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About riding bitless...

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  • Bitless halter bridles belgium

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    01-03-2013, 06:16 AM
  #91
Banned
Hi all,just finished reading through these posts.I ride bitless and bareback.Rope halter for my Belgian quarter and side pull for my Newfie Pony.I love it!.However,I am not a trainer.Don't do shows .Pleasure / backyard horses whom are pets.My only requirement is for the horse to go forward ,turn, back and stop.I have done tackless with both of mine as well.One thing I am very sure of is that any good riding is a result of good training.From the ground up.Whether you are using a bit or not. As for the bickering and disrespect that I see far to often on this forum,I will say there are ways to disagree and debate without the rudeness and sarcasm.Hope everyone is well in the new year.
     
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    01-03-2013, 06:36 AM
  #92
Banned
One more thing,I also treat train my horse.This is something that is frowned on by many but I have found it to be a wonderful tool and motivator when done correctly. The bitless debate has been on the go for quite some time.I would like to ask an honest question about bits vs bitless. [for the record I am only against harsh bits.I use to ride in a snaffle].My question is more directed at pleasure/trail .If you are out riding and a horse spooks or bolts, will a bit really stop it any better than a bitless of equal training? Please people,dont take this question to have any hidden agenda's.It is an honest question from a non trainer backyard horseperson.
     
    01-03-2013, 09:42 AM
  #93
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newfie    
...If you are out riding and a horse spooks or bolts, will a bit really stop it any better than a bitless of equal training? Please people,dont take this question to have any hidden agenda's...
I've only used a few varieties of sidepull halters. Nothing with a cross-under design or a bosal.

For Mia, the answer is definitely yes, a bit does better.

1 - It does a better job of preventing a bolt. When Mia gets jumpy, I can play with the reins and usually calm her down, at least down to "no bolt" territory. It usually works well to put a pinkie of pressure on each rein as that shoulder is moving forward - light pinkie. That results in her moving her front feet a little less forward and reconnects her with me. If it is more touch & go, a tug on the rein farthest from whatever has her concerned tells her to forget about it and let ME worry about it. A sidepull doesn't allow either of those techniques to work with her.

2 - If she is galloping and doesn't want to stop, then a bit gives me more leverage on her nose than a sidepull does. She sticks her nose out and has her head almost parallel to the ground, and a sidepull will pull up on her face farther than the corners of her mouth, so it simply has less mechanical leverage to bend her neck and get her to yield and slow. A snaffle bit also has some problems, since it slides back against her clenched teeth when her head is like that. I've ordered a Kimberwick (spelling?) to see if a mild curb will help her to lower her nose. With Mia in a full-bore gallop, lowering her nose is the key to slowing her.

Trooper has never bolted or refused to slow from a canter or gallop, but he acts more confident with a bit. But since he hasn't ever bolted, I simply don't know. Lilly never bolted on me either.

I haven't tried bitless with Cowboy. He is usually ridden by my 100 lb daughter-in-law, and I don't think she has the upper body strength to force the issue with him bitless. He only bolts in an arena, and responds well to a one-rein stop. He's a BLM mustang pony, and he believes in being careful on the trail.

Very old photo, from shortly after I started riding, but it shows the bitless halter I used with Mia. Still use it as her daily halter. I think you can see how this design allow zero leverage on the nose once she stretches out in a run:



Same design on Trooper. This was on my first-ever attempt at cantering. It says a lot about their differences that I felt more comfortable, for my first ever canter, to ride Trooper in a sidepull halter. But again, it shows how little mechanical advantage THIS design gives. Notice where the reins actually connect next to his head. And no riding critique, please, since this was a couple of minutes into my first attempt at a canter. It was also Trooper's first canter in over a year:

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    01-03-2013, 10:28 AM
  #94
Foal
I hope folks reading ideas on this forum are intelligent enough to decide if an idea or technique is within their personal ability and experience level. The fact that I related a method James uses does not mean I advocate that folks without his experience should do the same thing, but I mention it to open their eyes to what is possible. Without knowing what can be done then you have no idea as to what level to strive towards. Personally I am not at that level, or anywhere near it, but seeing these advanced ideas has opened my eyes to what I should be striving for. I am just very sad James is no longer around to help me develop as a horseman.

