Search This Blog

Follow by Email

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Just when I thought I had seen the worst...

This is actually Wednesday's post, but I had time to do it today, so here it is, a bit early.

Every time I think I have seen the scariest bit I find something so exponentially worse it makes my skin crawl. I will never understand why people feel the need to even invent something like this, much less actually USE it on a horse.

This lovely thing is advertised as a mule bit. Can you imagine the force something with shanks like that and a nice steel bar for a noseband would exert? Lets not try actually TRAINING the mule or anything. I know they are smarter than most people, but damn. Really?

This nice little combination is a gag/hackamore combo with a nice little copper wire wrapped noseband for that little extra "attention getter". Holy shit, are these folks for REAL? This is NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR TRAINING! You can train a horse to do pretty much anything you want (barring upper-level stuff) in a snaffle people, really you can.

Ah yes, and if the previous bit just isn't enough, here is a similar one with a chain mouthpiece. Just in case that twisted wire doesn't have enough bite for you.

Here is a little training accessory for you to use with that teeny twisted wire gag bit you bought. A nice gag headstall with a wire crownpiece. That will get ol' Dobbin's attention.

And lastly, if Dobbin just won't quit throwing his head with that new bit from the beginning of the post, here is a tie-down noseband that is sure to put a stop to that. Just be sure that you keep paper towels on hand to keep mopping the BLOOD off of his nose.

It never ceases to amaze me the contraptions people will use instead of actually bothering to TRAIN their horse. Things like this just make me ill.


  1. Sorry, but the second and third bit, just look incredibly ineffective. There is really no major gag action going on, if it is being used with a single rein. The mouthpeice would instead slide forward and back in the mouth being more mild in comparison when you look at the mechanics of the bit and how it would work.

    Now the nosebands, the mouthpieces... and that first thing- WTF? A metal, wire wrapped tie down. Holy Shit!

    If they have to resort to crap like this to 'train' their horse, I hope one day the horse will flip over and kill their stupid ass.

    I wonder where they draw the line between training and torture.

  2. The only conclusion I can come to is that there must be a large number of horse people who simply don't like their horses, in order for there to be a market for this kind of thing.

  3. Most of those are bits used by barrel racers. Some horses simply cannot be controlled in a ring snaffle once that adrenaline gets pumping regardless of how well trained they are.

  4. And, before I forget, a chain mouthpiece is actually a lot milder than a twisted wire. It conforms to the mouth and provides a lot of bend.

  5. ouch ouch ouch.

    My horse would send me to the rafters if I put one of those in her mouth. OMFG.

  6. That tie down makes me want to cry.

  7. I can never figure out how people go to sleep at night after using something like that. They must drink a lot or something.

    I know there are some owners that think horse's don't feel pain. I've heard people say that.

    Heck, I even heard a vet tell a group of students once that a horse didn't feel the needle going in (drawing for coggins). So as not to be rude, I did not cut in on the lesson. But I wanted to say: THAT HORSE FEELS IT, THAT'S NOT INSENSITIVITY, THAT'S GOOD TRAINING YOU DUMB B****!.

    But I didn't, might not have been the pc thing to do and I was not at the top of the totem pole.

    People actually believe that horses get physically numb to training devices as well. Um, no, mentally numb.

    Thanks and no thanks for the post. :) Sometimes I like to live in my world of o-ring snaffles and short shank low port curbs and pretend like the rest don't exist.

  8. it's like something from the Dark Ages ,I can't ever get over the fact that 99% of humans think animals are just something to control by fear and pain. After all they are sure it's easier that way ,I don't think it is. Any way I would never consider using such devices,they're just over the top

  9. Oh my god....

    Want to know how I broke out my big bad 'crazy' Arab stallion last year?! In a NYLON HALTER with some cheap reins clipped to it.

    He's gelded now an nearly 4. These days I ride him in a plain old French link snaffle attached to a plain old one eared leather headstall. Nothing else. No bells and whistles. Guess what? I can jazz him up like crazy, tear around the arena at a full gallop, ask him to WALK and he'll come back and plod around on a loose rein.

    Plod on a loose rein or stop are his defaults. Why? Because I spent a LOT of time TRAINING him!

    Good god, I cannot imagine putting anything like those things on him. He hops and thrashes his head around if I apply anything more than light pressure with my pinky fingers on the reins on either the halter or the bridle....

    Crazy pain causing gadgets are apparently the new substitute for actually training one's horse...

