Rest Room......

Maybe I'll just go shopping instead.

JohnieRotten said...

Interesting!

JohnieRotten said...

Paul said:

I do know one thing, you need to research the mikmar line of bits, they are for the rider not the horse.
______________________

One thing that you should think about in that statement Paul, is that if a trainer does not teach his rider how to use their hands and legs properly on a horse, then he is not doing his job. Always teach a rider to use a work in a snaffle bit rather than a curb bit. Hell, I learned that as a young kid. And if it gets to the point that the rider has to use a Mikmar on a horse, then there again, the trainer is not doing his job!

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Tuffy Horse, I'm sorry, our little conversation got lost in the rest of the comments...because I spent the last couple of days laughing too hard whenever I'd try to comment back...so I hope everyone forgives the copy and paste.

Tuffy Horse said...
"The whole purpose of a gag action bit is to rip the lips up to the horse's eyeballs. You can get poll pressure with a much milder bit."

Holy Crap woman...over dramatic much?

I think we have pretty much established that any bit can cause discomfort or even damage in the wrong hands. Some by design are more likely too, some less likely too.

A true sliding gag bit is actually a very mild bit. In effect, it is very simple, when the rider engages the reins(which are attached to the headstall), the bit lifts into the corners of the horse's mouth. Direct pressure is applied to the poll. The overall desired effect is for the horse to raise his head and break at the poll. Usually the headstalls of these sliding gags are round-either leather or rope. I have seen some that are flat leather at the poll, which is intended to disperse some of the pressure applied to the poll, making the bit even more mild.

I've used a sliding gag on several horses that were "runaway" types-horses whose mouths had been wrecked by big bits and bad hands. It works very well on these types of horses, not because it is severe, but because it is mild and by lifting the bit into the corners of their mouths they were unable to "grab" the bit and run off. It didn't take long and I could safely move these horse back to a snaffle and teach them how to carry a bit again.

I also run my current barrel horse in a full sliding gag, not so I can rip his lips up to his eyeballs to make him turn, but because he doesn't need a bit so much for control, as he wants to turn the barrel with his head too low. With the sliding gag, I can encourage him to keep his head more elevated, thus encouraging him to engage his hindquarters more.

I've watched some horses run where the girls are using the new-fangled "elevator" bits-which are supposed to mimic the old-fashioned sliding gags, but I don't like many things about them.
I don't like how the long bars lay on the horse's head(too close to the eye) and I think that they apply too much leverage on just the corners of the horse's mouth(since the headstall doesn't really engage the poll). Therein lies the biggest difference between a true sliding gag and the modern version of a sliding gag-the moving mouthpiece.

Cut-N-Jump said...

CP- I know very few of us agree on, let alone like what me may refer to as the 'modern' WP horse.

Isn't a cowboy around that could get anything accomplished with a horse traveling like that! Can you imagine them trying to move cattle or rope one? Ha! That would be a sight to see. It could take a while to get them into town too.

Put a cowboy on one and I would love to see their expression and aggravation when they spurred the horse to, well, you know- MOVE! and the horse stops confusing it with the cue of a spur stop.

Change clothes and tack and waa laa- Wenglish! Like any of them could manage to get through, let alone over a course? Not likely... Dressage test? Puhleeze!

See Paul? While this crowd may enjoy showing and competing with our horses, Not many of us wish to support the politics, lack of ethics and morals, poor training, cruel devices, gimmicks, or any of the laundry list of bullshit things people do to their horses- just to win a ribbon.

I post about the things people do under the title of 'grooming' on my own blog. While I do not support some of those things at all, some of them I can understand what was originally done and how it was hoped what would be accomplished. But things have gone horribly wrong and sadly astray over time.

What starts out in one barn, doesn't stay in just one barn.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Continuing on...

Tuffy Horse said...
"I'm not the author, but I can explain it. The squared cheek piece hangers DO apply more and direct pressure than rounded ones. The rounded holes allow the bit to rotate within the cheek piece and don't "catch" until the curb/mouthpiece engages. The square cheek piece holes "catch" immediately. Square holes DO increase leverage because there is no rolling of the bit within the cheekpiece. This is why a short shanked Kimberwicke actually produces more poll pressure than a short shanked, but rounded cheekpiece, Tom Thumb. (Did the fishing scale test on this one)"

Ummm, according your description of the fishing scale test Tuffy Horse...

"The fish scale test is where you take a regular fishing scale and clip it to the reins. Then slowly pull and see at what angle the bit turns for each pound of pressure. It's best to test with your arm between the bit mouthpiece and the curb chain, because no one should test this crap on a horse. Most people are shocked at how little pressure is needed to pinch the heck out of your arm."

The test determines CURB pressure not POLL pressure. I'm sure it was an honest mistake mixing the two up in your comments.

According to your description of the difference between the two shapes of headstall holders, the square holders engage the curb action quicker than the round holders.

Okay, I can see that. Actually last night I put one of my combination bits on my horse and pulled this way and that way to see just how much movement there was. I don't have a bit with a square holder, so kind of had to visualize the difference. I can see where the square holder would limit the rotation of the mouthpiece moreso than the round holder.

However, neither bit really applies any more poll pressure than a regular curb once the curb action makes contact. The moving mouthpiece is what simulates the "gag" action and once the curb action is engaged, the bit stops moving up in the mouth of the horse.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

And since I'm finally on a roll, I'm going to just praddle on...


By design, these combination bits are intended to do just what you say...they are best utilized for direct rein contact-like a snaffle, which helps to bend a horse around the barrel; a bit of gag, which is intended to help keep a horse lifted and upright in his turn and a bit of curb, to help rate or stop. The moving mouthpiece actually gives the rider the ability to pick up and let their horse feel the bit before the curb engages and encourages the horse to rate down.

