Bucking and Bitless - The Horse Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 10 Old 10-10-2008, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ontario
Posts: 6,166
• Horses: 5
Bucking and Bitless

My friend has a haflinger that has bucked her off three times since she got him in the spring from an auction. Therefore, we don't have any history on him. However, she has figured out that he can not or will not tolerate a bit, so bought a nurtural bitless bridle for him which he responded to much better than a bit.

We have determined that his bucking is behavioral (this over several months) and now I'm contemplating giving him a try myself to see if I can help her find any solutions to this.

My question is whether I need to consider anything different about controlling his head with the nurtual bridle. I have never used one. I understand the principle and leverage. I agree with it, esp for this horse. It makes sense, but knowing and feeling are two different things. So, my very first inclination is to keep this horse on a short rein and keep his head up. Should I change the way I hold my hands or anything with the nurtural bridle vs. a standard bitted bridle?

Any input would be appreciated because I'm sure she would appreciate another person to work with him, I haven't outright offered yet. Maybe this weekend... hhmm Thanksgiving .. giving thanks for not being in the hospital???
NorthernMama is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 10 Old 10-11-2008, 07:17 AM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Greenville area / SC
Posts: 13,165
• Horses: 3
Concerning the bitless bridle, it is used the same way a snaffle bridle is used. You want to hold a little contact with his face. I wouldn't want to keep his head up, some contact is good but not so that you are holding him back. You want him to move without pressure. Keep your hands down by the swell of your saddle in a natural position.

Just to state the obvious, but have you had his teeth checked? I just picked up two Paints from a Dr in NC and when I checked their mouths I discovered that both still had their wolf teeth. These guys were 8 and 9 so you would have expected that they were out by now.

Next thing I would check is saddle fit. Haflingers are stocky little horses and perhaps your saddle is not fitting properly.

Next thing, not knowing his history, is he even broke?

I'm not arguing with you, I'm just explaining why I'm right.

Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

It's not always what you say but what they hear.

Last edited by iridehorses; 10-11-2008 at 07:23 AM.
iridehorses is offline  
post #3 of 10 Old 10-11-2008, 11:15 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: NH
Posts: 43
• Horses: 0
this horse may not tolerate contact or pressure at all, since he seems to go better without a bit. My mare was much the same. Can you try riding with minimal contact, or maybe in a noseband instead of the bitless bridle? You will need to use your legs and seat more, if so, and use a squeeze & release on the reins, not steady pressure. I ride in a bosal now, and when I tighten up the reins for too long (in her opinion) she gets bunched up, tense, bucks, tosses her head. I also had to figure this out by trial and error, since I got her from a dealer. Also a horse that's sore in the legs or back may buck when going up or down hill because that's uncomfortable. Try to pay attention to what, or where, or when he bucks and try to rule out some things.

Definitely get the teeth checked, and the saddle fit. My mare gets crabby when the saddle is pinching. A lot of my mare's attitude problems come from the saddle not fitting quite right.
Fox Hollow Deb is offline  
post #4 of 10 Old 10-11-2008, 11:53 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ontario
Posts: 6,166
• Horses: 5
Like I said, we have determined this is behaviorial. It's been months of doing the teeth, saddles, pain, riding in different locations, etc. etc. etc. It's either fear, fun or disrespect -- anyway something in his head we have to get him over. He only does it when he is outside of his paddock / ring. Personally, I think it's fear and lack of security. He was definitely asked to do too much when he first arrived at his new home, and then again about a month ago. Both times, IMO, his reaction was from fear and frustration / confusion. The last time, I think it's a carryover from his previous bad experiences. That said, I think my friend is going to really tone down how much she asks of him, esp. since I keep reminding her we don't know what he knows or has experienced in the past.

But, I digress -- what I'm really interested in here is the proper use of the bridle.

Thank you IRide - that's basically what I had in mind -- keeping contact. By keeping his head up, I meant actually, not allowing him to get it down in preparation for a good buck, but not trying to do a high head set. I just want control. I always ride in a snaffle or french link now, so I think I'll be OK with this then.

