So I've been studying bits and bridles and bitless bridles for a while now. I've seen "Indian War Bridles" a number of times, but never paid them any mind. But now I'm curious. I can't decide whether they'd be wonderful or horrible. One person I know mentioned they had seen a horse's tongue nearly get cut off with one O.O But i've seen the same results with other bits in bad hands. I guess I'm curious what other people's opinions on it is.
I suppose the material would make a difference, I've mostly seen braided rawhide, but is that safe? I mean the chemicals used to treat the rawhide?
Others I've heard have used rope, would that be soft?
Also are these typically used for neck reining or direct reining? Is it crossed under the chin or is it just a loop?
Here's some pictures I know of it, but I'd like to learn more. :)
To be perfectly honest I have never seen one really used. I remember as a kid using a piece of baling twine and using it as one to ride my horse in from the pasture pretending I was an Indian, LOL! That's all the experience I have with a war bridle :)
We had those "mid size bales", that had 4 long strings, weighed over a half ton. I am sure I didn't do it right, but I just ran it through the mouth and crossed the ends under the chin like a curb strap, then back through the mouth, which I think is the wrong way. But you have to keep in mind these were horses I could of just looped it around their neck and neck reined anywhere. I am no means offering advice on how to use one, I just thought it was fun as a didnt know better kid :)
They don't seem like a very good idea to me, at least at first glance. I would think the mouth piece would have to be pretty tight to keep the horse from just spitting it out, couldn't be very comfortable... especially not for an extended period of time. I may be wrong but I recall hearing that they were preferred for battle because of the extreme control (no doubt a result of the pain inflicted) the offered.
War bridle is a misnomer. The Indians were very good horsemen and their horses worked off leg/knee pressure. The jaw string was more for holding onto the horse. Rawhide is exactly that, raw hide. It is skinned from the animal, dehaired, scraped, stretched out with stakes to dry in the sun. It is then cut in a circular fashion around and around until there's one very long continuous strip. The raw hide is then cased (soaked until the bubbles quit) wrapped up for a day or two while it reabsorbs the moisture, in a cool place, then braided. It is extremely strong. There are no chemicals added to rawhide. It is the tanning process that keeps leather flexible. Braided rawhide is flexible which is attributed to the braiding. A piece of dampened rawhide the size of your hand will dry out like a board and be about as flexible.
That's very interesting saddlebag, you're such a wealth of knowledge xD
How does the steering work? Direct or neck or something different? How does it loop around their mouth? Does it have to be tied to tight so it doesn't fall off? Would it hurt a horse's tongue tied so tight? I've seen some with head stalls, but those are sort of like cranks, that pull up and down when the reins are pulled. I'm really curious on the mechanics of it all xD