Am I just stupid? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 08-30-2008, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: SE Kansas
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Am I just stupid?

Its ok you can say so if I am
I got a silly notion in my head that I could ride Vida in a rope halter.
She hadn't been ridden all week (mine and the weathers fault). She has been doing really well with the neck reining and leg cues so I haven't had to use the bit much anyway. We headed out on our home trails this morning. She did great for the first 3 miles or so. Then I got her up to a fast gait, turned her onto a trail that lead back to the beginning. She turned into a run away horse I tried everything in my bag of tricks to get her to slow down or stop but noooo she just kept building steam. Finally I could get enough leverage to do a one rein stop (not fun at a full blown gallop) plus find a spot that was on a straight trail with a soft looking landing
I will note that I did take my heastall and bit with me, thank God! I jumped off slipped the bit in and finished our ride with no more problems.
My question is, how do people ride in just halters or bitless? Are they just riding around a pasture or arena not out on miles of trails? I noticed there is pretty much little to no control of the horses head. Stopping in general was difficult. Doing a one rein stop which to me is a 'everyone needs to be able to do this' thing, was almost impossible. I have a bitless bridle I have been wanting to try but Vida has had an ear infection so getting it on her would be a challenge. Now I'm even sceptical about it. I've been riding Vida at least 3-4 times a week weather permitting for 3 years, its the first time I felt like she was completely out of control.
My husband says I was just being stupid is he right or am I doing the bitless thing wrong?

"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened..."
- Anatole France
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post #2 of 24 Old 08-30-2008, 08:46 PM
Green Broke
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lol well for one i wouldnt have gone on a trail the very first time bitless... let alone do much more then walk and trot..

start her in just a round pen walk trot canter or maybe try in an arena

Make sure she knows to stop lol

when I ride chance in a rope halter I make sure its tight not so she cant breath but enough to have full control.

I agree they sometimes do ignore the pressure on there head.. so before u go out and do that again make sure u want walk trot canter maybe even gallop in an arena or round pen not much room to run off too.

lol but that was kinda stupid :P
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post #3 of 24 Old 08-30-2008, 09:32 PM
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No, not stupid -- adventurous & confident

I wouldn't ride on the trails with just a halter unless I had a rein clipped onto each side -- regular halter, not rope. You're absolutely right -- impossible to do a one-rein stop! However, my sister used to hope on her horse of 12 yrs with nothing and away they would fly across the fields. How cool is that?

However, don't let this experience turn you off of the bitless bridles. They are *completely* different than a halter and work on the "whole head" as opposed to just the mouth / nose that a regular bridle does. If you have a bitless, by all means, head out with it! I would love to have one, but I don't have any extra $ right now. I have never heard anyone have problems with their horses with a bitless bridle -- only success stories. If I could, I would buy the nuturless one because I like the design of that one best. It seems to hold the cross-jaw-strap (?) in place better than the other ones I've seen.

Adventurous Vida! -- shorten to Avida???
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post #4 of 24 Old 08-30-2008, 09:39 PM
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Nah...impulsive, maybe!

Bitless, as a in a hackamore--you actually have a lot of control, not sure about other kinds of bitless. Arrow's been going so well in his Myler curb--a very gentle one, then a Kimberwicke (hardly a curb at all, though it is one)...took him out in a snaffle, and no brakes, I mean no brakes! The horses...they just know. I don't even much USE the curb, for goodness sake...but he knew when it was just a snaffle!
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post #5 of 24 Old 08-30-2008, 09:44 PM
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We ride our horse's bitless. My husband uses a side-pull and I use a bosal. A big thing we focused on with training our horse's is whoa completely from our seat. I can ride bridleless in the arena on my horse and get a perfect stop. Now on the trail my horse doesn't have quite that much focus, but he has enough that if I do have to use the reins he knows he missed a cue and stops when asked. So training is a big part of being able to go bitless.

I really think people take too much comfort in bits. Bits/bitless, etc are all forms of communication and if a horse really wants to blow threw either then their really is no stopping them. In fact the two really bad bolts that happened to me happened in horses with bits - one was a snaffle and the 2nd was a pelham.

Its all about training and communication and getting the horse's response conditioned enough that it is consistant every time.

All I pay my psychiatrist is cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day!

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post #6 of 24 Old 08-30-2008, 09:47 PM
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Vita, it's all in your horse's training and attitude. I wouldn't attempt it on my 6 year old mare just yet but would ride to the ends of the earth on my 11 year old gelding.

I can take the mare around the field in a bosal but on the trail is a different thing entirely. If I'm with another horse and that rider breaks into a canter, my mare is going too (although she has gotten much better in the 8 months that I've owned her). The gelding, on the other hand, hates to be alone but will listen to his rider implicitly.

You can bring your horse around but you may have to go to a different bosal with more bite to it at first and then work with her. Some horses are just naturally obedient and others need to be taught.

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.

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post #7 of 24 Old 08-30-2008, 10:23 PM
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some horses actually will try to take advantage of you because they know you have less control. I've taken horses out on trails (not mine, sadly cause he wasn't there) with a halter and I was bareback. She listened fine.

I find that the easiest way to train a horse to stop when bareback and in a halter is to bring your legs forward by their front legs and as far as you can go. When I was first teaching Sonny that, I did it in a bit with my normal stopping cue (which was a small little pull on the reins). Than I slowly stopped the original cue, but still had my hands on the reins if I needed to.

Now I simply move my legs forward and Sonny slams on the breaks and stops.

The next trail I do with him I plan on trying it with halter and reins, but possibly have my bit and original reins on him also just in case (cause there are ALOT of sharp turns you have to do after you climb up a steep incline and you have 3 seconds to turn or your off the cliff lol)

I do ALOT of bridleless work to get him familiar with the little pressure a halter will give.

I'd say try her just in a small confined area at first until you can put her through ALL her gaits and stop her, turn her, and have her listen before you try to do a long huge trail. And once you do take her on a trail only do walk/trot for the first time.
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post #8 of 24 Old 08-30-2008, 10:30 PM
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There's just no reason to ride in a halter, no reason on the face of the earth. Any horse, no how well trained, can spook at something and bolt--can be scared out of its teeny, tiny brain and just run blindly. Why be out there on the trails with no bit for just in case? I'm talking about circling your property or whatever--I mean a real trail ride. I can't think of a single reason to be riding out there with just a halter. Horses are flight animals, and it's best not to forget that--you can't fight instinct. A hackamore's fine, and a bosal, I suppose, but a halter? No. Horses are big and strong--staying safe should be every rider's number one concern.
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post #9 of 24 Old 08-30-2008, 11:09 PM
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Thing is, if the horse is scared enough in its teeny, tiny brain that its going to run blindly - a bit isn't going to do squat. When I had to bail to prevent being smashed into a tree my horse was in a pelham and I had NO control. Now with more training I ride that same horse in a bosal.

My husband rides in a side-pull and really a rope halter could have about the same amount of control, maybe even more. The only thing I don't like about riding in rope halters is they tend to be a tad sloppier than side-pulls or bosals.

All I pay my psychiatrist is cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day!

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post #10 of 24 Old 08-31-2008, 12:01 AM
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Totally disagree--you have a ton more leverage with a bit, even a snaffle, than with a halter. It's just simple physics--you've really got his mouth and nose with a bit, and you can get his attention a lot faster. A bolt is a bolt--I agree with you that any horse can run through any bit if he gets that in his head, but you are going to gain control much, much faster with a bit or a hackamore than you would with only a simple halter, or even a rope halter.
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