"Now I say that with cruelty and oppression it is everybody's business to interfere when they see it."

~Anna Sewell

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Stop abusing your horse and use a bitless bridle!

Re: A bit is not horse abuse

That video is extremely biased and one-sided. Not to mention utterly uneducated. This is just one of the many anti-bit videos that I've come across. Reasonably knowledgeable horse people see right through it, but beginners probably soak in every word. I can see how it would make a newbie think that anyone who uses bits is a horrible animal abuser.

Here are my two cents. With the exception of things like gags, bike chains, twisted wire leverage bits, etc., the bit itself has nothing to do with abuse. There are some monstrosities out there that are designed to cause pain and those ones should all be melted down and prohibited. However, generally speaking, bits don't hurt horses. People hurt horses. Allow me to illustrate.

On the left, we have a horse in a double bridle. He's slightly ahead of the vertical, as he should be, and he appears relaxed and comfortable. Eyes bright and calm, ears pricked and alert. I don't see anything in his body language that would suggest that he's in pain. I also like the slack on the curb rein. This is the way the equipment should be used.

Now on the right, we have a Rollkur picture, otherwise known as "how NOT to use a bit and bridle".

Are we seeing the difference? Both have essentially the same equipment, but the look on this horse's face is heartbreaking. His mouth is open, despite the crank noseband, his tongue is lolling, his eyes are rolled back. Look at the taught reins and the angle of the leverage bit. This horse's head is in a vice grip, and it must be miserable.

The one factor that determines whether or not a bit is cruel is the rider. Instead of blaming a piece of metal, we need to look to the real source of cruelty: the hands on the other end of the reins. Even something as simple as a halter can turn into a torture device in the hands of a thoughtless rider. The same could be said for any piece of equipment, including hackamores and bitless bridles. It's not what you put in the horses mouth, it's the skill and knowledge of the person using the equipment.

Choose your weapon Pt. 1

I like this guy. He explains bits very well and I think he does a good job of getting his point across.

1 comment:

  1. I noticed you posted a pic (the proper fitting example) that we took to showcase one our bridles that we sell on http://www.EQTACK.com. This horse actually belongs to one of our employees. I am pleased to read your compliments on the proper fitting. We are surprised at how often riders poorly fit their horses and we do everything we can to educate them in this area. Thanks so much for pointing this out to your readers!