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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Torture Device Thursday

OMGWTF!!?? You have got to be kidding. Not available in the US? I should hope not. This is a Charro Scissors Training bit that a reader sent me the eBay auction for. Here is the ad text.

"This is a one of a kind charro tijera (scissors) training bit that you can not get in the US.
The bit is absolutly great for those of you who want to train their horse for driving jumping reining ecc....ecc..
No limits to this one.
For long time even here in Mexico forgotten but we found one family who still makes them. This is as well a piece of art
You invest now a little bit more money in this training bit but you will have 75 % less training costs thats for sure.
You will be suprised how your horse gets trained with this bit in no time.
Forget about your snaffle bits, colt bits , ring and shank snaffel bits.
This Mexican bit beats them all and you will never find anything better."

We can see that English is not our first language. I like how they say that you can forget about regular training bits. So, you just tack up your greenie for the first ride and shove this thing in their mouth and 75% of your training is done? Wow, really? And you get the broken jaw for free!

Can you imagine the amount of leverage this thing applies?


  1. I just took over a horse that had 6 months of professional training by a Mexican trainer. The horse does not "trust" humans. Gee--I wonder why?

    Training is just that, training the horse, not using torture devices. There are NO shortcuts in training a horse! Patience, consistency, time and knowing what you are doing is all it takes and you can train or "retrain" ANY horse without using gadgets!

  2. And uh.... who in their right mind would jump in this?

  3. I think this bit looks worse than it is. I still wouldn't use it or see any reason why it would be a good training tool, but I don't actually see the extreme leverage, but I fully admit I failed Physics. What I see is a strange shanked bit that puts pressure on the chin only. Because the shanks pivot where they do, they don't move the mouthpiece or apply poll pressure. The chain could be applied too tightly, of course, but so could any.The two sets of chains on the shanks look like they just keep the shanks from spreading too much.

    Am I wrong?

  4. How the hell do you put it on!?!?!?!?

  5. I'm reserving judgment, but...I'm a big favor of using a very, very light bit. I don't like curbs except for precision work.

  6. I'm with OneDandyHorse, how in the world does it go on!?

    Not that I'd ever use it, but holy cow!

  7. As Silly Pony said, it looks bad and then when you consider the mechanics of it, it gets a little worse. When they talk about putting it in a green horses mouth and skipping all training, it gets worse still. If it is sold to anyone and everyone cash in hand- hold onto your seats and let the games begin, because someone is about to get killed.


  8. Born of a macho culture that seeks to DOMINATE.

    Looks like a Buckinbo Special.

  9. Im wondering what that little metal hook on the left of the bit is for... it looks like a gum/lip poker/stabber. Not my cup of tea.

  10. I can't see where they recommend this for jumping. Think what pain would be inflicted with a bad take off/release to a fence. Maybe it has some place with a gaited horse like a Paso Fino that is finished in it's training but I am not familiar enough with that breed's tradition to elaborate.

  11. CNJ- with all due respect, what I said was that to me it looks worse than it probably is, not the other way around. I may be seeing it wrong, and I'm NOT defending what is obviously a poor choice in a training bit, but I think all it does is squeeze the jaw and nothing more. Not that a squeezed jaw is a good thing, but it seems to leave the mouthpiece and poll alone which, if use properly gives less pressure than even the simple broken mouth shank I use daily.

    The hooks seem to just prevent the shanks from going too far forward.

    Not that I want to see this contraption in use, but I would like to see it ON a horse to better understand how it actually goes. The pictures are all weird and none of them are positioned as if it's in use.

  12. Wow... This is DEFINATELY a harsh bit! In fact, harsh is much too light a term...

    Sillypony, the leverage comes from the length of the shanks. With that length, plus the twisted chain as a curbstrap, this bit would certainly give the trainer the appearance that a horse was being respectful when in actuality, the poor thing was probably just trying to escape the pain. And what is the hook? From the angles taken, I can't see it NOT hitting the horse... In fact, it almost looks as if it would inflict more pain. Either way, what happened to the good old snaffle? Aren't whole bits supposed to create jaw and teeth problems when used on young horses?

  13. I don't get it. I just can't quite figure out the action without seeing it on a horse. Although it does look too nasty for use, so maybe I don't want to see it on a horse. I mean, where do the reins go? And the port on the moutpiece looks very awkward.

  14. Silly Pony- no argument here, but where it looks worse than it probably is, I have to disagree.

    It actually doesn't look that bad. Until... you start thinking about the mechanics and HOW it works. Then it is bad. Really, really bad.

    The hooks on the side appear to keep the lower part of the shanks from going forward and releasing the pressure the curb chain would provide. As far as pulling the shanks back and craning the chain tight enough to do some serious damage? No limitations or restrictions there...