The Sharon Camarillo bit you have pictured is touted as a "training or transition" bit. While I don't think it is a severe bit by any stretch of the imagination, it is not something I would use on a "just starting to run" barrel horse, since I think the curb action might be a bit quick for a greenie. My personal preference is to put them in something that has a lot of give(like a Wonder Bit) until I can determine exactly what they need.

Amy said...

those are all terrible, but I am especially disturbed by the noseband. Nosebands were originally used so that soldier's wouldn't break their horse's jaws while in battle... there is absolutely NO reason you should ever have to crank your horse's mouth shut like that, and the addition of the metal makes it an obvious torture device. Disgusting.

In terms of things getting worse, there are SOME things that are getting better when it comes to bits. My family is very involved with Icelandic horses and many riders are switching from the traditional huge-shanked bits to milder french link snaffles. The shank bits are still around, but MUCH less.

I personally ride bit-less most of the time, or if Im doing dressage work I'll use a french-link snaffle.

WiltedZebra said...

Paul, I hope you are able to glean something useful here. In between the flaring tempers, there is good information about how to encourage the horse to come from behind and seek out the riders hands. It is a sight to behold on even the ugliest of horses. That willingness to mold it's body to the shape that your body asks for is breathtaking for the moments that the horse grants you the pleasure. Nothing lovely is ever forced out of them, taken from them or intimidated out of them.

People here do show. What they do not do is accept techniques or equipment that short changes the horse. That is the consensus here. I'm sorry that you aren't able to see how some of us got to this point.

Nothing can take the place of patience, understanding, creativity and knowledge. Not the mikmar, the cathedral, the twisted wire crap or anything else that allows the rider to skip learning how to ride and train correctly.

katphoti said...

Paul,

"I find alot of things that english riders do with their horses to be strange. First is the saddle not much use."

You know, a real trainer would have respect for all disciplines.

And I'd love for you to go tell some mounted police that about saddles, since they ride in Trooper saddles, which are based off of English saddles.

Overall, that comment has done me in. Now I know you really are limited in knowing how to train or ride if you don't know why an English saddle is designed the way it is. If, as a trainer, you believe that you have to know how lots of different bits work to know how to use them, then you should know about every single piece of tack, including the saddles. That is your responsibility as a trainer. Sad, really.

Oh, and when talking about MFTs, the term is "To ride one is to own one," not "To own one is to ride one." I think what you said applies to all horses, don't you think?

And watch what you say about others' breeds. TWHs are NOT high strung overall. Some of the calmest and most easy-going horses I've ever met are TWHs. If you are in the habit of pigeon-holeing breeds, then once again, you are no true trainer or horseman.

See_Spot_Run said...

That makes my gums bleed to look at. All those harshharshharsh nastynastynasty bits all at the same time... oy vey.

But you know what I find ironic? I am a teenager, my parents bought me a nice family horse, I have access to another nice horse... and no offense but in other posts by all means it seems like I would fit into the need to win category. I am truly disgusted by the barbaric crap people can justify putting in their horses mouth.

Oh well, off to a show sunday, wish me luck.

katphoti said...

SeeSpotRun,

HOORAY, a teenager who knows how to write! You are AWESOME! I'm not kidding, either. I can't stand it when our youth of today can't even write a complete sentence!

I think it's okay to want to win. It's just HOW does the person win that's important. Does she win by taking lessons with her show horse from a quality trainer? Or do she just toss her horse to a trainer and expect them to do all the work while she sits pretty on the horse in the show ring? Or does she allow the trainer to do "whatever it takes" to win, which may include using unsatisfactory methods? I think that's a lot of what TJM really points out here.

I show sound gaited horses, and with NWHA and FOSH, horses that are properly trained are rewarded. There are no shortcuts, and judges don't reward shortcuts. Of course, there are problems here and there, but overall we see a real consistency in how our horses are shown and judged. It's great to be in such a positive atmosphere and know that your hard work will be rewarded!

GOOD LUCK on your show! Be safe and have fun!

cattypex said...

Heh.... I was supposedly going to visit a show today, but a post-soccer tired meltdown and now nap (my kid's, not mine) has sidelined that. I was going to try and hook up with a horseperson or two that I might not have thought of in my quest for a reasonably-priced, decent home for my I-hope new horse.

But now would be the middle of the Pleasure classes.... and I would be going ew ew ew the whole time under my breath..... so maybe I'll just keep letting my fingers do the walking....

See Spot Run.... Katphoti summed it up so nicely. Nothing wrong with good, honest work and quality instruction being rewarded with a blue ribbon!!

Paul: I don't do well in Western saddles. I have very short legs, esp. through the thigh. I feel like a toddler in an overstuffed snowsuit. But I can sure appreciate expert riding done by somebody ELSE in a Western saddle.

I also don't like a flat saddle, but I can appreciate someone riding a fiery but finely tuned Saddlebred, for instance.

horsndogluvr said...

Katphoti wrote:
TWHs are NOT high strung overall. Some of the calmest and most easy-going horses I've ever met are TWHs.

I'm going to defend Paul a bit. If the only TWHs and ASBs I had seen were in the show ring, I'd probably think they were high-strung and fiery. It's from knowing them outside the ring that I know what lovely temperaments they have.

Hey, Paul, I'd be genuinely interested in your take about today's Western Pleasure classes. See them here:
AQHA world show

But have a bucket handy in case you lose your lunch! Would you want to ride that across a pasture, let alone for work?

Ruthie, whose father was a cowboy, and whose brother in law is one.

Trojan Mouse said...

Brown Eyes,

I realize a lot of gamers and can chasers use gags, but that doesn't change the fact that more than any other bit they effect the lips, poll and chin. They are the classic pulley bit. Every tug on the reins magnifies the pressure on the lips and tongue.

Tell you what, run a string around your head and then around each end of a pencil. Stick the pencil in your mouth and have a friend pull the ends of the string straight back behind you. Have them do it at 1,5, and 10 pounds of pressure. Then imagine it with a twisted wire mouthpiece, and a curb chain. The Camarillo bit is a piece of shit. It is not a "starting", or colt level bit. It combines a rough mouthpiece with curb and gag action. Let's be very clear on how sorry this bit is: I'd put the Mikmar piece of shit on a horse before I'd put the Camarillo bit on one.

