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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Torture Device Tuesday

Here is a nice little number. This is marketed as a "Sherry Cervi" brand bit by Reinsman. It is a shame that someone would waste the time embellishing something like this with such nice silver accents. Can you imagine the leverage this thing exerts on a horse's mouth? It has a limited gag mouthpiece that is a nice twisted wire dog bone. The shanks being extended an extra distance above the mouthpiece adds to the amount of leverage exerted. Another unnecessary piece of junk marketed to the gaming set.

Ooh, lookie, I found that you can get it with an eensy weensy thin twisted mouthpiece so that you can cut his tongue in half with it.


  1. Why don't they make in with piano wire for a mouth piece? Now that would do the trick!

  2. Since you seem to spend most of your time searching for hideous tack and dressing up plastic horses, I am going to assume that you don't actually ride or know anything about tack. Please, let me educate you. The first bit that you posted is not a severe bit at all. If you want to see severe bits, go to the TWH shows...but I digress. Back to the posted bit, the gag action, while it sounds awful, is not nearly as harsh as it sounds. The whole point of a gag bit is to give the horse a chance to respond before the mouthpiece becomes engaged. Since the shanks and purchase (top shank) are pretty much the same length, this adds balance to the bit and reduces the amount of "whoa" in the bit. Larger shank to purchase ratio=more severe bit. The mouthpiece is actually more comfortable for the horse to carry than a single broken mouthpiece. The more breaks in a mouthpiece, the better it conforms to the horses mouth, and the less likely it is to hit the top of their mouth. Keep in mind that any bit can be severe, it all depends on the hands that are using it.....

    1. No one can deny the fact that horse riding is nothing but forcing the the horse to do what it does NOT want in fact by using these devices to entertain you and other while a race. Whould wear those devices? (You? Would you try it?). They are designed to hurt the horse if it does not do what you wish MR. Prorider. Horse riding is a sin. I just do not know why friendly dolphin shows are banned while horse riding is legal. Can you make the diference?

  3. canchaser -

    Sorry folks, but I have been riding and training for years. I have held these bits in my hands and tried out the leverage and mouthpieces by holding the mouthpiece in my hand and running the chain under my arm. Then, I pull on the shanks. Yes, they do hurt, and I guarantee that my arm is a hell of a lot tougher than any horse's mouth should be. And a three piece bit is not severe if it is a relatively thick smooth mouthpiece, which this is not. Sorry to disappoint, but I am not the idiot you seem to believe I am. And if you cannot refrain from calling names and acting like an angry pre-teen, then I will simply delete you. If you don't like it, don't read it.

  4. Got to weigh in here
    CanChaser you have to admit that this bit is a torture device in the hands of the untrained rider. This bit might be fine for someone that has a FINISHED HORSE and who is a FINISHED RIDER but these are on the market for every person that comes downt the pike and says "I want a pony". I guarantee that this bit used by someone like Buck Branaman, John Lyons, or maybe even scaequestrian, will not hurt a horse, but that is not who buys these bits. It is the guy that trail rides every couple a months and cant stop his horse cause its to fresh, or the gal that wont take the time to teach her horse to stop at the gate after a barrel run.
    Since there is no law that says "you cant buy this because you dont know how to use it" then basicly we need to educate people about the danger of these bits and I think that this blog is right for posting them as torture devices. It is worth it if it keeps one horse from being subjected to this. I knew a horse once that was being given away for free because she would freak out out of the blue. Finally a woman agreed to try her so when she had her vet checked they found she had had half her tongue cut off. Maybe it wasnt the bit that cut half her tongue off but maybe it was. Bottom line is she was probably destined for slaughter if that woman had not taken her,(slaughter was legal then). I believe that mare ended up in a bitless bridle.
    So Canchaser think about that before you call someone a name that is merely trying to help horses have a better life.

  5. Apparently I cant spell sorry about the spelling errors. No spell check

  6. Thank you Triple Star Cowgirl.

    I agree that these things should require a license to purchase, some sort of proof that you know what the hell you are doing. Though, if you DO know what the hell you are doing, why do you need one anyway? If you are a competent trainer, then this sort of equipment is not necessary. I would never personally use one, though I could, and without causing undue pain, I believe that in competent hands it would be ok-ish. Note the "ish", because, as stated above, why?

  7. Aw you don't want to play when people call you out for your lack of knowledge.
    You can judge those of us that compete as much as you want but the fact is we get out there and do more with our horses then the vast majority including yourself do.
    ANY bit can and will cause a great amount of damage. Even a lovely french link can tear a horses mouth apart. Instead of calling everything evil , try to educate.

