Let me start by saying that I am NOT anti -bit. A bit used correctly is a powerful tool for communication and well trained horses actually find comfort in a bit because they understand what they’re being asked to do and they’re rewarded for doing it. Unfortunately, I bought a horse with a major bit issue.
When I got her it would take a full 15 minutes just to bridle her. She flung her head around and tried to take off. With patience, I overcame that, but she seemed so much happier bitless that most of the time I rode her in a rope halter and clip on reins or a Dr. Cook’s bitless bridle. I’ve ridden her bitless all over the place on trails. I didn’t have any trouble controlling her. Until I did.
I had a ride a couple weeks ago where she was really hard to deal with. She was more “up” than usual and the spring grass was coming in and she would not stop trying to graze. At one point she almost ran me into the road trying to get to a patch of grass. She ran right through the bitless bridle. I had no brakes.
That’s when I decided I needed to ride with a bit some more. I need brakes. She needs training too, and obviously the real issue is lack of respect, but that takes time and in the meantime, I need brakes!
I rode with a bit tonight and she was actually way more cool about it than she used to be. She still has a laundry list of other issues but she didn’t throw a fit about the bit. She’s a really difficult horse so I have to be thankful for the little bits of progress, no pun intended. Wink, wink.