Paul,
You really don't have a clue how bits work. The Mikmars have flat mouthpiece. Granted they have rounded edges, but it's still a flat mouth piece. Take a two-by-four and hold it in your hand with the widest area on your palm. Then rotate the board. At the point of a 45 degree rotation the narrowest part of the board is pushing into your palm. It's the same with a Mikmar. At the point that the most amount of pressure would be applied, when the reins are pulled, then the narrowest edge of the bit is pressing on the tongue. This means that the pressure is intensified. Add to this pressure the poll, chin, and nose and the bit is effectively a beartrap style bit. I'm going to have to find on off these bits and borrow it so I can make a video for youtube.


T Jean Maus

katphoti said...

So I decided to go to Mikmar's website...

OMG. The "gaited horse bits" and the testimonials are SO sad. Plus they of course have a BL TWH for their gaited horse button...lovely.

First testimonial: I couldn't get my horse to slow down until the Mikmar combo bit. GOOD LORD, getting him to slow down is based in the fact that he thinks he has to go fast all the time, which is typical in gaited horses. Most people when they "train" them just jump on them and take off fast down the road. This, of course, has nothing to do with the bit. It probably hurts his mouth and that's why he's slowed down. I have slowed horses down by teaching them to be calm and relaxed, not by putting a bigger bit in their mouth.

Second testimonial: "The improvement in collection was dramatic." Honestly, I know exactly waht this means: it means the horse tucked his chin, rounded his neck in response to the pain in his mouth. His back did not round--in fact, he is probably ventroflexed. I see this all the time in gaited horses with big, heavy bits in their mouths.

Fourth testimonial: Now my mare doesn't need a tiedown! Probably because when she tosses her head, the bit clacks against her mouth and it HURTS. How sad that you were tricked into causing pain to your horse to get her to stop that. And head tossing can be a medical issue, so it's really upsetting that you possibly didn't check with a vet first.

Last testimonial: I was having trouble getting flexion with my 2 yo. Of course you were: HE'S TWO. How can we expect a young horse to give us flexion? Their bodies aren't even developed yet. And if you aren't able to get basic flexion from left to right out of a 2 yo with nothing more than a halter, then you're doing something wrong.

Well, I guess the only thing I can see positive here is that there are only five testimonials for gaited horses. That's not enough to convince me, or it means not many gaited horse owners are using Mikmar bits, and I hope that's the same for other gaited horse owners.

Paul said...

I will make this comment to you about prejudice about english riding, your way wrong, I teach horses in many disciplines and find english horse really nice. I do not show english myself but really enjoy watching jumping and all aspects of english riding. I start english horses all the time. The folks I start them for really like my work. I start horses over fences but turn them over to experts in jumping as soon as I have them ready. Really dont have time to sit around and keep trying to tell you that I like all disciplines, been busy all weekend and really tired of your narrow mind so I will just tell everyone this one thing. The mikmar line of bits are used for alot of really good things so until you have used them keep your opinions to yourselves. I like snaffle bits, would never say that I do not. I have only pointed out that snaffle bits in the wrong hands are as harsh as any other bit. By the way check out the dimensions of the mikmars before you talk about them, I think you will be surprised. There are top horsemen and women around the world using these bits with a lot of success.

Paul said...

Broke a lot of TWH horses A lot of them were high strung do to the fact they were bred to be top show horses. But you are correct the TWH is a very nice horse and the largest part of them are quite easy to handle and very nice to ride. I once owned an own grandson to midnight son himself. He was born a TWH, earned his racking papers and also his MFTHBA registration. He sired several world champions.

Paul said...

Just as in the english world, you wouldnt take a top of the line true english pleasure horse and ask him to go over 4 foot fences and expect him to be great at it. Its funny that you mention what a western pleasure horse cant do, shows you really do not know what your talking about. Our best horse took reserve at the show in WP this weekend and he also runs a 7.8 in the keyhole race and works catttle, knows some about roping and reining and team pinning. You just are not worth my time.

cattypex said...

Hey Katphoti...

I found this totally randomly while looking at something else;

http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=14894&src=VW

Jennifer said...

Paul...it seems that every time anyone takes you to task about something, you try to backpedal.

At least stick to your guns. If you don't like English riding, fair enough.

Although I'm going to note something.

I used to have a hideous problem sitting the canter. I could not keep my back straight. This was caused by a poor quality instructor who taught me to jump when I was not ready to do so. Nothing I tried worked...

...until I spent a vacation learning to ride western.

I have no clue WHY that fixed it, but it *worked*. I'd always been reasonably open-minded about other disciplines, but that convinced me to go one step further and look at what we can *learn* from people who ride in different styles.

Good horsemanship is completely independent of discipline.

Paul said...

Jennifer I never said I did not like the english disipline, I apologize if I came off that way, love to watch all disciplines of englsih riding. Matter of fact our senior horse is leading adult english pleasure at one of the local show circuits, the same one that does WP and games and reining and team pinning and about what ever it is you want to do. I find that I do not like riding an english saddle, has nothing to with the saddle, its just my preference. I ride in an english saddle just fine. I like the english discipline. But just as you prefer english, I prefer western. Does not mean I do not like it. What I do not like is the same thing you all talk about western riding, folks doing it wrong. I do not like folks doing western pleasure wrong. It really upsets me to see a western pleasure horse with its head down around the knees. A western pleasure horse should have their head level, slightly above or slightly below the withers. Nose slightly in front of the vertical and not be tickie tacking around, the gaits should be slower but not stopped:o) It really upsets me just as it does you all. And I would bet that there are some english riders that upset you as well(ie instructor that taught you to jump before your time), but hey cant fix them all. I do stick to my guns. I have found that the western pleasure canter of a quarter horse doing the gait correctly should be about like a good ole time foxtrotter doing a good foxtrot, somewhere between 5 to 10 MPH.
The other thing I have found is that both horses mentioned will naturally do their gait at that speed when relaxed and left go to their own devices. The quarter horse that the cowboys out west developed and bred were bred to canter slower than the average horse and do it with a level relaxed head. I have also found that they can do it for long periods of time just as the foxtrotter can foxtrot for long periods of time. That is what those two breeds were bred to do. A nice slow jog(ie not crawling) is very comfortable and can be ridden all day. Same with the canter. I really strive to find that natural way of going. I am glad that a western saddle helped you with your canter. When I was I child I had trouble with it, so they made me work it bareback with a halter and lead rope till I got it and understood.