As to James experience, I think his cv was impecable on the subject of young horse starts and restarts. Just before he died he wrote the following article on his influences James My Influences . He also took part, by invitation, in the horse start shows in Reno and Fort Worth last year Wild Horse Taming .
     
    01-03-2013, 11:32 AM
  #95
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newfie    
One more thing,I also treat train my horse.This is something that is frowned on by many but I have found it to be a wonderful tool and motivator when done correctly. The bitless debate has been on the go for quite some time.I would like to ask an honest question about bits vs bitless. [for the record I am only against harsh bits.I use to ride in a snaffle].My question is more directed at pleasure/trail .If you are out riding and a horse spooks or bolts, will a bit really stop it any better than a bitless of equal training? Please people,dont take this question to have any hidden agenda's.It is an honest question from a non trainer backyard horseperson.
Hi Newfie
The answer to your question is absolutely YES - a bit does make a huge difference because it can prevent that spook from even turning into a bolt provided the action of the bit is in the right place - on the bars. If the horse has learnt to avoid the bit by putting its nose upwards then you have to go back to the drawing board.
I have seen horses allegedly 'bolting' that in fact arent bolting at all to start with - its just that the rider doesnt know how to use their hands, seat and body strength to stop them, this could be just a strength thing as a riders own bodyweight & muscle strength does make a difference but often the rider just freezes and pretty much does nothing to deal with the situation. In a situation like this am I going to worry about giving the horse some pain - no I'm not because the one outweighs the other in terms of safety and preventing it becoming a 'learned' experience for the horse that it can run off if it wants too
There are also riders who set a horse off into a canter without enough contact on the bit to tell the horse its under control
The only exception to the bit having more power over bitless is using something like a german hackamore (I know nothing about US mechanical hackamores) but an OTTB we had had zero brakes in any bit but was wonderful in a german hackamore
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    01-03-2013, 11:40 AM
  #96
Banned
Bdsm..This one is for you.The argument from people about going bit less is that they feel that a well trained horse would respond to a halter/sidepull/rope halter ect as well as a bit ,and if they don't respond it is because they don't have adequate training.For me who is learning as I go,something tells me that this should be the case.ie that it basically depends on the training. BUT I don't believe bits to be the instruments of torture that some would have us believe [only of coarse in harsh hands.} The people who are die-hard bitless riders will say that one shouldn't have to yank or pull on a horses mouth to get it to respond.They feel that a good horseperson will have a responsive horse without the bit and wouldn't need a bit to even get the "finesse" that people talk about on this thread.What is your answer to this? [again,I am asking honestly and not in any way arguing.These are some things I have been told over the past few years.}.This seems to be a big debate on a few forums.Thanks for your response by the way.

Jaydee..thanks for your response.I have not been around horses as long as many of you have and also have really only dealt with my 2 boys.There seems to be a part of me that just do not "get" the bit thing.I do understand what you guys are saying but I always feel that what ever a horse can be trained to do in a bit,he can be trained to do without it.But as I have said many times ,I am a pleasure ,backyard horse person.I don't do any type of shows and the only requirements for my boys are basic maneuvers.So because of that I may never quite "get" it about the bits though I do hear what you are both saying.Thanks.
     
    01-03-2013, 12:24 PM
  #97
Trained
Keep in mind that just b/c a horse does not respond or like a side pull or halter or what have you as a way of riding does not mean they are not well trained. I have some of the best trained horses you will find can ride them bridleless. The fact that I do not or do not and will not ride bitless has nothing to do with training. It is not something that I feel the need to do. It accomplishes nothing. I have found that those who do so out side of the show ring are doing so to try and say see what I can do or look how nice I am being to my horse. The fact is that there is no difference. You are not being any nicer to your horse then I am and your ability is not better then mine. It is like those who own stallions b/c they think it is cool and so on.
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    01-03-2013, 12:51 PM
  #98
Yearling
Just read through all of this and thought I would add my opinion and experience with Jake.