  10. The excuse that you need something like these to stop a horse hopped up on adrenaline is BS. If you take the time to actually TRAIN the horse to stop or slow down, no matter how "up" he is, he should come down.

    My old mare is a rehabbed abuse case, and she was a confirmed runaway. She will get speed drunk if you don't watch her and the more severe the bit and the more you pull, the faster she goes. Pain is not the answer. To this day you cannot stop her by hurting her, it throws the "runaway" switch in her brain and she shuts you out. It took years to reprogram her, but you can never make a horse completely forget 15 years of abuse. I had to retrain her to where I can stop her with my voice and body, not a bit at all. It took YEARS, but it can be done.

    With a young horse that dosen't have the emotional baggage, it is so much easier, you have a blank slate. Teach them that no matter what, "Whoa" means STOP, you can do that, really.

    Training, training, training. That is the answer. Take the time to do it right.

  11. I had a horse person tell me that "horses are dumber than a post, you have to beat them into submission". I could see someone like her using any/all of these torture devices.

    My feeling was that SHE was the one that was dumber than a post and couldn't figure out how to train her horse to cooperate.

    People often comment that I need harsher bits because I only ride all my horses in full-cheek snaffle bits. Getting a harsher bit is not a substitute for training a good stop. IDIOTS!

  12. It's not that the people who use these bits don't like their horses. They are SCARED of their horse. Those are the same people that haven't taken time to really learn what makes a horse act or react. They just use what ever they think will work to make the horse do what the person wants.

  13. It's a wonder horses haven't all given up on humans and mass migrated to the moon.

  14. any body that needs to use one of these to ride should not be around horses. What kind of tack shop would sell these devices?

  15. Jessica said,

    Some horses simply cannot be controlled in a ring snaffle once that adrenaline gets pumping regardless of how well trained they are.

    My first thought: Then don't barrel race them. Problem solved!

    My second thought: Like ANYTHING is going to stop a 1000-pound animal if it decides to get going, other than a brick wall. Literally--my husband actualy experienced that. ANY horse can be trained to go fast and slow down when asked--it's just that most low-end barrel racers don't want to take the time to do it. Oh wait, we see that in most disciplines....

    For the Tennessee Walking Horse
    When the Painted Horse Comes
    The Murder of the English Language

  16. OW. ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow OW.
    NO. There should be a prison...

  17. Jessica said the bits are necessary for barrel horses---
    NO NO NO. TRAIN the horse instead. It can be done, really. And what do you do when the horse starts running thru the big bit? Get a bigger one & put on worse nose pieces & tie downs?
    The chain bit does drape in the mouth until the reins come into use, then it will really hurt the horse.
    If Jessica really believes the shit she said, I weep for her horse(s).

    sagebeasties.blogspot--feeling a bit snarly right now

  18. Those bits are a lame excuse for being unable to properly train a horse. Or you are too lazy to learn.

    Barrel horses are still HORSES. They can be trained if you care to.

    Try stopping a fit event horse while on course. That's right, you can. THey are 10 times fitter than any barrel horse and just as hyped up on adrenline. The differnce is that *thier* riders have a clue.

    Oh, SCA, you don't need anything more than a simple snaffle for upper level dressage. The double bridle *is* required for competition, and one does need to practise with it. However, you will find that many trainers school even thier GP horses in just a snaffle and a flash. The leverage of the curb *does* do many things, but it's not a hard requirement to effect high levels of collection.

  19. I find that the curb just allows me a teeny amount more control of my horse's flexion and a bit finer communication. But no, it is not absoultely necessary. I know that many associations require horses over certian ages to use a curb bit, but I really think those rules should be done away with. In my opinion, if you can achieve the same effect in a snaffle or hackamore (bosal, not mechanical) that is just proof of the level of training and effort you have put into your horse.

  20. No doubt designed by some distant relative of Dr. Mengele. Sheesh.

  21. about whether or not a horse 'feels' a IV being inserted... I don't think it's only about training the horse, it's training the human too.

    Have you ever had a trully gifted phlebotomist do a draw on you? I have, in the hostpital. Those nurses were trying like hell to collapse my veins, but the phlebotomist, WOW. Tell you what, if that guy hadn't woken me to TELL me he was going to take blood, I would have had NO CLUE he was even there. Yes, what I was "on" made me sleepy, but I wasn't on pain meds just a little drowsy.