Dena said...

***Places flak helmet firmly upon head and adjusts chinstrap. Proceeds to check kevlar garments for any gaps and makes sure big girl panties are not riding up.***

All before asking, "Is this an argument? Or, a debate?"

Depends on the gag action ladies. There must be about 456 juxtapositions for gag bits.

I like the limited slide 1/4-1/2" circle contained slide gag myself.
Because if you need to save your horse from a bobble around a can those shankless and curbstrapless snaffles ain't gonna cut it.

Try to remember we iz running and spinning at Mach speeds.
At least, that is the goal.

*runs for cover*

katphoti said...

Paul,

"Really dont have time to sit around and keep trying to tell you that I like all disciplines,"

But you came back and posted four new posts anyway, didn't ya?

Thanks for the article, CP! I'll put a link to it on my website. I might do a whole blog about going bitless... Oh wait, there's that thing called TIME... But I do plan to train my foal completely bitless and use a Nurtural bridle. I own one of each of the Nurtural bridle and Dr. Cook's bridle, and I just prefer the Nurtural myself. It's going to take some time and work and probably some trial and error on my part, but I'm excited to try it!

GoLightly said...

First snorkleworthy comment toooo
Who else?
(cowers to Mach 3 can-circler)
Although why anybody would want to, is still kinda out of my realm of things to do on a horse.)

Such idealism is lovely, but it's the "mouth brought along properly at the beginning, and not damaged/ruined" ideal, that blows the idea of all snaffles, all the time outta the water.

You can't have great hands without the right bit.
How many people have truly great hands?
How many horses succeed in having their mouths trained properly at the beginning? And forever after that?

And the ideal of a Bitless Bridle is wonderful.
They can run away real good in those too.
To Great Hands, and educated horses mouths.
Starts with people, of course.
Less education, more bit.

That goes for the horse, too.

Dena said...

GL I think I tinkled. And I would take my hat/helmet off to you if it were not for my fear of lurking snipers...I mean trolls.

You nailed it Woman!!! Now maybe if we tar and feather it we can market it as a new training device.

Paul no offense but what in the hell are you trying to say?
Me? I would be embarrassed to be seen using any of the contraptions shown as shown.

Dena said...

Correction. I would be ashamed and humiliated even if I was the only oone who knew I used crap like that.

Tuffy Horse said...

Brown Eyed Cowgirl wrote:
>However, neither bit really applies any more poll pressure than a regular curb once the curb action makes contact. The moving mouthpiece is what simulates the "gag" action and once the curb action is engaged, the bit stops moving up in the mouth of the horse.

That is absolutely incorrect. I trained polo horses for several years, where gag bits are considered normal. A curb strap does NOT stop the gag action, particularly if you're using gag cheek straps. The mouth piece keeps climbing the more pressure that is applied, and since the bone in the jaw does not yield then the only place for the bit to go is UP.

Gag bits and combo bits are nothing but gimmicks for people that can't ride a fast horse with a snaffle.
And anything with a twisted wire mouthpiece is an advertisement for incompetence.


Tracy M.

Tuffy Horse said...

Dena wrote:

>I like the limited slide 1/4-1/2" circle contained slide gag myself.
Because if you need to save your horse from a bobble around a can those shankless and curbstrapless snaffles ain't gonna cut it.

They cut it on any horse with a good solid foundation on him.

>Try to remember we iz running and spinning at Mach speeds.
At least, that is the goal.

Dena, my pole bending horse can do a run in 19 seconds flat, no tiedown, wearing a plain d-ring snaffle or a little s hackamore. You can run barrels or poles on him with a rope around his neck and I do mean RUN. We've done demos at shows and expos. He's never seen a gag bit in his life.
A good turn doesn't start at the front of the horse, it starts at the rear, which is something most gamers never seem to get. If the horse isn't set in the rear then nothing you put on his head is going to make him turn/stop/behave better.

Tracy M

JohnieRotten said...

Paul said:

works catttle, knows some about roping and reining and team pinning
_____________________

Paul, you need to get the terminology right....it is called Team Penning.

If you can not get a horse nice and soft and supple in a cheap iron snaffle, then I reccommend you learn how. Teach your riders to ride the horse so they do not have to pull so much.

Dena said...

Tuffy Horse you show me 10 1D barrel horses who are in the money wearing D ring snaffles.

I have seen the results of the snaffle revolution.

It is the latest gimmick in training or badge of supposed skill.
I have seen a whole new wave of riders touting their snaffle bridles and new and improved biceps.

However, for the most part, I have no desire to ride the wreck they are in the process of making.

I do not mean to be rude. But the very idea of riding everything for everything in a snaffle is a little silly.

And you will never convince me that advanced training is all about a snaffle.

Because you should think about how many classes you cannot even show in a shankless snaffle.

There are reasons for other bits besides correction or overkill.

katphoti said...

Dena said:

"Because you should think about how many classes you cannot even show in a shankless snaffle."

Really, that's a good fact that I think is relevant to this blog: that is no one's fault but the organizations'. If organizations and associations would start being more open minded, then maybe we would actually see more humane training in the show ring. Not allowing a certain type of bit or not allowing a bitless bridle is not fair to the competitors when they are trying to find what works best for their horse. Requiring a certain type of bit or device is very restrictive and isn't fair to those who want to try things differently. It's why there's a movement (albiet, very small) to allow bitless bridles in dressage competitions.