  8. Why use it? Because not every horse is different. Some horses do actually require a little more bit then others. When your running a barrels you can have the best trained horse in the world , but add speed to the equation and your playing a whole different game.
    Someday when you stop playing fairytale games with your horses you might learn that.

  9. "I meant to say not every horse is the same"

  10. Um, honey, I HAVE competed. For years. Just cause I don't brag about it dosen't mean I haven't.

    I have also rehabbed runaways that you couldn't stop with the biggest bit in the world. Now, you can ride in a sidepull. Hell, I even helped one girl fix her barrell horse through email. She tried actually working with her horse and lo and behold, big bit no longer needed.

    So I call bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit.


  11. BrokenhalterFarm
    There are two types of horse people in the world There are the ones that need more bit and the ones that need no bit at all. I have seen and know barrel racers from both groups. Can you guess which catagory I think you fall into.

    I dont think anyone was judgeing people that compete.

    Maybe you should look at this like it is an opportunity to rise above your fellow competetors. The problem with most people is that few ever go the extra mile, why not challenge the norm.

    Oh by the way, speed has nothing to do with this. Speed does not make "the best trained horse in the world" less trained, it just makes bad riders worse.

  12. Again, you have demonstrated your lack of knowledge about bits. The above bits are not designed for "whoa". They are designed to help keep the shoulder elevated in a high speed turn. You brag about being able to ride a horse in a side pull, well, improperly adjusted and used, a sidepull can be a very severe mechanism and can in fact break a horses' nose. However, it has its place and can be quite comfortable for the horse....used properly. This is the point we are trying to make....used properly, the above bits are not torture devices. And, being that these bits were designed by one of the best and most respected barrel trainers in the world, I would think that she knows a bit more about barrel racing than you do..........

  13. Prove it. Prove you have done everything that you say. Otherwise you are just another blog talking about stuff you obviously arent familer with.
    Anyone can ride a horse w/t/c in a side pull with enough training , but when you add real speed to the mix thats when you may need to step the gear up a notch. Its not that the horse or rider is poorly trained , its that you have now added a new element that is taking away some control. A horse that walks off with you isnt hard to deal with , but if your running a barrel pattern or a reining pattern on a horse with a big motor you more then likely will need something more then a french link snaffle to properly communicate with your horse.

  14. Control is in training. Not the other way around.

  15. Thanks for the very zen comment , care to elaborate on what exactly you do with horses?

    The best trained horse in the world running hard is going to be harder to stop then when they are at a walk. By adding speed you are taking away some control but by adding say a correctiontype bit you are leveling the playing field a little.
    Care to debate that or are you going to babble useless sayings?

  16. Triple Star-
    This bit might be fine for someone that has a FINISHED HORSE and who is a FINISHED RIDER...


    Um, no! Not just no!, but HELL NO! Not even then.

    A 'finished horse' shouldn't need it, and a 'finished rider' wouldn't use it.

    Other than that, I agree with what you said. Nothing to keep it out of the hands of the ignorant who lack T/S/K. Those are the ones who buy and use this crap, subsequently ruining more good horses than those of us with T/S/K can fix.

    The ignorant would rather waste their money on shit like this, instead of paying a competent person to train the horse and teach them to ride. Instead they buy and use every gimmick on the market and spend more on those, vets and ambulance rides, than a trainer would have cost them.

    For Sherry Cervi or any other 'professional' to put their name on or otherwise endorse such crap, just tells me how much they don't value true training or the safety of others who may buy this and use it without knowing how it works or why. What do they care- they made their money, let someone else deal with the legalities.

    Carry on canchaser and brokenhalter. This is sort of fun!

  17. TSCowgirl... YOU ROCK.

    Cuz I was thinking the ezack same THING.

    A severe-ish bit is no problem in the hands of a master, but......

    Sorry, Canchaser, I see precious few "masters" around here!!

  18. This is a lost battle, and kinda makes me ashamed to be a barrel racer. I will take my little hackamore anyday (yes yes I know hackamores can be bad too) but i like it and so does my barrel mare. And you know the thing I love to do the most with my barrel horse, ride around in a halter. At shows I see alot of harsh bits, but I see just as many snaffles. I'm friends with one guy who traines most of his horses in D ring snaffles and runs them in it, he places alot. So you really don't need leverage with a well trained horse. Any bit can be harsh in the wrong hands, and it's normally the wrong hands that buy the harshest bits.

  19. And how am I to prove this? Will you come to my house and watch me ride? Will you come see my great big bins o'trophies? Will you talk to all of the people that I have worked with? Would you like me to post the whole big long email saga with the girl with the barrel horse? (I can do that again) Would you like me to have folks come on here with testimonials? What do you want people? Can you ride a your horse (mine is a reformed runaway) 5 miles home from a trail ride with the entire bridle hanging on the saddle horn? Can you jump it with no bridle?

