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Double Bridle Beginner

This is a discussion on Double Bridle Beginner within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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        01-14-2013, 11:31 PM
    Originally Posted by minstrel    
    There's a difference between a horse who takes the bit and runs through it and one who *can* take the bit when you misjudge your stride or something happens like a trip or something before a fence where the horse needs to sort itself out. In those situations, you want a horse to be able to help you out, but of course you don't want something that is barrelling through the hand all the time when jumping. I jump my horse in a Cheltenham gag when out (as that's when he gets excited and strong), just so I have that bit extra ability to hold him when he gets strong, but its not so strong that he can't take hold of it if he absolutely needed too. From what I've seen the double bridle is too much for a horse to take hold of in that situation, which is fine if you want to be the absolute boss and have control the entire time when jumping, but especially cross country I like the partnership and the trust of knowing you will help each other out when you need to. Especially in cross country, too much control can be a bad thing...
    Fair enough - my gelding grabs when I'm not 'with him' enough, and it's a fight to get him back under control, but the trouble is, I lose contact and feel with him when I'm nervous. That makes me even MORE nervous, and the cycle repeats.

    It stems, I think, from an incompetent rider in his past. He has somehow connected 'no contact' with getting yanked in the mouth over fences.
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        01-15-2013, 05:40 AM
    Wow, Anebel, I had no idea there was so much to know about the double. Your post was really helpful! Thank you!
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        01-22-2013, 02:37 PM
    There is a big difference between practicing the holding the reins for a double bridle and learning how to use it (bits have different actions).To learn how to hold divided reins you can simply put two reins on a snaffle.

    Then there is the intention of specific reinholds (of which there are 8). The main ones are:
    The normal rein hold for 2:2 (two reins in each hand) is snaffle under pinkie, and curb between pinkie and ring finger. But for a horse just starting out in a curb the better use is 3:1 (both curbs and one snaffle in one hand (held slightly closer to withers) and one snaffle in the other), this allows the horse to 'settle in' to the connection. There is also 2:2 fillis/schultheis method which is snaffle over the pointer finger, and curb under pinkie; this method allows clear division of the aids.
    And there is 4:1 for riding in one hand (hand over withers). For specifics look in books like Podhajsky.

    Also one must really understand the 5 rein effects clearly (in a snaffle).

    The use of the snaffle is for clearer hh/keeping horse up and open/allowing for chewing forward/down/out into a stretch. The use of curb is for lowering or slightly closing. Very distinct impacts upon the horse. It is said that the snaffle acts on the muscles and the curb onto the skeleton...not sure that I agree.

    The most important thing is know what our own actions create in the horse's reactions.

    For sure the use of a double is not to bit the horse stronger, and certainly never to hold a curb steadily torqued (to 45 degrees and beyond as we frequently see in pix of 'winners'). A big part is to properly fit a curb chain properly (not dangling loose, but to provent a torqueing of the curb).

    Imho the best curb is a sliding cheek curb which allows it to move as the horse chews/tastes the bit.
        01-22-2013, 03:15 PM
    Equitate, you are aware that a correctly fitted curb and curb chain will facilitate that the bit rests in the horse's mouth at a 45 degree angle, correct? Also please reserve your harping on international riders (that ride better than you or I) for whatever other forums you post on. Here we have this thing called "conscious etiquette" :) THANKS.
        01-22-2013, 04:28 PM
    A correctly fitted curb and curb chain will facilitate that the bit rests AT MOST at a 45 degree angle, and never to horizontal (which would indicate a strong hand or a misfit bit).

    And top riders should be held to the highest standard, that includes lightness in hand and refinement in use of a full bridle. I have been training fei for almost 50 years, and believe continous torque (which is shown in too many pix) goes against the directives of the fei, and should not used nor taught.

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