GL,

Yes, horses can run away in a bitless bridle, too. But guess what? THEY'RE ANIMALS. I never said bitless will keep horses from running away, but it DOES keep the horses I've worked with more relaxed, and they are less likely to run away.

There is no such thing as controlling a horse through brute force. If this is the belief someone has, then they will fail at some point, whether they realize it or not. It's all control through the mind and through years of domestication. I give this example all the time: if a Tyrannosaurus rex comes clomping over the next hill, what do you think your horse will do? All the training in the world isn't going to prepare him for a T-rex. Sure, it's an extreme, but the point is that ANYTHING can happen, and horses are not machines.

However, I'd rather have a device on my horse that isn't going to rip his mouth to shreds when the T-rex comes over that hill and I'm trying to do a one-rein stop. I'd rather try to control the horse's whole head than just rely on a thin piece of metal in his mouth.

I can actually ride my husband's gelding in a bitless bridle without fear of him taking off on me because he is suddenly more comfortable. In fact, I screwed up and had the bridle fitted on him wrong because I'd made some adjustments to it after our first few rides in it, and I could not for the life of me figure out what was going wrong. A friend noticed that the fitting seemed off, and as soon as we got it correct, he was fine. So many of you are missing my point: you hear bitless and you think BAH, that's not possible. I AM PROOF THAT IT IS. He used to brace into the bit and just fly if any other horse passed him. All I could do was hold on. The way our horse was acting was a danger to me and to him--he once tripped over himself and went plummeting when he was out of shape and pulled this stunt when I was riding with a group of friends. After that I was afraid to ride him, which as we all know travels directly down into the reins. Now I am not triggering his flight mode by causing him pain in his mouth. The bit has been his bane his whole life--we have now discovered that he is much more relaxed and calm now that the bit is out of his mouth. Therefore, this makes for a better chance at "control" if something goes wrong. It also makes for a much calmer ride that is actually relaxing for once and we're not fighting him the whole way.

You gotta see the whole picture, folks. That's the key: horses are still animals, and we cannot rely on gadgets to control them. Otherwise we are destined to be consistently frustrated and/or seriously injured. I have learned these facts the hard way.

Paul said...

Dena, I am not ashamed to tell anyone that I use the mikmar training bit when I feel it will help the horse. Lots of barrel and games runners are using the bit. Actually more kinder to a horse than the bit you are using.
I think if you all would call around and do some research. You will find a lot of big name and little name HUS trainers, are using the mikmar three piece D ring with the flat mouth piece. And been doing a pretty good job of winning big name world competitions.

cattypex said...

No offense, Paul, but the HUS horses are just as sorry as the WP horses.... just faster, with weirdly hunched people riding with no contact. NO real hunter would look REMOTELY like that either on the hunt field. And the whole point of HUNTER under saddle should be, "Look! Here's my hunter, see how awesome he moves and carries himself! You can almost hear the hounds, can't you? LET'S GOOOOO!!!!!!" That includes an aspect of "Brilliance" that has been trained, bred and/or beaten out of many of those poor horses. (Just like a WP horse OUGHT to showcase an easy but forward moving horse that would be a blast to take on the trail or around the ranch.)

Katphoti, your story reminds me that yup, you just need to find the bit that your horse goes HAPPIEST in, also considering riders' hands and what you plan to show. IF you show.

Sometimes, that's NO bit at all....

I still think there's nothing prettier than a proud, nice-moving horse with a flowing mane moving out in a fine handmade bosal....

Modern AQHA WP and HUS horses aren't allowed to have any pride or sense of humor.

Paul said...

Cattypex, I am not only talking about Hunter pleasure horses but hunter jumpers and hunters. All my horses have a sense of humor and kick up their heals.
But when I take a ride out and about and want to relax, my horses move outside the ride just like they do on the inside of the ring. A pleasure to ride, comfortable and alert. You may not appreciate the way a western pleasure horse moves but I do. I do not like overly long loop in the reins on a HUS or western pleasure horse. All my horses move with light contact even the western pleasure horses. They move off of my body, legs and hand. I think you will find that the mikmar is 1/2" thick so if it does get up on its side it is still larger than most snaffles folks ride also round on the edges not flat. No sharp edges and really comfortable for the horse.

Dena said...

I am going to preface this by writing this is my opinion.
As, I am not looking for a knockdown and drag down fight. And I do not believe that my way is the only way.
That said.

Paul that Mikmar pulley and pressure bit is the height of ATA.
Artificial Training Aid.

It is a cheat. Whatever that bit has the ability to accomplish anyone who has the ability to train those things wouldn't need that.
Would not choose to implement that.
It is a cheater bit for novices in my opinion.
And I cannot imagine giving the uneducated that much affect on a horses face.
But that is me.
The shankless snaffle with the cricket?
A western mouthpiece with a cavesson? Not in my world.

And implying that it must be okay because it is popular is tantamount to my 6 year old saying, "But all my friends have one."

So? I am not their mother.

Kahpoti I do not disagree that some horses simply need to be freed from a bit period. And if, your solution works so be it.
And good. Happy horse and happy rider.

But in the case of the bits I utilize and ride in they are only as cruel as the hands holding the reins.
And even then, I do not carry a real tough selection of bits.

It has been quite the merry pissing match here.
And it is good to see that people are passionate about doing what they believe to be the right thing.

Here is a thought. the bit is only as good as the rider.
Or, only as good as the tolerance of the horse.

And most of the horses that you can do anything with in a snaffle chances are you could do anything with in a piece of twine around their neck.

It will always be more about the training than the tools.
Combined with the miles on the saddle blanket.

Paul said...

