Thanks everyone! Ok, I feel like a bit of a traitor...
As I pointed out before, since we are not clubby, or cultish (though others unfamiliar with us might want to claim it) if you read through the forum titled "What Tack" at:http://www.artofnaturaldressage.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=6&start=0
You'll get both a clearly understanding of varying viewpoints on bits (yes, we don't always agree in everything) and you may see there the logic I hope you'll find in this: It is not a matter of hands and bits. It IS nonetheless a matter of bits versus no bit at all. Even for some, no bridle at all, only a cordeo about the neck, or for some, not even that.
I've ridden and trained with all of the above with the exception of the cordeo.
If you think hard about what the difference to the horse might be from having steel in the mouth, to having nothing in the mouth, and the demands for lightness over force in handling this places upon the rider, trainer, owner, companion or however you see your relationship tot he horse, then statements such as the one quote lose their pseudo-logic and are revealed for what they really are: beliefs the fail the test of facts and actual experience.
Did the person saying it ever train and ride bitless, or bridleless as so many here have done? Some here have done the first ride of the horse, green horse, without a bridle and even without a saddle, just them, their pants and the horse's back to connect.
So now what is the logic of the statement you quote below, "A bit is only as bad as your hands...." mean to you?
And what do you aspire to?
See, around here in this entire province there are only four or five stables based in the differing peninsula's. So anyhow, I was talking to the clicker trainer at my stable about the use of bits and other things and she said something I'd heard a lot, "A bit is only as bad as your hands...." Now for the current time I've been training in classical dressage with bits and things and I had a lesson today but I was planning on just lunging a bit and maybe working on my seat without reins
but after I heard this clicker trainer (and she is a very humane trainer, she does TTouch, some kind of energy work, clicker training and is pretty much up to try anything and is a great mentor for me!) I decided to use a bit. I'm just wondering people's thoughts on bits. Obviously this is a bitless forum so I won't be posting about it often but I mean, is it really that horrible?
The answer to that question lies with you, not us so much - and you must be honest with yourself and live with the results you find. I can give you an opinion, but in it's own way it's as much a "belief," because I am not a horse, as the clicker trainer you quote. It is this. Steel used with any tension on the reins at all over thin flesh over bone is not for me.
I will occasionally do evaluations of horses whose owners use bits with their tack, but I beg them and most give in, to let me use my hackamore. It's traditional enough and they think it can be forceful enough so they most often give in, then are surprised and mystified when the see me in usually under an hour having the respond to cues where I do not ever take the tension out of the reins. I have proven to my satisfaction over 50 years ago, and as recent as last fall, that horses can be ridden well and safely without bits. And for that matter, more so.
I went out to catch Rain (my current teacher, a 13.2 hh Quarab pony), brought him in, did some TTouch, rubbed him all over with some massage, tacked up. Lunged a bit, tied my reins in a knot and had a half-an-hour lesson focusing on my classical seat. After I took Rain for a walk through the woods and ran through puddles and let him eat, massaged his mouth, turned him out and played with him for a little bit. He didn't even seem to remember my lesson and was more than sad when I left- watching and whinnying as I left. What do you guys think? I'm very much a non-competitive rider but I am always interested in training classically and doing some local shows to see what I can work on. I said I don't use bits and I meant it but I'm having different thoughts... Hmmmm.... Anyhow, who has an opinion???
You must have very educated hands, and obviously a wonderful horse to ride as well.
The last post I placed here in your intro thread had a picture of my mare Altea. When we acquired her at age 13 she was almost completely green. Backed, but never taught anything. I rode her from the beginning in the halter you see on her, a well worn nylon one, soft, with little side rings (you can see them if you look closely - at least on the side to the camera) for my rein.
I ride her now with my La Jaquima (Hackamore). Her daugher, a yearling, will, as long as we own her, never feel steel in her mouth and I'm hoping, should I live long enough (I won't back her until she is age 4 or no less than 3.5 if she proves sturdy enough I can find a very light rider who will train with me before workon with Bonnie) to train her bridleless entirely.
Even with it three years away I am working on a set of training (a poor word for what I have in mind) to introduce her to a rider and asking her to stop and go and turn etc.) tactics that will be more in the nature of asking rather than demanding.
Thank you for asking for opinions. As you see I have them, but you need also to know that I don't reject those that use bits.
Donald, Altea, and Bonnie