    Oh, and if your horse needs help elevating his shoulders, try teaching collection, self carriage, and balance before anything else.

  20. The only point im hoping to make is that EVERY horse is different therefore different bits may or may not be needed. If you cannot understand that then you havent ridden very many horses.

  21. I know that horses need different bits, all of mine do. The point I am trying to make is that there is no NEED for something like this. It should never get to that point. If you need a curb bit, fine, use one. But use one that is the least amount of bit you need. Things like the bits posted today too often are used instead of training and by untrained riders looking for a "quick fix". No bit should be used as a substitute for training. I see many of these advertised as being able to fix various issues such as dropping shoulders, rating, etc., that could be fixed permanantly with some intensive training other than constantly running the patterns.

  22. So are you saying that Martha, world champion barrel horse 2008, is poorly trained and that Lindsay Sears is a crappy rider because she uses a lifter bit? I don't think that you have ever rode a high calibur barrel horse and therefore have no idea what needs to be done in a run. And you may have boxes and boxes of ribbons and trophies, but if they are from the local playday where there were you and 9 other people, it doesn't really count. I have helped numerous people, not just one, improve their barrel runs, not by changing bits, but by training and doing slow work. However, there is times when a bit change is necessary, and anyone who thinks otherwise obviously hasn't rode much at all.

  23. Trying to talk to folks like those defending this bit here is like the old saying "Never get in a mud fight with a pig. The pig enjoys it too much and you just get muddy." Those who want to learn, will. Those who chose ignorance will remain in ignorance.

  24. This bit is meant for experienced hands to give cues quickly which is needed in high speed events. Obviously meant for light hands. My mare is happier in a bit like this rather than fighting with her in a snaffle during a run. Any piece of tack can be a torture device in an idiots hands. I've seen yee-haws do more damage with tom thumbs and snaffles.

  25. Oh yeah, and I use a Connie Combs stabalizer bit to compete in and an o-ring snaffle to ride and train in. Sometimes what you can ride and train in is not what is needed to run in. If you have trouble understandiing that, then you are more closed minded and ignorant than originally thought.

  26. nitrousforce - I applaud you!! And tom thumbs should be outlawed...those bits are aweful!

  27. Don't assume that a horse starts dropping his shoulder because he is constantly running the pattern. Most of the time, when something like this happens, barrel racers do go back to the basics. That is the first thing that happens, if you were to participate in barrel racing or had any real knowledge on the discipline, I am sure you would know that. We often times, before even going back to basics, rule out pain. So we are hardly using these bits as a "quick fix".

    I am sorry you've been told wrong, but please, educate yourself before making assumptions or listening to some backyard "gamer".

  28. lol, OldMorgans put it perfectly.

  29. CanChaser, Brokenhalter and Nitrous force... Thank you!!!

  30. The problem is, ANYONE can buy ANY of these bits. And those who are truely clueless, are the ones out there trying to fix the issues that their horse has, with some bit that looks like it will control their horse better. They are easily swayed by the bit having the name of some rider etc. on the tag, and sharp wording to make it sound like this one piece of equipment will make Ol Dobbin become the perfect animal when they ride him.

  31. I give up. Some folks will never understand. You are right OldMorgans, the defenders of things like this is "like the old saying "Never get in a mud fight with a pig. The pig enjoys it too much and you just get muddy." Those who want to learn, will. Those who chose ignorance will remain in ignorance."

    I guess no one reads the disclaimer at the top of the blog.

    So, to all who are good riders and can use equipment properly and who know how to fix issues with their horses without resorting to a piece of tack to solve their problems, kudos to you. The post dosen't apply to you so get your panties untwisted.

    And FYI, the information about the bits and "instructions for use" came from the manufacturer.

  32. xsecertsx-your last sentence above said everything that needs to be said. i agree with that 100%. good post, interesting to see the different views.

  33. Yeah anyone can buy one of these bits, but usually you see the yee-haw and newbies riding in something like a tom thumb, smaffle, curb bit or mechanical hackamore.

    People that drop this kind of money on a bit are usually some what educated in the sport and have common sense. Notice I said usually!

    We all can't just ride in snaffles, making split second cues on a powerhouse of a horse isn't always easy. People that want to excel use what works for them. Obviously if it causes any discomfort to the horse, a smart person with common sense would be able to tell. I have a few horses that are happier carrying a bit like this, they perform better and understand what im asking with out me having to pull or fight with them.

  34. oops 2 posts up, i am a slow typist. i lean toward the less is more camp myself.

