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Is a Bit required for lower levels?

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  • Is a Bit required for lower levels?

    Enough already.

    I like bits, I use bits, I just also enjoy going bitless and was confused about the USEF rules... I am not confused any longer and I could care less what any of you think about bitless bridles or their application in Dressage riding. I know what I like and what I can do with my horses and their various bitted and bitless brildes.
    Last edited by luvs2ride79; Jun. 26, 2006, 02:13 AM.
    "To be an equestrian in the classical sense is not just to be a rider.
    It is a position in life." --Charles de Kunffy

  • #2
    I know that a rule change is proposed to allow bitless bridles up to third level (or is it second?). So I would guess that bits are currently required.

    Comment


    • #3
      Yes, if you are showing at recongized shows a bit is required.

      Among other things:

      DR 121
      2. For Training, First and Second Level tests and FEI Pony tests, a plain snaffle bridle is
      required...
      6. ...A rein is a continuous, uninterrupted strap or line from the bridle bit to the hand. Rein additions or attachments are not permitted. Each bit must be attached to a separate rein and reins may only be attached to bits...
      If you are showing unrecognized, it would be up to the management.
      Proud member of the EDRF

      Comment


      • #4
        Yes, a bit IS required at all levels.


        The phrase "a plain snaffle bridle is required" means a bridle with a snaffle bit. Not confusing at all.

        Every year there is a rule change proposal to permit the "bitless bridle", and every year it is defeated.
        Janet

        chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

        Comment


        • #5
          As well it should be. You can't have appropriate contact with the bit, without a bit.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            You can't have appropriate contact with the bit, without a bit.
            You need appropriate contact & communication with the horse. The bit is just a tool, one of many. Why would it be required? If I can get my horses to move appropriately without one, why should I be forced to use one? It's sad to see that horses cannot teach everyone to think outside the box .

            The phrase "a plain snaffle bridle is required" means a bridle with a snaffle bit. Not confusing at all.
            And no, snaffle bridle does not mean bit. You can attach a leather english hackmore to your snaffle bridle to turn it into a bitless alternative quite easily , thus retaining your "snaffle bridle" on your horse. That is why I asked.

            It would be a great alternative for those of us with horses who don't have the talent to go past 2nd or 3rd level and enjoy riding without a bit. I can understand requiring a bit for championships and qualifying classes, but those of us that are amatures just showing for fun should have fewer restrictions (as we already do in certain areas in the rule book).

            I will continue to use a bit for showing, but I will be sure to encourage the board to change the rules to allow a bittless bridle.

            ~Barbara
            "To be an equestrian in the classical sense is not just to be a rider.
            It is a position in life." --Charles de Kunffy

            Comment


            • #7
              A horse is also judged on accceptance of the bit throughout the test, if there is no bit, how can that be judged?
              ~Amy~ TrakehNERD clique
              *Bugs 5/86-3/10 OTTB Mare* RIP lovely Lady, I miss you
              *Frodo '03 Anglo Trakehner Gelding*
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              • #8
                Being "on the bit" is a state of the horse's mind and body, not it's mouth.

                Waterskiing in a double is okay, but riding without a chunk of metal in the horse's mouth is not? That's why I've moved beyond dressage, as well.
                "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

                Spay and neuter. Please.

                Comment


                • #9
                  And no, snaffle bridle does not mean bit.
                  The USEF, USDF, and every judge and TD I have spoken to interprets it as "a bridle with a snaffle bit".

                  And the part Kementari quoted
                  6. ...A rein is a continuous, uninterrupted strap or line from the bridle bit to the hand. Rein additions or attachments are not permitted. Each bit must be attached to a separate rein and reins may only be attached to bits...
                  reinforces that.

                  Go ahead and argue all you want about whether or not a bit SHOULD be required (I see some merit in both PoV). In fact, go and post comments supporting the proposed rule change on the USEF web site.

                  But please don't try to argue that the CURRENT rules permit you to show without a bit, becuase they do not.
                  Janet

                  chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I had a trainer who hated the bitless. Said he would do much better in a bit. Wanted to put a bit on Boomie, so I let her for one lesson. (Our last one!) He did exactly the same stuff with the bit as he does in his bitless, as in avoidance, rushing, etc. With the bit he was also drooling all over and holding his head sideways trying to spit it out, which trainer would correct him. He was more focused on what was in his mouth than what he was supposed to be doing. That's not right.

                    I pointed out to the trainer that he's doing the same thing with the bit that he does with the bitless. She said, that's right, so what does that tell you? You're supposed to ride with your seat! So I said, what's the difference what he has in his mouth? She said, the bit has a little more finesse. Which may be true, but I sure didn't see it that day.

                    You can have a connection and get round in the bitless. The horse is showing acceptance of the aids, whatever the aids are. The horse has to be trained to do it, that's all. I also think the bit rule is silly. As long as he's showing acceptance, that's what important, correct?

                    Sarina

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Sorry let me be very blunt. Thinking that bit is useless, unncessary or harmful or more impressive in any sense, that is plain ignorant... ignorant as a horseman, ignorant as a dressage rider. I do not think it is wise to allow for bitless bridle in shows because, use of a bit is something that once you learn, it is a gift and it is forever useful. This is not to argue, could we achieve the same effects without a bit, or could we ride a horse well without a bit.

                      However! Having said that, please I do understand if your horse has a medical reason to not wear a bit or have a serious bad history that makes him dangerous to ride with a bit. These riders/horses should not be deprived of opportunities to show and judged fairly. I know of serious natural mouth deformity that actually makes putting anything in the mouth painful, even eating is a problem. Also dental care, some people really don't have the resources for that, and using a bit on horses with dental problem only makes them hate any type of contact... so it would be wise to go bitless until dental care arrive.

                      Firstly, If you are not educated on how to use the bit, or how to train horses to use a bit... please go find yourself a teacher, a good one. A horse only enjoys the communication when it is meaningfu.

                      Secondly, my main point of riding with a bitless bridle. Why on earth you think bitless bridle works? It works on pressure points on the horses' head!! You think it's any kinder, more superior? It works on the same *principle*... applying some sort of pressure and often on delicate nerve points (and I'm not saying painful pressure necssarily, but same goes with the bit) to signal the horse (usually blocking aids).

                      Some bitless have multiple points of contact which makes it a crude aid. Some bitless applies direct pressure on the poll so the horse is not yielding at the poll voluntarily with muscluar control. You tell me which one is worse.

                      More, a snaffle bridle is a snaffle because your hand hold a pound of weight, you have a pound of weight on your horse's mouth. All fair game. There is no leverage... that's why it is tricky to learn in the beginning because you need to apply a consistent weight in a consistent position in order for your horse to accept it. Many bitless bridle has leverage, and worse sort of wishy-washy kind of leaverage because it acts on more than one contacts on the horse's head.

                      More, there is no such thing as a 'hold' position with many types of bitless... a passive resistence, neithing pulling or giving. Many bitless bridle it's 'on' or 'off'... again very crude communication tool. Now some bitless allows some hold I understand, but many don't.

                      More, bit allows for chewing motion... it allows the horse to communicate back to the rider his state of relaxation. There is a high degree of back and forth communication, give/hold... information and exchanges. How does the horse do it with a bitless? wiggle his nose, swing his head? Sure you'll say you could tell by the swing of the gait... well so do I, but I have more!

                      A well made smooth bit, fitted to the horse's mouth... is not any worse than a 150+ pound person sitting on his back. A good contact, is not any worse than the leg or seat aids you're going to apply.

                      Having said ALL that, there are many people (even fancy trainers) who use the bit incorrectly AND not aware of it. They deserve even more education than those who don't know how to use the bit and just stop using it... cuz they create horses that hates the bit and move incorrectly... that's way way worse... but bitless ain't going to solve their problems either, my friend.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        But Janet is also right, the rules are the rules, and are unlikely to change on this point any time soon.

                        Once you decide to explore the relationship with your horse outside of the confines of a particular discipline, you might run into conflicts like this. But it's not realistic to expect the discipline, particularly one that's honorably older than any of us, like dressage, to change to accommodate the artifacts of the relationship you end up developing. In the end, none of it should matter, and if you aren't there yet, well ... you aren't there yet (which is okay--remember, it's the journey that counts).

                        Now, if Anky were knocking the top off of the GP in a bitless bridle, there might be a prayer of making change, but ... you can see where that train of thought goes .
                        "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

                        Spay and neuter. Please.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by luvs2ride79
                          And no, snaffle bridle does not mean bit. You can attach a leather english hackmore to your snaffle bridle to turn it into a bitless alternative quite easily , thus retaining your "snaffle bridle" on your horse. That is why I asked.
                          Uh, NO. Without the bit it is no longer a snaffle bridle, it is a "headstall" to which you can attach, as you note, a hackamore noseband, a western bosal (if it's thin enough), etc. It is only a "snaffle" bridle when it has a snaffle attached.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Do the rules require the bit to be in the mouth?
                            Just askin'
                            http://wildwoodfarmnc.com

                            http://cantersgutenberg.wordpress.co...g-quiet-goose/

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              we went bitless once when Bionic got bit on the face.

                              i was shocked and appalled. WAY too much pressure, and WAAAY HAY HAY too much leverage.

                              the 'better in the bitless' is because it has so much more pressure. absolutely effortless for the rider, tweak tweak and horses head stays dead still, right? the horse doesn't make a sound connection with that sort of pressure; it can't. all it can do is go behind that pressure.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Schumacher even uses a technique occasionally where he attaches and extra rein to the regular dressage noseband for horses that are pulling against the bit connection. As SLC said, it gives the rider much more leverage than a bit. That is why we put things over horses noses when we have trouble leading from the ground.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Bugs-n-Frodo
                                  A horse is also judged on accceptance of the bit throughout the test, if there is no bit, how can that be judged?
                                  There is still "contact" on the bridle, which the horse must accept. And acceptance of the position. The horse can still be "in frame" without a bit. Mine accomplish this quite nicely . If my mare is being a mare and doesn't want to work that day, she displays stiffness and unacceptance in the bitless bridle just like she would with a bit... Gotta love mares! lol

                                  ~Barbara
                                  "To be an equestrian in the classical sense is not just to be a rider.
                                  It is a position in life." --Charles de Kunffy

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl
                                    Do the rules require the bit to be in the mouth?
                                    Just askin'
                                    HAHA! I can just see it... Have the bit hanging under the chin like a decoration, LOL. My girl wouldn't enjoy that one "bit," .

                                    -----------

                                    Anyhow, I'm not saying bits are bad, and my horses and I are well trained to use a variety of them. But my horses go very well in a bitless and enjoy them, and I was just curious as to the interpretations of the current rule book. Unlike the breed specific handbooks, there is no clear and unquestionable statement that says, "a bit is required" (for the lower levels).

                                    Thank you all for your clarifications. As I said in my second post, I will continue to use a bit for showing, but I will be sure to voice my opinion about bitless alternatives to the board members.

                                    ~Barbara
                                    "To be an equestrian in the classical sense is not just to be a rider.
                                    It is a position in life." --Charles de Kunffy

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by slc2
                                      we went bitless once when Bionic got bit on the face.

                                      i was shocked and appalled. WAY too much pressure, and WAAAY HAY HAY too much leverage.

                                      the 'better in the bitless' is because it has so much more pressure. absolutely effortless for the rider, tweak tweak and horses head stays dead still, right? the horse doesn't make a sound connection with that sort of pressure; it can't. all it can do is go behind that pressure.
                                      Perhaps you were using a mechanical hackmore (western style)? I use the same style as Dr Cook's bitless bridles, http://www.bitlessbridle.com This style has only slightly more control than using a leather halter and clip riens (which I enjoy using as well).

                                      ~Barbara
                                      "To be an equestrian in the classical sense is not just to be a rider.
                                      It is a position in life." --Charles de Kunffy

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by mickeydoodle
                                        Schumacher even uses a technique occasionally where he attaches and extra rein to the regular dressage noseband for horses that are pulling against the bit connection. As SLC said, it gives the rider much more leverage than a bit. That is why we put things over horses noses when we have trouble leading from the ground.
                                        A horse's nose is far less sensitive than a horse's mouth... Using an extra rein on the noseband adds "different" pressure. If connected to the girth, it adds downward pressure to force the head below a certain level. Using a truely bitless bridle (like Dr. Cooks posted above) has less refinement than a bit, and far less control of the head, so it requires the horse to be even more well trained and the rider to be more adept in order to achieve the same results as a bit. Trust me, I have ridden horses that do NOT respect the bitless! They will run away with you far easier than if you had a bit in their mouth, LOL. It takes a lot of muscle and a good one rein halt, lol.

                                        ~Barbara
                                        "To be an equestrian in the classical sense is not just to be a rider.
                                        It is a position in life." --Charles de Kunffy

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