    Why would you want that? /end sarcasm/

    CP- there is a lot going on in BB's case that would explain things a tad more. Not excusing anything, but may provide more insight to what's going on there.

  15. Sorry, craning should be cranKing. If only blogger would allow you to go back and edit your posts... *sigh*

  16. Oh, as for BB... there are probably multiple FAILs in regards to her upbringing. This would account for a lot of her shenanigans, falling in with the "wrong" horse crowd, etc.

    If the "right" crowd is nowhere to be found, then the "wrong" crowd is all you've got.

    But she would DEFINITELY be involved with the branch of equestrian culture that thinks this kind of bit is the right way to go. Just like if you grew up in a Big Lick barn, you'd think that all that BS was "how it's done."

  17. Really, there are plenty of people around here who just stick any old tack on a colt, climb on & GO. And call it "training."

  18. There may well be fails. BUT one can get over fails.

    I was trained to beat horses, that a good frame involved setting the head with draw reins. I was actively told that it was good horse training to make the horse afraid of you, to intimidate it.

    I was taught that having a hot horse made you look like a better rider (I swear, that's Anky's philosophy). I was NOT taught to wear a helmet.

    I was overhorsed, overjumped and overfaced.

    Now, let's see. I have actively refused to get on somebody else's horse without a change to a milder bit. I carry a crop only if I know the horse I'm riding needs a refresher on going forward and then use it as little as possible, a quiet tap behind the leg to convince the horse to respond to the leg next time. I have sworn never to use draw reins, a market harborough or any similar device ever again.

    I believe in curbs only for precision work with highly trained horses. Spurs, same thing.

    And I never, ever, EVER get on without a helmet.

    Upbringing is no excuse. 'The way things have always been done' is no excuse. Being involved in that as a minor with your parents and trainer dictating everything is excusable. As an adult, YOU are responsible for your own practices, not the idiots who trained you.

  19. Jennifer, that's awesome.

    May I ask, what preciptated your change of heart? If it was a person, how did they talk so that you LISTENED?

    I'm always interested in finding ways to communicate to people that they should be doing things differently... without coming off as a total jerk.

  20. That sucks!!! They should make the inventor wear it!

  21. Hmm, I have to agree with SillyPony on this one. It looks worse than it is because of all the chains (the only thing I'm not quite sure about is why there are chains attached where reins should go?)

    While obviously this is not a bit you'd want to use on a green horse or a jumper, in most ways it's less severe than curbs with similar length shanks (like you might see on a finished western horse or saddle seat horse - not a dressage curb, they have much shorter shanks). Both of those disciplines go in very light contact.

    Anyway, the reason it might actually be less severe than those bits, is that (as sillypony said) the shanks only affect the leverage on the jaw - on a typical curb, the mouthpiece, shanks, and the upper part of the bit that attaches to the cheek pieces are all one piece. So when you pull on the rein, the shank not only causes the curb chain to tighten around the jaw, it also causes the mouthpiece to move in the horse's mouth and affect the bars as well as causing poll pressure from where the bit connects to the cheek pieces. The whole bit moves as one, and affects a lot more areas of the head than this bit.

    This bit only affects the curb chain. So I'd imagine it is actually less severe.

    Also, the curb chain is not meant to be twisted. You put it on so it lays smooth and flat against the jaw (just like on a saddle seat or dressage curb). The little chain you see coming from the middle of the shank is called a lip chain, and it just goes through the a loop on the middle of the curb chain to keep a horse from getting his lip around the shank. In saddle seat, most people use lip straps made of leather for this purpose, but the chain is legal as well (since it has no impact on the bit's action at all).

    My main concern with this bit is that it could cause lip pinching on a horse with fleshy lips due to the mouthpiece and cheek pieces being on a separate rotation from the shanks.

    As far as those little hooks by the mouthpiece that are attached to the top of the bit, they look to keep the shanks from coming too far forward, which doesn't make much difference on this bit due to the freedom of the shanks. On a standard bit, the tighter the curb chain the farther forward the shanks will stay - this increases the leverage.

    Anyway, again, the only concern from this little hook would be potential lip poking/pinching.

    I'm also still a little confused as to why there are chains attached where the reins would normally go. Perhaps you attach the reins to a loop at the end of the chain? That would probably cause some obnoxious jangling, but I doubt it adds much to the bit's severity.

    Anyway, as someone who's seen a lot of crazy western and saddle seat bits, I just wanted to jump in and say that compared to many, this bit ain't that bad. Would I be putting it on any of my horses? Probably not, but only because I don't prefer the action of this curb to the "standard" curb bit and it's obviously styled as a western bit - certainly not for saddle seat, and definitely not for dressage.