    I'm pretty good at hitting a horse in the vein, maybe even as good as that nice phlebotomist from the hospital. Only one of my horses is difficult to stick and that's just one of the many things he's hard headed about. One I can do w/o a halter because he knows I'm not going to rip thru his neck!

  22. Clearly, ya'll have a low opinion of barrel racers. And that's fine. Whatever you want to think.

    But I stand by what I said.

    Well-trained barrel horses (and, yes, they do exist) run in a variety of bits, including a few in a ring snaffle. But, look at the NFR horses. Look at the ones winning the big 4Ds. How many of those horses are running, winning, and being stopped running out the gate in a ring snaffle? I'd wager not many. Would you call them poorly trained runaways with riders without a clue? I call them highly trained athletes.

    All I'm saying is that perhaps, these bits that seem evil and torturous (though that first one definitely qualifies) might have a place in the larger world of disciplines. Maybe its time to educate yourself and be a bit less judgmental.

  23. Having ridden my mare in a simple Reinsman chain shank roping bit for for almost a year now, I will vouch that the chain bit itself, (without the rest of the metal that is), much MILDER than even a standard snaffle bit. She can be flexed to both sides (nose to shoulder), direct reined, backed up, light as a feather.

  24. Wow, you don't stop a horse with a bit. You stop it with training. The bit is simply a communication aid, not an emergency brake. A well trained horse, no matter how excited, no matter what discipline should stop when asked, no matter what. You should not have to resort to a big strong bit. TRAIN YOUR HORSE! When you say "whoa", when you "stop riding", when you pick up the reins, when you settle into the saddle, when you shift your weight back, whatever cue you train it to. You shouldn't be hauling on his mouth to stop him. Reining horses stop without it, dressage horses stop without it, event horses stop without it, why not speed event horses?

  25. There was an article in the Jan. Horse Illustrated about training the barrel horse. The well-know rider was shown on several different horses, with NO extra anything! Just saddle, regular Western bridle, person. Looked like normal curb bits, too. Not one open mouth, either...

    I suspect that plain chain bit COULD be mild, if the links weren't too thin or sharp.

    I also agree that if you can successfully ride in a snaffle or bosal, you should be able to show in that, too!!

  26. sometime i think i should sell my hardmouthed, no "stop" gelding because no student can ride him... Then i see bits like these and NEVER NEVER NEVER want my boy ending up with a person who thinks THIS will fix him and stop him!

  27. If you look at the mechanics of how each of these bits work and picture them in action, you can see they really don't work at all.

    They may LOOK horrific, (which they certainly don't disappoint in that category) but picture a headstall and reins and how things work when pressure is applied by pulling on the reins.

    The first bit, the nosepeice hinges on the mouthpiece. Pulling back on the reins pivots the mouthpiece, the upper rings rotate forward and down, the hinges of the noseband gets pulled down and the front of the noseband is forced up, the curbchain is completely ineffective as pictured.

    The 'gag' snaffles have no 'gag' action to them. The mouthpeice would merely slide forward and back, even allowing some relief instead of added pressure. They are no more than a side pull with a wire wrapped metal noseband.

    The tiedown? There's a waste of metal. If your horse is poorly behaved enough that riding them warrants this type of equipment, you more than miserably failed as a trainer AND as a rider.

    As others have stated when riding dressage, the halt comes from the rear. Riding our cutters we sit and quit, taking our legs off the horses side and putting a hand on their neck- the reins don't get much droopier than that. This all applies to my hunters and jumpers as well, sit down, quit riding, ask for the stop and take your legs off their sides.

    Riding is a matter of directing the horse by controlling their entire body. Training is teaching the horse (and/or rider) the cues and desired responses.

    Crappy riding is yanking your horse around by their face. Crappy training is not much of an extension of crappy riding.

    and like any of us would tend to possibly forget...

    Any bit can be used harshly. It all depends on the hands holding the reins.

  28. As a British dressage trainer I have collected bit for 45 years, and own many of the bits on this page.

    They are great for showing people what one should not, and cannot do, to a horse. But I have often wondered if most were designed by the same folks who invented the thumb screw and rack.

    In the hunt field we often had Irish hunters who were heavy in the hand, but would still never consider using anything but a snaffle on them.

    Very interesting web site.. I have giggled all the way through it and suggest you write a book!

  29. This is so sad -.-'
    Those "people" who invent these things or use them on their horses should be forced to wear them with someone pulling as best asn he could! I would do the pulling on them assholes voluntarily.