  35. I'm lol-ing at the idea that just because a Big Name Trainer uses something it's okay. I think most of the big name barrel racers would ride with a bear trap on their horses faces if it got them better results faster and put them in the money more often.

    Not just picking on western people - I've seen the same mindset in every single facet of the horse world Ive been involved with.

    I'm not Sherry Cervi or Martha Josey. My next paycheck isn't depending on how well I can do with a horse and how fast I can do it. I don't have to worry about keeping up my reputation as a winner so people will go to my clinics, buy my videos/tack/books.

    If I want to take a helluva long time to do things right so that I don't need to strap everything but the kitchen sink to my horse's face, I have that luxury.

  36. Oldmorgans - the same can be said for you to. You do not want to learn about equipment you are ignorant about.
    But what do you expect from trail riders.

  37. Do they have this in breyer size lol?

  38. See, Kitty, it's ignorant people like you that give most disciplines a bad name.

  39. S-

    You're welcome to your opinion, however forgive me if I do not give any weight to it. :)

  40. This all started because someone came on this blog and started running the blog owner in the dirt. That in and of itself speaks volumes.

    As for your question brokenhalterfarm. Zen? Hardly, just plain common sence. What you dont know about someone is more important than what you do know.

  41. Geez, just delete the oinkers so we can move on!!

  42. Darnit. didn't mean to post that so quick.

    Kiddies, it's one thing to disagree with someone's opinion. Its entirely another to desparage them in every way you can. Does it really make you feel better to tear up a person who doesn't agree with you?? She *could* stoop to your level, but loookie, she didn't, did she?

    Just shows where the class is 'round here.

  43. I'll weigh in I don't compete. I do however teach college to students that compete at the national level regularly. None of them use bits like this. The best one of the lot uses a mullen mouth snaffle with NO tiedown. As her father says...if you can't control your horse through good training, you don't need to be on the horse. I have seen him pull her off and out of competition for getting to 'in their face'. This girl can run a pattern bridleless. To her, the bit is simply used to cue the horse, not to pull the head around or 'elevate' the shoulder. Good training teaches the horse to utilize their body properly. This means they don't run young horses, but give them time to learn, kinda like teaching children, can't do calculus before algebra unless you are exceptional. If we taught our children at the same pace we do our horses, we'd hand out doctorates at age 12...ain't gonna happen.

  44. broken halter - when it comes to your average 1200lb horse - 'hard' to stop is a relative term. the horse has a *choice* to stop, regardless of speed. no arm strength from a person on the horse's back is going to force the horse's legs to stop moving at any speed. it's the horse's response, even if his jaw is being torn off by the bit in his mouth.

    now, if you're following the logic of a 'louder' bit (ie, one that is harsher in order to get the horse's attention) then okay. but still - what that comes down to is training.

    there are shoulder lifting bits that don't require twisted wire. toklat's myler (and the handmade mylers) will lift a shoulder beautifully. all while still being comfortable and not soring the horse's mouth. it would be *extremely* difficult to actually cause severe injury to a horse's mouth with a french link or comfort snaffle, wheras twisted wire would cut if the rider were to be jostled just right and caught herself on the reins. there's really little reason to use something like this when more time and training would replace it.

  45. Yes, even a loose ring twisted wire that is a fairly large diameter can do a great deal of damage. I have seen more than one horse bleeding from their tounge, lips and bars of their mouth from a simple loose ring twisted wire. They are very often used with the idea that since they are not a curb bit and they have a broken mouthpiece, they are not severe.

    Any bit (just about any) can be harmful if improperly adjusted and used. Some are just a bit easier to cause harm with. I have ridden a superbly trained QH stallion who was not only a barrel horse, but a reiner and cutter as well. He went in a simple ring snaffle at all times. You never had to get in his face, all you had to do was THINK turn. He was a blast.

    Different horses need different equipment, all of mine use a different setup. The Silly Red Filly uses a big fat French link, the Large Black Filly now goes bitless (even the French Link was too much), the Old Red Mare goes in anything or nothing (she prefers a double Dressage bridle), and poor Dyna the Dee Dee Dee Horse likes a Wonder Bit because she can move the mouthpiece around (though she will go bitless too).

    My father is currently retraining a barrel horse for a client. The horse was broken to ride, started on barrels, and never taught anything else.

  46. "Dyna the Dee Dee Dee Horse" HAHAHAHAHAHA

    A fatter, slow twist bit that's not sharp can be OK in the right hands, but the "right hands" would probably rather do some training instead!

    No excuse for a thin twisted wire.

    I'd rather see a spade bit on a well-trained horse, who is HAPPY to carry it because his rider barely touches it.