Dena, If you read up above, I am with you on all you say but, the narrow mind about the mikmar is not helping you. I do not need one. What I have found, is that I can take that horse that has such a malfunction, been abused to the point of almost no return, you know the one you spend months with working to fix it. In the right hands the mikmar cuts that down to a few hours? Days? depends on the horse. I prefer your methods, believe it or not though, at one time the gag bits were considered to be a gimmick a crutch and all the same things that folks are saying about the mikmar. I only use it as a training tool and return as quickly as possible to a conventional bit myself. I think gag bits are great myself. In the right hands they really help with speed horses, and there are a lot of other things they can really help with. You are quite correct tough, do not go and buy one because all your friends have one, bad Idea, I agree do not give into your daughter. I can tell you though, if you have a problem communicating something a horse, this line of bits will probably help you communicate it more quickly and correctly. The gentler I can get my point across to the horse and the fewer times it takes to get the point across the quicker I can get on with a regular bit and save the horses mouth and mind. It takes very little for me to get through to most horses with just a snaffle and that is what I use most of the time.

cattypex said...

"the bit is only as good as the rider.
Or, only as good as the tolerance of the horse."

Good food for thought..... and where do we ever find the perfect intersection between "correct," and "least stressful on the horse"? Because when you DO see it, it's beautiful to behold. As close to "natural" as you get....

You know, I've said this before, but maybe a "jog" shouldn't even exist. It's certainly a yukky enough gait in the WP ring these days (though a good collected Arab can float his way thru it pretty nice).

For a thousand years (maybe more), when people wanted an easygoing riding horse (or mule - those were popular in the Middle Ages), they got one that "ambled." This was like a running walk or other "artificial" gait such as we find with Paul's MFTs, Rocky Mountain horses, TWHs (old school), various Pasos, etc.

Posting was invented about 300 years ago as a way for "post-boys" who rode on coach horses to keep their innards from turning to mush.

A dressage rider who can execute a flawless sitting trot while the horse is fully extended is a GOOD rider. WP riders should take note.

Carrie Giannandrea said...

Cattypex said -

"A dressage rider who can execute a flawless sitting trot while the horse is fully extended is a GOOD rider. WP riders should take note."

So true!


Carrie Giannandrea
Dances with Horses
Formula One Farms

Paul said...

cattypex, Wooooo! the problem is that the western pleasure horses of today are bred a lot different than they were years ago. Not sure where you are from. The foundation AQHA horses would jog naturally. You did not have to teach them. That was one of their traits. Most young colts that I start still do this naturally, they prefer to jog vice trot. That is the problem with the AQHA these days. Its hard to find a description of their own horse on their website because they have lost site of it. Yes they have problems. The original breed description was a horse that was to be 14 to 15.5 hands tall and weigh between 1000 to 1200 pounds, the slow jog and canter were in there also. Right along with the get up and go for a 1/4 mile hence the 1/4 horse. They all have Thoroughbred in them but are not supposed to be anything like thoroughbreds by any means. I remember back in the sixties when you got on a colt, that was usually the first gait they hit when you first started riding them. You did not have to ask for it, just merely get on and ride. And for the most part if you could get a saddle on them(which was not hard usually) they were just really kinda broke. Wasn't much work to get a green broke colt, just get on.
AQHA needs to fix this problem by taking a stand, and get back to their roots.

Dena said...

Bits are tools of communication. Leg aids are tools for communication.

When it comes to gadgetry I am very narrow minded.
There is nothing that will take the place of time spent training.

And it seems to me that gadgetrys biggest gimmick is get there faster.
Why?
Because I can almost guarantee the rider at the other end of the gadgetry hasn't even arrived to the the point of embarking let alone getting there.

That is what pisses me off about gadgetry.
It isn't meant for those who already know better.
It is meant to inspire cheating.
And who is going to buy that program?
Those who know the least.

That is just my opinion. Based on the type of horses I want to ride.
Which happen to be the same type I want to build.

I do not much care for riding other people stuff.

Universal cues? Gone by the wayside.
Sacrificed to my trainer says.

It is like driving damn it. It needs to be for a horse and rider to successfully manage even a trail ride.

One of the biggest reasons it is all so confusing nowadays is because everyone is trying to rewrite the book and reinvent the wheel.

Jennifer said...

So, Paul, you finally admit it. You're using a short cut to 'fix' an abused horse.

I've worked with horses that have been over-bitted (put in a curb when they should not have been). I'd rather take the time and be sure the horse is actually *fixed* than take a short cut and then wonder whether I can trust it.

An abused horse needs to be taught to trust, not stuck in a gadget.

Paul said...

Dena,
I am with you, but the thing is not a gadget. Its been in use as a bit since the 50's and variations of the same thing have been around for hundreds of years. Not for every horse, but if you have one that is way unruly and you feel you can not communicate no matter how hard you try over the first few days, give it a try and see if it works. I use it to get through to one of those horses quickly so they learn quicker that we are partners, the horse is better off for it. There is nothing to have to reteach after you pull it off and use another bit. I have found the horse understands and gets it. How is that cheating? I guess I should go back to using a wood stove to cook and heat my water on the stove to take a bath in a number three wash tub like I did when I was a kid? Sounds like an electric stove or gas is cheating. Makes my day easier, so it must be cheating? Really Love ya kid. But sometimes you gotta move forward. Its just a tool that works, thats it. Just as that gag is a tool that helps you lift that shoulder and keep it out of the barrel. I guess the horse industry should go back to feeding nothing but whole kernel corn and whole oats with no minerals or anything else right. Of course not you want to feed your horse the best you can and as natural as you can. Oh yea, unless the horse has problems, then you use all the knowledge available to you, your farrier and your vet to help your horse.
Oh better stop that that might be cheating. Why would anybody not see that a tool to help communicate with your horse is a plus not a minus!

Paul said...

Jennifer, it is not a shortcut and a snaffle is not always the answer. I do not take shortcuts. That is nothing more than your opinion and everyone has one. Just as I have mine. And it is a tool that I use to gain the horses trust and have found it works where a snaffle and all others have failed.