Fox Hollow -- I like your suggestions about trying a noseband, but not sure what you mean. We have a hackamore available, but I think it might be too severe for him. Do you mean a bosal? Or do you mean adding a flash / noseband to a bitted bridle? We won't go back to a bit, at least this year anyway. Oh, and I plan on trying him bareback (maybe with a surcingle to hold on to!) so this would totally eliminate any possible saddle issues. My friend won't ride bareback.
NorthernMama is offline  
post #5 of 10 Old 10-12-2008, 10:32 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: MD
Posts: 23,907
• Horses: 2
You can just use the jumping hackamore (like this one TORY LEATHER Jumping Hackamore Bridle Parts Tack English HorseLoverZ.com) with the reins attached. I believe that what Fax meant by noseband (?). Like leather halter with reins attached. I used one (it had the piece attached going around the ears, of course, to keep in on ) to start my horses and it's a cheaper alternative to bitless bridle. BTW, I tried bb and my horse didn't like it much.
kitten_Val is offline  
post #6 of 10 Old 10-12-2008, 12:35 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: NH
Posts: 43
• Horses: 0
yes a "jumping hackamore" is like what I wrote, it has almost no leverage and very little 'squeeze' on the nose. I used to ride my TB in a padded noseband with rings on the side for reins, kind of like a soft sidepull. My current mare was also 'over-bitted' in any kind of bit, and the 'english' hackamore (padded nose and short shanks) has too much for her too. I found a rawhide type bosal works just fine. You can direct rein or neckrein in the bosal.

you could be right, it may be fear, lack of confidence, lack of understanding what the rider wants, or previous handling that makes him buck.

I'd try very short, easy rides, with a companion, and maybe keep the same routine (same trail/s) for awhile.
Fox Hollow Deb is offline  
post #7 of 10 Old 10-12-2008, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ontario
Posts: 6,166
• Horses: 5
I just got back from a ride with my friend (on my horses) and we were talking about her guy. She agrees that she has asked too much of him and is going to work more slowly with him and only where he feels secure. Given the time of year (fall here), I think she will actually stick to this and by spring he will be far more secure in his home anyway. Doesn't look like she's looking for a volunteer rider after she thought about it some more. Thanks for the information though guys! Mucho appreciated.
NorthernMama is offline  
post #8 of 10 Old 10-13-2008, 07:37 AM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Posts: 64
• Horses: 1
I can't recommend the One Rein Stop enough for bad behaviour in horses- particularly bucking. However, if the horse hasn't done the ORS before it is something you need to practice before using it in a situation.
Simply draw one arm back (ie your elbow is going back past your hip) and the horse's head should come to your knee (obviously not all the way). He will likely spin for a few steps- as SOON as he stops (and I mean immediately), drop the rein and reward with a pat. Do this a few times on both sides (this also has the bonus of increasing lateral flexion in the neck) until the horse understands that ORS means 'stop.' You are aiming to disengage the hindquarters, which of course makes it a little hard to buck ;)
Here is a great video from 'Horse Problems Australia' on the One Rein Stop-
YouTube - The Power of the 'One Rein Stop'
Chiefie is offline  
post #9 of 10 Old 10-13-2008, 01:04 PM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 356
• Horses: 0
Originally Posted by northernmama View Post
But, I digress -- what I'm really interested in here is the proper use of the bridle.

Thank you IRide - that's basically what I had in mind -- keeping contact.

Hmmm... not that contact is bad or wrong. Just that I am not sure it is actually necessary. I ride both a snaffle and a bitless bridle (Dr Cook) depending on various factors. I use the bitless the same way I use the snaffle. The few horses I have tried both on actually seem to prefer the bitless (they work off much softer hand cues when in the bitless). Of course, YMMV.

I generally use a loose rein when working with the bitless bridle, and often use it as if neck reining. Sometimes contact is useful/necessary, but not very often. Then again, I don't ride "english" I ride "western."

In your particular case, I would try a loose rein (from the ground) to see how the horse reacts. Use as little contact and rein as necessary at first. He may not like the bitless bridle or the type of contact/pressure it offers.
Tazmanian Devil is offline  
post #10 of 10 Old 10-14-2008, 09:38 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ontario
Posts: 6,166
• Horses: 5
I actually spent a bit of time with him this weekend. I didn't ride him, but if I would, I would keep just a tad of contact with him to remind him I'm there. He seemed to respond well to NO and shaking the lead rope when misbehaving, but if I was actually on him, I'd want no margin for excuses. I think he's a mildly power happy child right now who's trying on a new size of breeches!

Thanks for all the input!
NorthernMama is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Bitless... Opinions? FutureVetGirl Horse Tack and Equipment 18 10-09-2008 06:23 AM
Bitless and bridleless....yay SonnyWimps Horse Talk 8 05-20-2008 11:31 PM
Going Bitless.... Leggs Lady Horse Tack and Equipment 24 03-26-2008 11:34 PM
bitless bridle Mike_T Horse Tack and Equipment 5 03-05-2008 10:39 AM
Bitless bridle??? Missi Horse Training 19 03-14-2007 03:30 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome