The Mechanics of the Curb Bit - Lever Bit

(The mechanical advantage - amplification of the hand aid)

First of all one should pay attention to the words spoken, because in most cases the truth is self-evident in the words alone, just look and listen, and then understand what is being done.

The curb bit with curb chain.

The curb bit parts/sections.
Noun purchase: The mechanical advantage gained by being in a position to use a lever.

The mechanical "advantage" of the curb/lever bit
against the horse's jaw.

 Literally the braking point, for if the cheek would be wood it would break over the horse's jaw (as well as the tongue) at the point where the bars make contact with it, (the top point of the triangle). Obviously the different cheek length ratios will effect the level of the mechanical advantage. In short one does not need to pull hard on the reins to exert greater force against the breaking point, the horse's jaw and tongue. It literally works the same way as a can opener.

The levers in action. The blue line shows the "crushing zone"
The rein pressure is multiplied several times into the horses jaw from the outside by the chain, as well as from the inside of the mouth by the bars. The horse's jaw is literally stuck between a rock and a hard place, with no escape from it, except to "blow up" and fight, or to give in and put its head as very "obedient" slave that bows before his master. It could not get more degrading if one would try.
It's annoying as hell to hear some fool, especially women, speaking about some obedience in relevance to horses, and then in the same breath comparing riding to dancing.

The can openers in real life in the dressage below.

Once the shanks of the bit are pulled back to this (above) degree the lever mechanics of the bit become fairly ineffective, and this is why horses are prone to respond to the bit by putting their heads closer to the chest. This is not something that one wants to teach the horse, to evade the bit, as there could be serious consequences.

Click here to see it in motion.

The horse's jaw is being literally crushed between the bars of the bit and the curb chain, all for what? Entertainment? One can understand the curb bit (not the rollkur, obviously) for the purpose of battle, but as a sport or entertainment, it is plain absurd.
Needless to say that the poor horse will try to open its mouth to reduce the angle of the force, and so we tie the lower jaw with a noseband to the upper jaw so the animal can't do that, how ingenious? Of course we will come up with some justification for it, especially if left to women.


    The word curb, among other things, in relevance to the naming of the bit as curb bit, is referring to:

   Noun curb:
   1. the act of restraining power or action or limiting excess.
   Verb curb:
    1. lessen the intensity of; temper; hold in restraint; hold or keep within limits.
    2. To put down by force or authority

    The dressage folks claim to ride horses that move freely and willingly. Can someone somehow explain how the word curb fits into that scenario? How the words like restraining power, or action, limiting access or put down by force fit into the riding of willing and freely moving horses? Now to point out even more of the absurdity of dressage one should ask how these words fit into the concept of dancing, since they refer to dressage as dancing, or even as ballet (See Wiki's absurd definition of dressage).
    To ride the freely moving and willing horse with a curb bit is a genuine oxymoron; hence the modern dressage principles were created, and are followed, by morons, literally.

    On one hand you have morons claiming they don't need any bit to ride dressage (imagine that, right? ), and then you have these morons that have to have two bits to do the same nonsense they call dressage. Oh, I forgot we live in a society where everyone is entitled to his opinion, right?

     About 15 years ago I said that the Internet will destroy the world and of course everyone was laughing, but not everyone these days, as folks starting realize that the Internet is not an information highway but a bullshit highway. Just like a computer gets infected by a virus, so do people's brains get infected by the virus called stupidity, which is infecting the fools' brains by millions every day. People simply getting each other stupid by expressing and sharing their opinions on the Internet.

    There are these so-called reputable sites presenting so-called information like the Wikipedia, which is generally full of bullshit and misinformation, because it collects the information from the very stupid and misinformed people. I pity people that do so-called internet research and then collect "information" from this shit highway. How can you find the truth or facts if you do not know what they are in the first place? Oh yes, I know the answer to that, you'll find ten different opinions and then you pic one according to your liking or reasoning. I am sure that will solve this dilemma, but only to an idiot!
   This is why I say, "Don't believe anything you read here, but go, look and see for yourself", or are you just so blind that you have to have someone explain to you what you are looking at?

    The purpose, or better said practical usage, of the curb bit is explained in more details in the related article, which simply points out that this bit has no place in the so-called modern sport dressage, for obvious reasons. And so as my article on dressage points out, dressage people simply contradict their own principles and rules, and then they reward themselves for it.

    In some other countries, or languages if you will, they do not have the term curb bit, but rather use the more appropriate term the "lever bit". At least if using the proper, or better said more suitable, terminology/words we may then understand better what we are doing, and why we are doing it. And so, the more suitable word for the curb bit should be the lever bit, for obvious reasons.