Jake has always been a special case, he came to me with barely the basic commands at the age of 14. He had been rode most of his life could stop after a good 10-30 steps after giving the whoa cue, he direct reined only and leaked sideways, he had some recognition of leg cues but not much. And he was hot hot hot. I rode him around in a halter sure but it was always in a fenced pasture where he was familiar and never too far from home. He was horribly barn sour, gate sour and overall temperamental. He gets frustrated very easy and he was only taught to run on trails. So when I go out on trails he gets frustrated very fast, and gets dangerous very fast.

I have worked with multiple trainers, tons of different people and what not. Half told me to not ride him that he was always stuck being as he was, unfinished and untrainable. Some told me to shoot him, others claimed they could help but I never saw any results. Natural horsemanship with him was a joke, I used every trick in the book from multiple different NH trainers to try and get him to not be barn sour. All the happened was I had an exhausted, over-heated horse that was still walking on his back legs.

I can tell you there have been hundreds of instances that a bit was my savings grace. It didn't mean I yanked on his mouth, it means that I was able to get his attention and make him respond to a leg cue to bend. A slight twist of my finger meant that he would bend around and stay away from the drop off next to a trail. He has no self awareness, we figured this out the hard way, with a few accidents, that he will not take care of himself when walking around. He needs his rider to guide his feet. In order to do that I absolutely need fine tuning skills of a bit. A halter or doesn't matter which type of side pull or bitless what ever would ever be able to get his attention when he starts to loose it mentally. No amount of training has been able to demand his attention when he gets frustrated. Most of the time I can ride him around on a loose rein, heck I can and do ride him bridleless. That is in an arena or I am in a familiar place doing strict calming exercises. He turns on the haunches, the fore, backs up, turns all without the use of any type of head gear, no halter no bridle. Still does not mean he can always do that. Because of his personality. That is key. I've always owned another horse that would probably never need a bit and most the time I just had a rope halter on, I never bothered to loop it through the other side and rode everywhere like that. That was his personality. Jake is either never ride him outside an arena or ride him with a bit. One of two options...I choose the bit.

The photo is in a field where I had done several calming exercises, going in circles with a bridle first until he was confident in thinking that we were not going anywhere. Then I was able to ride him around without it. I Have to wait until he focuses.
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    01-03-2013, 12:53 PM
  #99
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by nrhareiner    
Keep in mind that just b/c a horse does not respond or like a side pull or halter or what have you as a way of riding does not mean they are not well trained. I have some of the best trained horses you will find can ride them bridleless. The fact that I do not or do not and will not ride bitless has nothing to do with training. It is not something that I feel the need to do. It accomplishes nothing. I have found that those who do so out side of the show ring are doing so to try and say see what I can do or look how nice I am being to my horse. The fact is that there is no difference. You are not being any nicer to your horse then I am and your ability is not better then mine. It is like those who own stallions b/c they think it is cool and so on.
I agree, I ride in only a rope halter on trails ect. Its not there show off or anything like that my mare is very well broke in both the bit and rope halter and responds the same to both. I prefer riding her in that over the bit, I don't really see the difference. If I were to show her then yes I would use a bit but I don't think riding bitless tackless ect is a way to show off its just a preference.
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    01-03-2013, 01:07 PM
  #100
Banned
Nrhareiner, I ride bitless but certainly not because I have any sense of superiority about ..well anything.I do think bitless would be more comfortable though and that would be the only reason why I would choose it for my boys.So on that aspect I will politely disagree.However ,My frame of reference is very small and I can only go by my experience with my 2 horses.My big guy does not like the bit at all and neither does my pony.My pony response better to a sidepull and my horse to a rope halter.Again,these are not show horses ,nor would I want them to be.They are family pets ,who are well behave dispite not using a bit.I guess that is what counts.
     

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