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Western Bits, Curbs & Snaffles

Western Horse Bits
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General Information

Western bits, Show Bits, Futurity Bits, Robart Pinchless bits. This is a brief history of the horse, the animal that more than any other, has decided the fate of nations. Yet as recently as 6,000 years ago, the horse could have gone extinct. If it wasn't for an extraordinary discovery made way beyond the fringes of civilization, out on the remote Eurasian Steppes. The discovery was instead of eating horses, you could ride horses. Anthropologist Dr David Anthony is the Director of the Institute for Ancient Equestrian Studies at Hartwick College. His team pinned down the date of our leap onto horseback by proving that marks found on ancient horse teeth from Kazakhstan could have been caused by wear from a rope bit in the horses mouth. The beginnings of riding had an enormous impact. Eating horses and herding them as food animals probably had relatively little impact, being treated much like cattle, but the beginning of riding which is what we are documenting. Horse bits had enormous impact. I think that basic change in transportation technology is the most fundamental change you can introduce to any human society. The example is that of the private automobile. Without the private automobile we would not have suburbs, we would not have shopping malls, our whole pattern of family structure, where we go for our jobs, is tied to the automobile. I think when riding horses began, it changed everything in the way that people live. The basic function and design of bits have not change in nearly 7000 years. Mouth pieces, shanks and the purchase are the same. Only the type of material used and the adornments have changed.

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