   The word lever:
    Noun lever:
    1. a simple machine that gives a mechanical advantage when given a fulcrum.

    Verb lever:
     1. to move or force, especially in an effort to get something open (like using a can opener).
(Of course if we use this "lever bit - can opener" the horse will open its mouth, obviously, and so we need to use something to close it, like the nosebands, hence more restrains to the freedom of movement by the horse.)

     Why should we have the need for some mechanical advantage over the animal, especially in dressage, if the horse is willing, not to mention refined? May be because if we feel that we are using a "gentle touch" we think that we are applying gentle aids, though to the horse it feels like you crushing its jaw, which is in essence what the lever bit does, literally.
    Just in case you have skipped your fourth grade (here in the states high school), I will explain the simple mechanics of a lever, or better said show the diagrams of it (see left side of page), so any simpleton that think that a lever bit is a gentle aid, just because it may feels and looks effortless to use, or it feels like a gentle aid in the riders hand, it is always fairly brutal on the horse, and it has no place in the modern riding, especially in what should be a dressage, presenting a willing and free moving horse that is responsive to the riders aids, hence one should have no need for the curb.

     Unfortunately if this would be implemented in dressage there would not be any dressage, as most participants are simple incompetent and could not ride the horse without it when presenting their circus tricks in the thing they call dressage. Now you may understand why you will encounter a stiff opposition, especially if you talking about dismantling a lucrative part of the equine industry/economy.
    And so we have to build our economy, mainly on the stupidity of others, and so this crap is here to stay and hardly anyone can do anything about it, but what you can do is "not to take part in it in any way and totally ignore it" and hopefully in two decades or so, this bullshit riding will subside.
    There is no way to recover the former dressage riding anyway, since there are no decent riders in existence, not to mention that there is no practical use for it as in some warfare. The newer and more modern dressage riding was so short lived, and hardly anything ever written about it, that it is simply non-existent, and as previously mentioned, there are no decent riders to perform it to show it so others could learn.

   There is nothing gentle about the curb bit, whether in the hands of a decent rider or not, as the name of the bit alone bears testimony to the fact. May be someone could visit the fool that is saying the curb bit is a gentle aid, or that he uses gentle aids when using this bit, and apply gently a cattle prong to his ass every time he does not want to do something, and then say something like the dressage people would "I am just gently reminding you to move your ass". The absurdity of putting words together like gentle + curb or light + lever in relevance to horses is absurd and the ridiculousness of it is obviously  self-evident in the words alone.

     The mechanics of the lever bit have one and only purpose, which is to amplify the effects of the bit in the hands of the rider, in short to amplify the hand aid, hence amplified aid, or severe aid, which pretty much outlived its use in this world, especially when riding for entertainment or sport as some call it. It is practical only for the restraining of the animal under extreme situations like the battle, and so it looks so useless and preposterous when used on horses under fairly serene circumstances as the dressage ring is. There are two years old thoroughbreds running in the front of thousands of screaming people only with a simple snaffle/D bit in their mouth, why can the dressage people do the same in front of less people on older and "well" trained horses?

     And so the dressage simply makes no sense, and for this reasons all dressage participants in this day and age are simply genuine imbeciles (not meant as an insult but as a self-evident fact), since the whole concept of the modern dressage is self-conflicting and self-contradicting, hence dressage is, by its own contradicting riding principles, an oxymoron.
    It is an insult to human kind to have this "dressage" as part of the Olympic Games, as it not only degrades the human athletes (since they are rewarded the same way as the animals) but mostly the horse itself in the eyes of any self-respecting human being. The human athletes make choices to strain their bodies to extremes, often suffering injuries in the process, but the horses have no such choice.
    Furthermore, the human athlete earns the medal, while the rider uses the horse to earn the medal for him. How can any Olympic rider not feel shame when on the podium receiving a medal? When I was training the TBs and the horse won the race, I did not want to be in the winner circle taking a silly picture, because I just felt humiliated and embarrassed standing next to a horse that was trying to catch its breath from running its heart out and just wanted to get out of there.

A "genteel" touch or just plain pulling on the curb literally crunching the horse's jaw, as miss Iron Hands Anky does. She has to lean back not to pull her self off the horse. It could not get more obvious than this, but they justify it. The horse is trying to avoid the pain by putting its head on the chest, till there is no more place to go but to endure this horror, literally. You cannot really blame her for it, as she is obviously clueless, but one should hold the dressage associations, and mainly the judges responsible.

Remember there is no such thing as "gentle hand" when using the curb bit. It may feel gentle to you but not to the horse!

The battle conditions can justify the use of the curb bit, obviously,
but today's dressage simply cannot.


Written by Ludvik K Stanek a.k.a Lee Stanek