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by Downunder Horsemanship

Training Tip: What Bit Should You Use?

Bring up the topic of bits around horse people and you’re sure to enter into a conversation that’ll turn into a heated debate ranging from one end of the spectrum (you need a different bit for every horse in your barn and every situation you ride them in) to the other (only a cruel barbarian would dare put a bit in his horse’s mouth). While there are plenty of horsemen who are fanatical about bits, I’m not one of them. Here’s why: If a horse is well trained, he doesn’t need a particular bit in order for him to ride well. A bit can’t make up for a lack of training and too many people use bits as crutches.

When it comes to selecting which bit to use on your horse, keep in mind that there is no magic bit. There’s no such bit that will instantly make your horse soft and supple, will make him stop gaping his mouth or playing with the bit, will make him stop better or turn faster. What will make your horse do all of those things is following a consistent training program, practicing lateral flexion and developing good feel and timing. The better your feel and timing, the more willing and soft your horse will be.