All natural horse care in the west of Ireland

Bits CONTROL Horses
Thursday, 29 August 2013
I am getting a bit fed up hearing - "You need a bit to CONTROL a horse"

Contrary to what most people think - I am not against bits! My horses wear bits but I use them for communication not for CONTROL
What I am against is the misconception that bits CONTROL horses, the ignorant/uneducated way people use bits and the unschooled hands that pull and haul at the bits in their horses mouths in an effort to CONTROL their horse.
“Most people believe that you should start a horse with a really quiet bit, so-to-speak. Then the further along in the horse's training you go, the bigger the bit you should automatically put in his mouth because it takes a bigger bit for him to understand more. People think that there's a direct relationship between what a horse knows and what kind of bit is in his mouth. What actually happens is that the horse gets used to the bigger and bigger bits. Eventually, you need the bigger bit because the horse is used to the beating he gets with it every day…...Horses are so sensitive that they can feel a fly land on their skin. They can feel and understand a mild bit if the rider knows how to use it. But you can't train in shouts and show in whispers. When you put a bit in the horse's mouth that multiplies your pressures you lose your corridor of aids.”
Ron Meredith
“Loud Bits Destroy Communication”
Trawl through some of the some of the horse related message boards and see how many discussions there are on which bit to use to gain CONTROL of their horse.

”My horse doesn't listen to the bit!”
”I can’t stop my horse”
”My horse runs through the bit”

Sometimes they might be advised by to take a step back in their own and/or their horses training and go back to using a simple snaffle some (most) will still go down the route of using a bigger, more severe bit to gain CONTROL and get the horse to listen!

And of course the problem is never blamed on 'the rider' because for most of the people that believe a bit CONTROLS a horse have been riding for years and are 'Experts'. It's just the way it's always been done and it's always worked before. That's how I was taught and it always worked on the school ponies, why should I change now?

So if a horse is not listening to you/the bit, running through the bit or won't stop for you (with or without a bit) - then it's obviously the horse's fault!! Put a bigger bit in for more CONTROL!!      

In my opinion, if the horse doesn't listen when it's in a halter then it's not going to listen through a piece of metal in it's mouth.

CONTROL does not come the bit it comes from the horse trusting in you & yielding to you mentally & emotionally and when this happens his feet will follow on.

“Bits are a mystery to most people. The most common misconception seems to be; the bigger the misbehavior, the bigger the bit you need to correct it. I, on the other hand, teach people why they really don’t even need a bit to control their horses. In most cases it’s a revelation for the person and a relief for the horse. Horses run off or bolt out of fear. Its starts in the mind, goes through the body and down the legs to the feet. Once the horse is this frightened the rider is essentially riding scared feet. Most of the time it doesn’t matter what bit is being used in the horse’s mouth he can’t be stopped. I’ve seen horses with huge shank bits, martingales and nosebands stick their chins on their chests and go! When prey animals get that emotional, and they need to save their lives, they will run through anything, painful or not.”
Pat Parelli
“A BIT OF SAVVY: Where, When and Why To Use A Bit”

“A bit doesn’t mechanically slow a horse down. Horses must be taught what the use of the bit means and must have an incentive to respond to it’s message. But novice riders generally don’t understand this and think of the reins and bit as brakes, that somehow pulling on a bit mechanically affects a horse’s speed.”
John Lyons
“Communication Through Cues pt 2”

Do tough horses really need tougher bits? Big bits are used when the common belief is that to get control of a horse, you have to over-power him. Having to use a bigger bits a sure sign you have little or no communication with your horse’s mind.”
Pat Parelli
“Level 1 Partnership Pack"

When a horse is frightened, it is scared in his mind first, this fear then travels to the feet.

When you have your horse's mind you have all the CONTROL you need!! 
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