Classic Horsemanship  

Go Back   Classic Horsemanship > The Classroom > Straight up in the Bridle

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 11-29-2012, 07:18 PM   #1
Administrator
Administrator
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 30
Default Roundtable on the Spade

Thanks for Jeff Sanders taking the time to put this together. We can learn a lot from this picture.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Spade.jpg (66.6 KB, 55 views)
Administrator is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-29-2012, 08:47 PM   #2
Administrator
Administrator
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 30
Default

Notice how it lays in the horses mouth, the way that he packs it. Also many people have a misconception that the spade goes to far up in the horses mouth and can cause it discomfort. This picture shows how the spade doesn't even go past the first pre molars in the horses mouth. I really wish we could get an x-ray of every type of bit in a horses mouth. I think a view like this helps us understand the way in which we communicate with the horse, by showing us the action each movement of the rein will be. Also why it is essential to take the time necessary to allow the horse to learn to pack the bit and allow it to hang. The two rein stage of training gives the horse time to learn to properly carry the bit and pack it in it's mouth, while working. The two-rein is essential to help the horse find that balance both in it's mouth but also in it's body, all while packing you as a rider around on it's back.
Administrator is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2012, 06:26 PM   #3
Maverick_73
Foal
 
Maverick_73's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 13
Default

I love seeing horses that have been trained to carry this type of bit properly and that they have a rider that has proper management of it. It shows true understanding of the mechanics of a horse and the horses mind--that they were shown how to pack a bit and can communicate with it.

Bits are usually very controversial for me. I traditionally ride in a simple snaffle, but that's only because i've ridden horses more on the greener side, or older ones that don't need to be ridden in any other bit. I've seen so much misuse of bits and go through tack isles practically gawking at some of the things people ride their horses in--it's terrifying!

I would like to propose a sub-topic discussion on people's opinions on Tom Thumb bits.

I personally think they are one of the cruelest bits out there simply because they're shanked as well as broken in the center, and create some of the stiffest plow-reiners out there if misused--then that escalates to the crueler bits such as double twisted wire snaffles, twisted wire gag bits, etc. However, I've heard them used in very specific ways to help a horse transition to other bits, but only with horsemen that really know what they're doing.
__________________
"You are not working on the horse, you are working on yourself..." ~ Ray Hunt
Maverick_73 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2012, 12:24 PM   #4
Baquero
Foal
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 116
Default

Maverick_73 welcome to the forum! I had a few thoughts that I think everyone will benefit from after reading your post. There are a lot of misconceptions out there surrounding bits. The old time Vaquero's understood how sacred a horse's mouth was. Our mouth's are constructed differently then a horses mouth, however we can sympathize with the sensitivity of the mouth. Anyone who has eaten a bowl of Captain Crunch or eaten a piece of stale bread knows what it feels like to the roof of your mouth. Try chomping down on your spoon the next time you eat a bowl of soup, to see how sensitive the teeth are. I try to stay away from comparing horses to humans, but I bring up these examples as a way for us to understand, just how delicate the nerves in our mouth are. Bridle horsemen understand this and apply it to there horsemanship. Everything is done to preserve the mouth. This is one of the main reasons why a horse is started in a hackamore. And then during the two-rein the bridle reins are not touched until the horse has learned to pack the bit. The old timers worked hard to preserve the mouth of the horse, and admired the velvet mouthed horses. They took the lightness in the mouth and applied it to there horsemanship.

People often look at the spade bit and consider it extremely cruel if put in the wrong hands. To someone who doesn't understand the spade bit it could be misplaced on a horse and be damaging, just as any other bit. This is due in part to the way people have been trained these days to use bits and bit theory that has come from many arena events. However the spade bit was constructed with sensitivity in mind, and is one of the more "mild" bits.