    I guess that first bit didn't register to me as the worst in the world, because I pictured it as something that got MINIMAL messing with, but.... at most low level contesting events, you don't get those skilled riders. Just athletic kids who can stick on a horse.

    That second bit, though, is icky....

    I feel sorry for MOST contesting horses that I see around here. They don't often get to experience much from their riders but SPUR SPUR SPUR SPUR SPUR and YANK YANK YANK YANK YANK.

  47. I have to say if anyone has seen Beezie Madden and her mare, (Good lord I've forgotten the mares name) compete in timed jumping and turn on a dime, in a far tighter turn than I have seen a barrel racer do AND continue to be in control to jump withour these harsh bits. I have to say there is A LOT to be said for finishing the training on our horses. I see WAY too many people local to me take their horses and over bit to get control on what I consider half trained green horses. Why? Yes it takes longer and yes its exspensive but look how long it can take to get a horse to higher level dressage and eventing. You rarley see one less than 8 or 9.

  48. I have a horse that hates plain snaffles, he's better in a french link, but the top bit posted above, he worked great in it. Same thing with my friends VERY light mouthed off the track TB.

    It's not about the bit, it's about the HANDS! I've seen more cringe worthy bits in the mouths of performance horses than barrel horses. What about those lovely kimberwicks? or Piano wire twisted snaffles? or in jumpers, those horses usally have so much shit in their faces, martingales, tie downs, flash nosebands, fiqure 8 nosebands, dropped nosebands, ect. How many tounge floppers do you see in barrel racing? Not many. How many tounge floppers do you see in Jumpers-quite a bit more.

    That bit works well, as someone else said, to lift the shoulder before a turn. Barrel racing is more than screaming "yee-haw" and running hell bent for leather around 3 cans.

    You say you feel sorry for the gaming horses, I do to for some of them, but I feel MORE sorry for the tortured, constantly picked on 4 beating western pleasure, or HUS horse(WENGLISH).

    That bit also has extremely short shanks, and comes in several different mouth pieces. I agree, the small twisted wire one is horrible.

  49. x0xmoosiegirlx0x, some very good points.

    Yep, it's about the hands. Some horses just LIKE certain bits, but I doubt that that twisted wire thing would be one of them.

    Actually I pretty much feel bad for ALL horses forced to do things they find painful and/or scary.

  50. Whew! Mention this stuff and they come out in rabid droves to defend it. Why is that?

    We all can't just ride in snaffles, making split second cues on a powerhouse of a horse isn't always easy.

    Not always easy, but no matter how much of a powerhouse the horse is- if they aren't listening or responding... well, do I need to go any further with this?

    Plenty of disciplines where power is needed and used with little to no 'rein'. Split second cues not easy? Well then maybe the speed needs to be reduced to a level where everything remains safely under control.

    As someone else said, upwards in the comments- those who have no clue are the ones buying this crap. Amen to that!

  51. If many of you dont like the fact that "anybody" can buy bits like these, then why arent you complaining about spade bits? Any yay-hoo who has a horse can buy himself one of them big 'ol bits and use 'em. I mean, come on, that has to be the most rediculous argument I have EVER heard. And as someone who has ridden with some of the top reined cowhorse trainers in the country, most of them will tell that every bit has its place, an although they wouldnt use a barrel bit, they sure would't insult those that do. And I am pretty sure They rode horses that are faaaar superior to any of the pukes you people ride. have an awesome day

  52. silvrbunny- THANK YOU!!! ANYONE can go out and buy a spade bit, which is about a 10000x worse than EITHER of those bits.

    I'd like to point out that when a horse is running, sometimes it really does take something more than a snaffle, not to stop them, but to make the turns. People should realize that a snaffle is not the be all and end all of bits, sometimes snaffles are not effective in the way they work for a barrel horse.
    I won the state championship for WAHSET (Washington State High School Equestrian Teams) for Keyhole, and almost broke the state record. Sure, I can run down, do a roll back and run out with a snaffle, but Steel (horse) is gonna sure be throwing his face in the air. With all that adrenaline going sometimes a different bit is needed. And this is about the CALMEST horse you will ever meet. He can run a 7.2 second run on Keyhole, and walk calmly out the arena, you could then put a child on him and he would walk calmly back into that same arena.

  53. silvrbunny-

    Yes, make silly and insulting comments about the caliber of horses you assume we all own. Insults are always a part of a rational discussion among adults.


    If I could prove that a few of my horses were very expensive and have won at a high level would that automatically make my words more valid, even though my horses' values have jack to do with anything currently being discussed?

    Just think of how silly it comes across.