Paul said...

Forgot to say, yes it can quicker to use it, but the speed and quicker is not what I go for, it helps the horse. That is what I go for.

Dena said...

Paul you might not be far off. I do after all feed organically grown forage.
And I want to control the type of minerals and the purity of going into my ponies.

I am a stickler like that. And I like wood burning stoves.
Renewable energy and all of that.

My big dream is to have a windmill that I might tell the electric company to bite me.

But I could definitely cook on a woodburning store.

You can have a big tub if you want.
I do not mind.
Really.

I am laughing. That was really funny.

Paul said...

Dena, with you on the wood burning stove! Beans taste better cooked on a wood burning stove:o) You be a smart gal:o) My ole pop got me lookin for windmill info all the time.
I like all things as natural as possible. and I like to keep it that way as much as possible. But if something comes along that makes things better, then I give it a try. If it works use it, when needed. If not chuck it! Lets face it a bathroom is far better than an outhouse any time of year. Unfortunately, I know just how much better:o)

Paul said...

By the way I like all ya'll. I am glad your here piping up. I think everyone of you sound like great horse folks and your voice is needed. I feel more the way you all feel than you know. Its frustrating when starting, what is supposed to be an American Quarter Horse, and then have to search for nice slow relaxing jog, when it should just simply be there from the start, due to the horses breeding:o)

cattypex said...

"AQHA needs to fix this problem by taking a stand, and get back to their roots."

Paul, I am with you 10000% on that one!

I mean, WHY breed a 17 hand long leggedy thing that has to crunch its body all up and pretty much LIMP to jog, when you already have a neat little horse that CAN??

That's why these pathetic post-legged things exist. I blame macho male owners and trainers with small .... um ........ hands. :-P They just HAD to have a big tall horse, and it's unpatriotic to have one of them thar Thoroughbreds, ain't it??

If you've got a big horse with a big butt and loooong legs, USE IT!!!

Until I see TRUE collection in the WP ring, I'll bitch about it all day long. Until I see a REAL hunter in the HUS ring, I'll bitch even longer.

Paul said...

AMEN! Until they can make a 16.5 hand Wimpy P1, that naturally drops that head to whither height and his nose out a little I will stand next to you shouting to the roof tops. Wimpy P1 was 15.0 hands.
Two Eyed Jack 15.1. Old Sorrel 14.3, peppy san badger 15.1
All built like a Freight Train, all heavy built from the ground all the way up.

cattypex said...

(but I am NOT with you on the neck-level-with-withers thing. Somewhat above, yes. NOT stargazing, no. A natural carriage for the horse's build, and who cares where the damn nose is as long as the horse is good on the bit - different for every horse. Flexion at the poll, instead of weird neck stuff, is what we want.)

cattypex said...

Also, Paul, it might interest you that I've posted before about a Quarter Horse that I know who's foundation bred, but classical dressage trained.

Damned if he doesn't look like an Andalusian......

When you really look at them, a classic QH isn't all that different from the Spanish type horse, just without certain Arab-like flair...

Does that make sense?

Tuffy Horse said...

Dean wrote:

>Tuffy Horse you show me 10 1D barrel horses who are in the money wearing D ring snaffles.

I can't, because there aren't 10 1 D horses that are going to be competing in five years or that have riders that have any clue how to create a bridled horse before messing them up.


>I have seen the results of the snaffle revolution.

Hint: The snaffle has been around for 4000 years. It's not a revolution. The snaffle bit is a direct leverage bit, unlike the curb or gag, which are indirect leverage.

>It is the latest gimmick in training or badge of supposed skill.
I have seen a whole new wave of riders touting their snaffle bridles and new and improved biceps.

I have no idea why anyone would need big biceps to use a snaffle. Do you seriously think a barrel horse is any harder to control than a race horse or CC horse?

>I do not mean to be rude. But the very idea of riding everything for everything in a snaffle is a little silly.

No one is advocating that everything be ridden in a snaffle. And not all barrel horses need to be over bitted in a gag bit, combo bit, hackagag.


>And you will never convince me that advanced training is all about a snaffle.

Advanced training almost always involves a curb. A curb, not a gag.

>Because you should think about how many classes you cannot even show in a shankless snaffle.

All snaffles are shankless. Once a bit has a shank it becomes a curb.

>There are reasons for other bits besides correction or overkill.

The over kill part is for the most part, overkilled. Barrel racers are some of the most notorious for buying into a fad. I was around when the hackagag was first introduced by Lynn MacKenzie. Within two weeks just about everyone on the AZ/CO/NM circuit was trying the sorry things out. We stuck with our snaffles and finished the season with a high point.

Tracy M

Dena said...

Jaysus!!! Shank equals curb??? Well I guess that would make your little s hackamore a bitless curb.

No TH I am not going there with you.
Down the road of renaming tack based on anyones opinion.

In the western world I have yet to hear anyone refer to a broken mouth swivel shanked bit without a slobber bar and without fixed shanks as a curb.

And what about an Argentine snaffle?
And those shitty bits that 90% of trail riders ride in? That thing called a Tom Thumb snaffle.

No maam. I am not going to revise 37 years of learning a universal language to suit the new wave.

If that makes me incorrect well so be it.
At least, when I ask for a particular bit more people know what I mean than don't.

And then there are dogbone snaffles.
And gag snaffles.
And lifesaver snaffles.
Ringed snaffles. Shanked snaffles.

Maybe that is part of the problem.
Hell if we can't even agree to disagree on how we call our bits.
Who is right and who is wrong?

And in some parts of the country there is an "R" in wash.

And damn it right leg = left lead and left leg = right lead.

Except in barrel horses who have been trained offsides to keep them off the cans in the turns.

Trainers should start selling manuals.
Defining their language and style.

horsndogluvr said...

Yes, AQHA needs to go back to its foundation. I'm glad we agree on that, Paul. They need to fire all their judges, and hire peeps like us!