Bit makers have created "correction" mouth pieces, yet have never developed something to "correct" the riders hands. We need to remember that it isn't the bit in the horses mouth that creates the pain or dulls a horse. It is the hands of the rider. No piece of metal in a horses mouth, that is properly adjusted, causes damage until it is moved by the person on it's back. This is often where the discussion of leverage comes into play. I think leverage is one of the least understood principles in horsemanship today. I also think it is not where the focus of the discussion should be. It is common knowledge that when a shank is added to a bit it increases the leverage. This is why many people choose to ride in a snaffle bit. Another reason is because it is fairly easy to understand and simple to use. All bits are made so that they have leverage. The discussion that a 1-1 leverage is less severe than a 3-1 leverage is in some ways misleading. Because the leverage comes from the riders hands. Also the way that the leverage is applied is never discussed. The surface area of the mouthpiece has a lot to do with what the horse feels. Snaffles run anywhere from a 7/16", 3/8", down to a 1/8" wire. 20 lb's of pressure is 20 lb's of pressure whether you get to 20 lbs using leverage with a shank or you use 20 lbs of pressure from your hands. However that pressure can be dispersed among surface area. Why people think that a 3/8" piece of metal pressed down against a horses tongue isn't severe is beyond me. Compare that to the mouthpiece in a spade bit. The lbs of pressure is distributed across a piece of metal that ranges anywhere from a 50 cent piece to the size of your hand. What people fail to realize is that the snaffle is also a nutcracker. Depending on how the joint is placed in the mouth it does have leverage. And it will be directed at the weakest point in the jawbone. It also pushes the metal into the nasal airway in the top of the horses mouth, it is no wonder they respond by fighting against the bit or throwing there nose in the air. I'm not opposed to the snaffle, I have used quite a few myself. But the snaffle won't get you to the bridle. It won't necessarily get in the way either. No piece of gear will make up for poor riding or training with out a plan.

Back to the discussion on leverage, one of the problems with using leverage in horses is that you miss valuable "pre-signals." Leverage in bridle horses is used to modify and not transmit force and power. Force and power has no place in this type of horsemanship or in any horsemanship for that matter. When pain is inflicted the horse loses it's focus on the signal being transmitted and focuses on relieving itself from pain or protecting itself. Often when someone see's a spade bit they refer to it as a "signal bit" not a "leverage bit" as if leverage is an awful thing. Leverage used incorrectly is a terrible thing, as I said earlier all bits are constructed with leverage. This is also true with the spade bit, however the spade bit is signal oriented unlike many other bits which are leverage oriented.

It is the rotation of the mouthpiece and the point at which the reins are attached that determine the leverage. This is where modern bit makers have gone wrong. They design bits to apply leverage as soon as the reins are lifted. This moves the cheek pieces, which engages the curb strap and either inflicts pain or releases the pain. A horses head should follow the angle of the mouth piece, the curb strap should be used to position the mouthpiece, not as a means for leverage. If adjusted properly on a spade bit, the curb strap actually is there to protect portion of the horses mouth from coming in contact with parts of the bit. It is the braces in a spade that give the horse the opportunity to pick up and hold the bit, this helps protect the horse. Yes, this bit is designed with the horse in mind. It was constructed to allow the horse to protect itself. With the braces in place, it stops the bit from rolling in the horses mouth, thus controlling the leverage. Let me say that a different way, the braces keep the bit from rotating or slows the rotation to a small amount. When the bit doesn't rotate, the curb strap never engages and leverage is minimized or ideally not used entirely.

This is the beauty of the spade bit. Most people think spade bits are severe or harsh bits. It is quite the opposite, and people should think about how to apply this, when using a snaffle bit. You can make a snaffle bit more signal oriented by using heavier reins and slobber straps. Another focus of bit makers today are the application of "tongue relief" or ports. The port size matters very little because the horse is taught to respond from the pressure being transmitted to the curb strap. These horses are not taught to carry the bit at all, because they respond to the pain that is inflicted on the bars of the mouth as the curb strap is engaged. A true spade bit has a straight bar for the base of the mouthpiece. There is no "tongue relief" because if you relieve the tongue, the pressure that would be placed on the tongue must travel somewhere else. The pressure is subsequently placed upon the bars of the horses mouth. This takes away the ability for the horse to brace against the bit, or protect itself, it also lessens the ability horses have to feel the signals in the tongue. The vaquero/buckaroo methods are centered around keeping a horse from bracing against the bit. However instead of forcing this upon the horse, they do it through there training. The long training is there to work the resistance out of the horse and keep him light, so there isn't a need to apply force directly to the bars of the horses mouth.

A bit is a communication device, not a discipline tool. A bit is your telephone to the horse, what you say and how you say it is all up to you. You can get in a shouting match, or you can talk sensibly. You can talk demeaning and degrading or you can talk uplifting and encouraging. You can blame or you can understand. The type of bit you use does not determine your ability to communicate with your horse anymore then a Smart phone allows a person to speak better than an old rotary phone. I have seen people do incredible things in a snaffle, but in order for a horse to progress, a different communication device is needed. These new devices are used to build on the conversation that has already started, you are only refining the conversation. A spade bit is used to have an incredibly intellectual conversation with a horse, very few horses have been to enough schooling or studied enough to understand the conversation. In the same regard very few riders have been to the proper university to understand how to even begin the discussion. I see too many people getting caught up on the fact that a snaffle is direct pressure and curb bits are leverage. Both are a form of pressure to the horse, both can ruin a horses mouth if used improperly. I would reccomend researching different types of bits and seeing what you are communicating and how you are communicating it, once you learn how to have this make sense to the horse then you can begin having the conversation. It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools. Understanding how things work, helps us in how we use and incorporate them. Instead of screaming through leverage learn to whisper through signals...