    "I don't like that and this is why."

    "That's because you're ignorant11!!!11 And you ride crappy horses!!1! And you have a hobby I don't really understand, but it involves toys so you MUST suck!1!! And I don't know anything about you but I will now make silly and totally baseless assumptions about how much better I am than you, because...because...I just AM! HOW DARE YOU HAVE A DIFFERENT OPINION THAN ME!!!11!!"

    In my head, I can picture many of the posters scowling and stomping their feet as they type.


  54. just a thought, I know what I posted earlier. but it would be nice if you found more harsh bits outside of barrel racing, it is kind've insulting. theres many harsher bits in other disaplines. I think many of these arguments come from the fact that you only post harsh barrel bits. Look at pleasure bits, those bits i hate. high ports and spades, i'd rather have twisted wire in my mouth.

  55. xsecretsx - this is one of the first barrel bits i've seen her post since i've been reading. usually she harps on the twh crowd's bits (and they're nasty ones too)...

    as for spade bits - at least they're not thin twisted wire. they have leverage, sure, but most of them have a high enough port that the horse has tongue relief and it's at least somewhat comfortable to carry. i can't imagine twisted wire ever being comfortable - even without rein pressure.

    twisted wire, bicycle chain, offset double broken mouthpieces - all cruel and unnecessary. nobody has talked against curbs - it's more the part that comes in direct contact with the sensitive tissues in the mouth that's the big issue. some horses prefer the indirect leverage that a curb provides - the direct reining on a snaffle annoys them. my first mare crabbed at a simple eggbutt snaffle but *loved* a tom thumb (go figure!) that's fine - diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks (or horses as the case may be) i think the single, biggest point here is don't put something cruel in between the shanks and then claim it's for something like shoulder lifting through turns when that can be accomplished through training (a wee bit of dressage and collection for our barrel horses, eh?)

  56. xsecertsx, she HAS posted on more bits outside of barrel racing. She did a whole post on TWH bits. Go check out her older posts.

    I'll bite on this one (no pun intended).

    Haven't read all the posts, but I just LOVE it when people who think they KNOW IT ALL about bits have to weigh in. I KNOW for a fact that bits like the one above are mechanical nightmares and end up hurting the horse more than helping the horse. In my opinion, even professionals shouldn't be using them. Any professional who resorts to devices to get results to me is not a professional at all--just a trick trainer that uses gadgets and gimmicks.

    Here's proof for everyone that sidepulls and bitless bridles WILL stop a horse. I have a 17-hand TWH gelding that is 10 years old. I counted and we have had about 10 different kinds of bits in his mouth. Shanked, ported, mullen mouth, trammel, twisted wire, Brenda Imus, Wonder bit, snaffle, the list goes on. Even with proper exercise and an eggbutt snaffle, I was STILL having problems with him leaning into the bit and taking off like a madman on the trails when another horse passed him. I decided to stop everything and put him in a Nurtural Bitless Bridle. Lo and behold, I can now stop him and turn him. It took him some time to get used to it, but he's getting softer each time I work with him in it. And guess what? He's also calmer and more sensible when I ride him and isn't getting his tongue up over the bit or chomping on it all the time. It's amazing what taking the bit out of his mouth has done.

    I recently read a blog about a woman who told a story about her young Morgan mare. She was always a flighty horse but just needed time under the saddle. One day on a group trail ride, the horse took off on her for no apparent reason and was full-out galloping through trees and over fences (the mare was not trained to jump). It did not matter that she had a bit in her mouth--she did not care. The owner tried the one rein stop until her arms ached, and she could not get this mare to stop. As the mare was galloping through a field, the owner bailed. The mare kept running and was found about two miles away at a neighbor's farm, soaked in sweat. They have no idea what set her off. (For the record, the owner did keep her and put her in the hands of a professional trainer who does gentle work with horses. The mare is doing a lot better now.)

    That story and my own experience communicates to me that it doesn't matter what the circumstances are or whether we have a bit in our horse's mouth or not. If a T-rex comes lumbering over a hill, you bet your ass you'll have no control over your horse. Horses are still living beings that are much stronger and faster with way more stamina than we can ever have. There is not such thing as controlling a horse.

    In my life's experience, working with horses is neither about "playing" with your horse nor relying on a bit to get a certain result, whether it's stopping or lifting a shoulder to turn. It's about finding what works for each individual horse. Honestly, if we all started our horses in O-ring snaffles, real hackamores (not mechanical) or bitless and learned to have soft hands and teach the horses to move with our bodies rather than our hands, then so many people wouldn't think to need to use torture devices like spade bits and the like. Note that the Spanish Riding School in Vienna does not let their beginning students touch a set of reins for two years. TWO YEARS. They have to ride on the lunge line using their seat and legs only, and it's only after they pass rigorous testing that they can use a bridle on the horse. Now THAT is real training and is what we should all be taking our example from.

  57. silvrbunny,

    "And I am pretty sure They rode horses that are faaaar superior to any of the pukes you people ride. have an awesome day"

    It's comments like these that make me pray for the human race. We will make our own doom, I swear it.

  58. TSC,

    "Control is in training. Not the other way around."

    That's my new phrase to add to my workbook from now on. THANK YOU for putting it so simply! That is perfect!

  59. I know she's posted other bits mainly TWH, but there's been a couple others with barrel bits. I've actually taken english lessons on my barrel horse, she knows how to collect. I haven't switched bits in years with her, and she's improved alot over the past couple of years. So I know thats from more training not going to a harsher bit. My above post states hom I feel about bits and hands. My only point was, find more bits in different disaplines and you won't get so rightously attack. (I apoligize in advance for bad spelling, I do not claim to be a good speller)

  60. Why? Why don't other disciplines rightously attack me? I have posted about racing bits, pleasure training bits, reining bits and TWH bits (multiple times). There just seems to be more hardware that is commonly used in speed events. Not my fault.

    I believe that it is very strange that none of the other disciplines have come after me quite so heatedly.

  61. I have a question. I am not a bit person, I run my barrel hores in easy hack. Question is, I was told that the more breaks in a bit, the easier it was on the horses mouth. One that only broke in the middle was worse than several breaks. More breaks meant that the bit didn't poke the horse in the roof of his mouth, it worked more on the bars of the mouth and therefore better. Is this not correct??

  62. hahaha hores!!! Omgosh, I cannot spell today, not enough coffee. That should read "horses"

  63. It is more or less correct tesasnascarcowgirl. It really depends on the diameter of the mouthpiece and whether it is a direct pressure bit (ring snaffle) or a leverage bit. There are some 3 piece mouthpieces that are very mild; there are some that are horrendously harsh. When you add leverage to a broken mouthpiece, you do not leave the animal any tongue relief; a ported single piece leverage bit allows the horse to have some relief for its tongue.

    Do an experiment, get a dowel rod and a piece of leather strap, tie the strap around one side, under your arm (resting the rod on top of your arm) and then loop it around the rod on the other side, now pull tightening the strap and causing the rod to press on your arm. Not too bad right? Now get a length of large link chain, repeat the process. See how it is more uncomfortable, because the chain conforms and cuts off more circulation? Same thing that happens in a horse's mouth with a one piece bit as opposed to a multi-piece. Now, imagine doing the same thing with the 3 piece twisted thin wire mouthpiece in the first bit or the teeny one in the second. See my point? This can also be done by holding the mouthpiece of the bit in your hand, running the curb chain under your wrist, and pulling on the reins. It is a good idea to get a feel for just what you are using on your horse.

    A leverage bit with a broken mouth (even a 3 piece one) is more severe than one with a solid low to medium port.

  64. ahhh, I see that. That was a great way to explain it. Thank you very much. I never really thought about it and this post has really brought it to light. I have seen some scary barrel bits and the excuses many riders us to explain why they have them. My horses run hard/sit hard/turn hard and we win, not all the time but we do win, all in a hackamore. One even runs in a side-pull. I think it does come down to training, if you have to use a scary bit then you need to back down and start over with basic training and get the horse to listen to you at all speeds. BUT, everyone does things different and to each her own. Every aspect of horse has people that does things one way or another and for the most part, they are not going to change how they do it.

  65. scaequestrian said...
    Why? Why don't other disciplines rightously attack me? I have posted about racing bits, pleasure training bits, reining bits and TWH bits (multiple times). There just seems to be more hardware that is commonly used in speed events. Not my fault.

    I believe that it is very strange that none of the other disciplines have come after me quite so heatedly.

    Post about saddlebreds. They go ape-shit-nutso too. Just check out Trojan Mouse's blog for examples...

    As far as the bits go, Nobody HAS TO buy anything. When a big name endorses something, whether they use it or not, people can't wait to spend money to buy it, in hopes it will work and they will be the next great __________ (fill in sport of choice) to come along.

    Why do we NOT see any BNT's endorsing a simple snaffle bit, french link or plain curb with a smooth mouthpiece? Instead their names are on twisted wire, gags, long shanks, cable cores, chains and all kinds of shit. And yes, it is SHIT! Go look through any tack catalog- the names are on the harsh equipment, not to many of the tried and true simpler way of life pieces.

    Are they hoping people will eventually seek them out to have their horse trained by Big Name? Nope. Many of them could give two shits if your horse ever sees a professional trainer- them or anyone else, in their lifetime. They may say they wish you luck in your sport of choice, but as long as the money rolls in from putting their name on something, what do they really care?

    And that people, goes for any breed, sport or discipline- cause we all know their are assholes competing in every single one, on just about every level. Right there along side of the people doing things right by their horses and actually caring.

  66. The bit above is not just for stopping! WTH. There is more to speed events and barrel racing then just running fast and stopping. You deal with lift and rate amoung other things. The point is to make the run as fast and as smooth as possible. Yanking or having heavy hands doesn't benefit anyone.

    At home I ride my mare in a snaffle.. down the road, trails and even slow work for barrels. she's also a rider adjustable horse and gives lessons to kids.It's a whole different thing at a high rate of speed. If I ran her threw poles in a snaffle it would be like running threw a corn field! instead of pissing her off and man handling her in a turn with the snaffle I ride with a shanked bit.

    Most of the time, I barely have to make much contact with the reins.. I drop my outside rein and she makes her turn. She's valuable and a part of my family, I would never run her in any discomfort.

  67. Wow, you guys get kinda harsh over here! That bit is not that bad. But what do I know. I run in a Hack....In my opinion, it all depends on how you handle your horse. You can break a horse's jaw in a hack.... Shoot, I have seen a simple o-ring with a nice smooth mouth blister the side of a horse's mouth (that guy was sooooo hard on a horse) But all in all, the Cervi bit line is not as harsh as some of the spoon bits and correction bits that others depend on....

  68. "cause we all know their are assholes competing in every single one, on just about every level."

    Watch it THERE, CNJ, or you're going to end up on my Murder of the English Language blog! :)

    I agree with you, texasnascarcowgirl. I definitely think there are people out there that think their way is the only way, and that no other way will do. I am proud of myself for making the change, though, from relying on bits and shoes to get my TWHs to gait properly for the show ring to going barefoot and bitless in the show ring. It's been a REALLY hard thing for me to do, to go away from the bit, but I'm so glad I did it. I think we should always try to encourage people to make the change if they're willing to listen. And of course, we'll always run into those who won't. We all know better and know we have a better relationship with our horses.

  69. katphoti glad you liked that. Kinda proud of that little quote.

    Someone above asked why there are so many speed event people that will jump off a cliff to argue about this stuff compared to other disaplines. For what its worth, I think it comes with the territory in that I mean; Speed event riders are competative, confident, and strong willed. That can make you a winner or a loser. They live for an adrenaline fix. They like flashy clothes, flashy tack,and they love their few seconds in the spot light. They are kinda like dance hall girls of the show world. Some people love and admire them for their courage, some hate them for their brassyness.

  70. Triple Star.

    I love and hated your statement above this. It's true and it's untrue.

    I feel a lot of us are given a stereotype. People assume all of us over bit our horses, spur the hell out them and then throw them in the stall while we go brag about our 15 second run. When in reality, it's the exact opposite for some of us.

    I've worked my ass off to get my gelding where he is now. He was a straight up idoit, but with a lot of slow work, he's made a 360 and is worth his weight in gold. I just find it insulting that so many people think we're all adrenline junkies who rush out to buy anything some top WPRA rider has put on the shelves. My first concern will always be my horse and his well being.

    I am sure a lot of people feel that way about their disciplines. It's just seems the "gamers" get the boot in the ass more frequently.

    But, I respect you Triple Star, I think what you said had a lot of class. Thank you.

  71. ScottiRobot- touché!

    Many people do care about their horses, but those are rarely the folks who make the spotlight for that reason.

    People talk and bad news spreads fast. Harsh bits, cruel use of such and the horse reacting to it will draw a crowd. Heads turn, the horse blows up and everyone stares.

    On the lower levels of competition it is passed off as ignorance. Upper levels, bad behavior from Big Names and it becomes "Just the way things are done."

    No matter the sport or level of competition, if the horse isn't trained right or treated fairly, they won't last long. When it all goes wrong, it gets pretty ugly and damn fast!

  72. You go, ScottiRobot. It's awesome that you are taking the sport seriously for yourself and your horse and are not just out to be the fastest and the blingy-ist. I think the issue is what CNJ and TSCG both say. To add to it, I think it also comes down to the fact that those who want the quick fix seem to talk the loudest. I always find that those who brag when they win, scream when they don't, and don't like it when their training practices are questioned are the ones that end up getting hurt the worst or getting out of the sport all together. Perhaps it comes down to the need to dominate or some sort of insecurity, but CNJ is right: they will only be hurt the worst when it all goes wrong.