Ruthie

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Awww crap, here I am copying and pasting again. Sorry folks!

Tuffy Horse said...
...I trained polo horses for several years, where gag bits are considered normal. A curb strap does NOT stop the gag action, particularly if you're using gag cheek straps. The mouth piece keeps climbing the more pressure that is applied, and since the bone in the jaw does not yield then the only place for the bit to go is UP...

Tuffy Horse-what you are trying to do is confuse people with misinformation. I stated very clearly the difference between a full sliding gag and a combination bit.

I have never seen a full sliding gag that had a curb strap. So there is no curb action ever applied with that type of bit.

Combination bits were designed to limit the gag. The mouthpiece can only move up so much before mouthpiece meets the top of the bit and that's as far as the gag is able to go.

Very clearly a difference.

Speaking of...if you guys go back a few posts to that cute little rescue mare and take another look at the picture of her running the barrels, you might notice that she is running with a leather caveson clamping her mouth shut so that she cannot gap her mouth and evade the snaffle bit she is purported to be running with. Trading one device for another? Great idea! Of course, TMJ made it perfectly clear she was willing to do that herself, so it doesn't really matter right?

Oh yea, I remember those MacKenzie bits to. Had one and now it hangs on the wall. Want to know what was wrong with them? The headstall hangers were attached to the noseband. Everytime you picked up on the reins, they pinched the side of the horse's nose. It wasn't until the Camarillo bits came out and I noticed the difference between the two and got to try a friend's bit before I ever considered using a combination bit on a horse again.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Dena-I can give you a list of 1D quality horses that have been running and winning for years...they're called "Pro-Rodeo" horses-LOL. If the point is longevity-I think the "bit" becomes irrelevant. You cannot "make" a good speed event horse be competitive if they are not happy with their job or the tack they are wearing. Irregardless of what someone else thinks it is or isn't.

Now if the list has to be of top competitive horses winning with strictly a snaffle bit for the same length of time...ummmm...I can't think of any.

The little S-hack. I have that. I have had two horses that ran great in it. And often just ride with it. It's not that mild. Really! It's a hard rope noseband with a chain curb and shanks. It's quite surprising the rate it can encourage. Kristie Peterson ran her horse, Bozo with one.

Did you guys know that after she retired from the pro-circuit, they trained Bozo to be a pole horse and her daughter won collegiate titles with him? Kristie didn't think it was fair to let her daughter run barrels on him against the other girls. How cool is that?

Cut-N-Jump said...

See Spot Run- I hope you did well at the show! I too was supposed to show, but the reasoning behind why I did not, will soon be on my grooming blog.

We all go with the hopes of winning. Otherwise, why bother? How many people do you know of that would shell out the $$$, with the intent to go in the ring and place dead last? Not too many...

How people go about increasing their chances of winning is what separates a lot of us here. Training- vs.- shortcuts, gimmicks and submission.


Paul, DUDE! You are catching it from all angles... yet it seems you thought I was the only one taking you at your words and pointing out the discrepancies in your statments.

Again, I am glad you said I am perfect, as you are the only one on the planet to think so.

In riding my mare over the weekend, I had another thought relating to all of this.

The bit is not the only way you can inflict pain on your horse. Nooope, sorry.

Bouncing along on their back at any gait with a crappy seat- OUCH! Accidently banging along on their sides with less than quiet legs- No thanks!
Using a saddle that does not fit- WHY?

We have had numerous discussions about various aspects of training here. Many of the discussions have reached depths you may not fathom. It's okay. Just keep floating until something comes along you can comment on and add a worthy thing to it.

katphoti said...

Dena, I TOTALLY agree with your Sept 22, 9:53 AM post! And the one after that. AND OMG I HATE TOM THUMB BITS!

Dictionary.com definition of "shortcut":

1. a shorter or quicker way.
2. a method, procedure, policy, etc., that reduces the time or energy needed to accomplish something.

Paul said:

"I do not take shortcuts."

But earlier he said:

"been abused to the point of almost no return, you know the one you spend months with working to fix it. In the right hands the mikmar cuts that down to a few hours? Days? depends on the horse."

Okay, how can you say that you don't take shortcuts? What's wrong with spending the months to "fix," as you say, the horse? And honestly, what's wrong with spending the years it can take to properly train a horse? Horses don't need to be fixed when they've been abused--they need to be rehabilitated. There is a difference, and rehabilitation is not about taking 30 minutes to rebit the horse. It's about the mental and physical process that goes along with it.

My final thought on Mikmar bits: if they are so wonderful, why aren't Olympic riders using them? Why aren't people like Clinton Anderson, Stacy Westfall, and other respected BNTs using them? I am sure that it's because no bit can replace quality time and proper classical training. To me, that is worth way more than a $169 bit.

Paul said...

cut and jump, dont have time to waste on you.

Paul said...

katphoti, dont have time for your cut and past of only what fits your narrow mind, I also said it was for the horses sake and there was nothing to be undone after the mikmar. Olympic riders are using them. And respected trainers. You need to do your research. It is a tool that works.

Paul said...

Do you walk to get to the other side of town? I guess we should it is better for us? Unless of course you count the blisters and all other ailments.

cattypex said...

(Confession: before I knew any better, I used a generic Tom Thumb on my QH mare when I rode her Western. For the record, she didn't mind it, but since she didn't neck rein all that well anyway, I used my legs to steer her anyway, and she always had a nice mouth, so a little touch worked just fine. Or just sitting back and thinking WHOA. A little mumbled "ho" - which is how folks say it around here.)

(Ignorant trail riders make me want to punch 'em in the face. Well, OK, the ones who won't learn. I guess I'm always nice at first.....)

Paul said...

cattypex, a tom thumb in the right hands or the right trainer observing with the right horse has a good purpose and works well to teach horse or rider. Of course its way not the best, but works. And the use of your leg and seat is just what you needed to do, good job! Yes, stupid trail riders are a pain in the arss

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