I talk about bitting a lot, I think. But my somewhat-frequent bitting changes are rather validated, I think. I work to find the bit that works best for each horse in a given situation, thereby keeping both the horse and rider happy. And then when I find what works, I leave it.
I took Star on a trail ride last night (well, evening). It was a rather impulsive thing - I was about to go to the arena when my already-mounted barnmate asked if I wanted to go on a short trail ride with her. I thought for a moment and decided Star might like that. I then thought for a moment more about changing her bridle from her snaffle (the same snaffle I've flatted her in since August, I might add!) into her ready-to-go bridle with the Kimberwicke. And then I thought, "Nah, it will be fine." So I mounted up and off we went.
The first half of the trail ride was rather uneventful; my barnmate was in front and Star was in back (Star is *not* brave). And then we turned around. And Star was in front. And we were going home. And Star had been that way before. And I had *no* brakes and a suddenly brave horse.
Our fast(!) walk turned into a jog, which turned into a trot, which turned into a faster trot, which turned into a canter, which turned into me thinking, "Just don't hit any branches!" That damn mare merrily cantered along the trail... and I was just along for the ride. Until we got to the creek, that is. I don't know that I've ever seen something induce such fast breaking in that mare. If she were a car, her tires would have screeched as she slid to a halt. And I, thankfully, halted with her, rather than continuing over her head.
I made my barnmate get back in front of us, and the rest of our ride home was uneventful. And you know what? I couldn't even be mad at the damn horse - lol! Horses are just that - horses. At the end of the day, no one was hurt, and nothing happened. And I was the idiot who didn't heed my own warning and change the bridle.
The lesson here? Listen to your gut.