Last edited by Baquero; 12-03-2012 at 12:27 PM.
Baquero is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2012, 03:53 PM   #5
Maverick_73
Foal
 
Maverick_73's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 13
Default

That was a lot of information for me to take in! I ride in the snaffle and heavy slobberstraps/mecate so as to be more signal based. This enforced some of my own inklings about certain bits and allowed me to look at others in a different light. Thank you!
__________________
"You are not working on the horse, you are working on yourself..." ~ Ray Hunt
Maverick_73 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-04-2012, 06:10 PM   #6
Jimmy
Foal
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 157
Default

I agree that the discussion of leverage vs. non-leverage is a distraction from the more important issue of communication, and the use of the hands. That is perhaps the more important end of the reins.
It should be noted that a slightly over sized snaffle, in width, can create a pre-signal by the sliding action through the mouth, from one hand to the other. Also, the snaffle should work on the corners of the mouth, and not the jaw or the tongue, by a slight lifting of the reins. You would really have to have the hands of a butcher to pull hard enough with both reins to fold a snaffle in half against his jaw, and fold it up into his palate. The misuses of the snaffle is no reason to dismiss its value, any more than the misuse of a spade or half breed bit would dis-credit its proper place in the higher education of the horse and rider.
The french master Boucher believed that the relaxation of the lower jaw was the key to unlocking the entire horse.
Jimmy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2012, 11:00 AM   #7
Baquero
Foal
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 116
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmy View Post
I agree that the discussion of leverage vs. non-leverage is a distraction from the more important issue of communication, and the use of the hands. That is perhaps the more important end of the reins.
It should be noted that a slightly over sized snaffle, in width, can create a pre-signal by the sliding action through the mouth, from one hand to the other. Also, the snaffle should work on the corners of the mouth, and not the jaw or the tongue, by a slight lifting of the reins. You would really have to have the hands of a butcher to pull hard enough with both reins to fold a snaffle in half against his jaw, and fold it up into his palate. The misuses of the snaffle is no reason to dismiss its value, any more than the misuse of a spade or half breed bit would dis-credit its proper place in the higher education of the horse and rider.
The french master Boucher believed that the relaxation of the lower jaw was the key to unlocking the entire horse.

Excellent points Jimmy, the snaffle bit has it's place. And as I said in my post I am not against the snaffle bit, I have many in my tack shed that are used regularly. From my observation, people generally don't misuse the snaffle until there emotions take control of there horsemanship. If a horse is not doing what they ask of it, out comes the butcher and they force the horse into position by pulling on his face.

Interesting spin on this, I went to the dentist yesterday for a routine cleaning. And was reprimanded for not flossing enough. The dental assistant said, "I can tell that you don't floss enough, because of how much you are bleeding when I floss" She said that I should floss everyday for two weeks to develop the calluses on my gums, after the two weeks the gums would harden and I wouldn't bleed as much when I flossed. I think there are a few horses that develop these calluses, which deaden the nerves and don't allow the horse to feel the signals. This style of horsemanship is designed to preserve the nerves in the mouth, to keep them light.

I say all that, but don't want to deter people from using the snaffle bit. Only that it should be used properly, and we should strive to increase lightness in everything we do. It all comes back to your hands.
Baquero is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2012, 02:32 AM   #8
Rex Easley
Weanling
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Eastern Oregon
Posts: 57
Default

Here is a spade bit pony doin work
Rex Easley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2013, 08:55 AM   #9
Ernie Marsh
Foal
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Thayne, Wy
Posts: 1
Default

I am very happy to see this discussion on here and read your opinions,
all of which I agree with. I have been having this discussion for many years.
Trying to explain that the mouthpieces of the loose jawed signal bridle bits of the traditional California style are designed to be carried comfortably, providing
a stable and balanced platform to dissipate weight and pressure that the horse can easily manipulate between the tongue and bars of itís mouth. All of them
feature rollers which when worked will aid in keeping the lower jaw relaxed
and encourage salivation keeping the mouth moist, supple and comfortable and responsive.
None of which can replace the time and effort taken to get to the level of training needed before introducing the bit. In my many years as a bit maker I have never been tempted to build for the larger market or try to invent newfangled gadgets to try to eliminate that fact. The foundation in a horseís training is the most important element to his being successful in the bridle. That being said Iíve known a lot of successful horseman that have had
alternate ways of getting good results. But itís a pleasure to be a part of it when itís right, thanks to all
Ernie Marsh is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:24 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.