Bits. A very controversial topic.
Many people will agree that bits are fine and aren’t abuse. They are used so often and almost every equestrian has ridden a horse with a bit at least once. I have myself.
Arguments for bits are that a horse’s mouth is not that sensitive, you have to get the correct bit, soft hands, hackamores can do more damage to the horse, my horse doesn’t care, if my horse didn’t like it they would let me know, my horse doesn’t like bitless, I can’t work my horse in bitless, etc., etc. I agree that mechanical hackamores can be very painful and harsh, but that doesn’t mean that bits are a better option.
All bits are used to go into the horses mouth. A horses mouth is one of the most sensitive places on the body. Putting a hard object into their will cause discomfort/pain. It’s inevitable with so many nerves, nerve endings, and tastebuds. It’s not comfortable for the horse to have this foreign object be placed into their mouth without any escape. Many many horses will refuse the bit when they first try it. People just keep pushing and pushing till the animal gives up fighting. This does not mean they now enjoy or are happy with it. We see this done to many animals as well. This constant pushing of an animal to do something they don’t like, to the point where they just give up.
Bits are a violation. They completely violate a horse. It’s putting them in a very vulnerable situation to make them listen. When we put that bit in, the horses know we can cause an extreme amount of pain to them in just a split second. It’s domination. You sit a top their back with reins in hand, having the ability to cause tremendous amount of pain to a horse with very little effort. Yet people are so used to using bits that they don’t think anything of it. That’s a major issue.
Bits give no respect. One of the most important things in a relationship with a horse is respect. When using a bit, respect is disregarded. The horses thoughts and wants are neglected. In a respectful relationship, no one should be violated or shunned. Yet that is what so many equestrians do with their horses wants. If the horse is our partner why would we treat them as slaves?