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About riding bitless...

This is a discussion on About riding bitless... within the Natural Horsemanship forums, part of the Training Horses category

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        01-01-2013, 07:21 PM
      #71
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GotaDunQH    
    Seriously.....I have some questions. You came on here and made claims etc about bit vs bitless. So exactly what type of riding do you do with your horse??? I think I have an idea based on one of your first posts that said...putting in a bit and yanking the horse around. So that tells me, that is the way you ride...with all hand. So, set the record straight as I am genuinely curious. Give us some background on you and your horse and what you do. I'll do the same if you want.
    ok I will give you a little background. I of course love horses (duh:}) and I don't show or compeat or any of that stuff, I just walk into the back yard and ride my horse wherever the pasture takes us. I don't take lessons, I just go to a trainer and ride around in the arena and get som pointers. I try to improve my seat,my hands,my legs, my everything every time I ride. I focus on having fun and learning and just riding. Yeah i've used bits and yeah I was kinda quick to post that comment but now I relize I was wrong. If you would I would like to end this argument and give everyone my apology if you need it for waterer reason. Thank you and I hope you have a happy new year! :)
    bsms and GotaDunQH like this.
         
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        01-01-2013, 08:13 PM
      #72
    Foal
    I couldn't have said it any better!!!
         
        01-01-2013, 08:18 PM
      #73
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ACowgirlThing778    
    I couldn't have said it any better!!!
    Was your horse trained bitless from the start? It appears here that you do not have the experience to judge us all and in that saying that we are cruel for using bits. Just because your horse does it well doesn't mean every single horse will do it too.
         
        01-01-2013, 09:22 PM
      #74
    Showing
    CowgirlThing, I'd really like to help you understand where we're coming from. You see, there are things that we do with our horses that require a lot of finesse and training, and others, not so much. You yourself said that you do nothing more than plod around the pasture. That's fine! Nothing wrong with that. But you have to understand that this type of riding takes very little training or finesse. That's why it works fine for both of you to use a bitless bridle, web halter, rope halter, baling twine, or whatever else suits your fancy. As long as you can stop, turn, and keep control, your bitless bridle does the job.

    However, there are others, like myself, that demand more of our horses. I have two major disciplines that I ride and compete in--eventing and reining. Both disciplines require a lot of skill and training, but I'll use reining as an example, as my reining mare is further along than my eventer. This horse requires a lot of finesse. There's more to a reining pattern than stop, turn, and speed up. A shift of my weight or a tickle with the spur will cue her to perform haunch/forehand turns, leg yields, spins, sliding stops, flying changes, counterbends, or changes in pace or gait. I rarely touch the reins. I could ride her in a bitless bridle, a spade, a halter, a hackamore, or completely bridleless. Why? Because her trainer spent years training and refining her to ride off the seat and legs.

    However, this is a long process, and I sure as hell couldn't have ridden her bridleless or in a bitless bridle as a three-year-old and achieved the same level of finesse I could with a bit. The end result for a finished horse is a horse that is so finely tuned, he can ride without a bridle of any kind. Again, this is the result! The bit is the communication tool used to achieve that finesse.
         
        01-02-2013, 12:06 AM
      #75
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by equiniphile    
    CowgirlThing, I'd really like to help you understand where we're coming from. You see, there are things that we do with our horses that require a lot of finesse and training, and others, not so much. You yourself said that you do nothing more than plod around the pasture. That's fine! Nothing wrong with that. But you have to understand that this type of riding takes very little training or finesse. That's why it works fine for both of you to use a bitless bridle, web halter, rope halter, baling twine, or whatever else suits your fancy. As long as you can stop, turn, and keep control, your bitless bridle does the job.

    However, there are others, like myself, that demand more of our horses. I have two major disciplines that I ride and compete in--eventing and reining. Both disciplines require a lot of skill and training, but I'll use reining as an example, as my reining mare is further along than my eventer. This horse requires a lot of finesse. There's more to a reining pattern than stop, turn, and speed up. A shift of my weight or a tickle with the spur will cue her to perform haunch/forehand turns, leg yields, spins, sliding stops, flying changes, counterbends, or changes in pace or gait. I rarely touch the reins. I could ride her in a bitless bridle, a spade, a halter, a hackamore, or completely bridleless. Why? Because her trainer spent years training and refining her to ride off the seat and legs.

    However, this is a long process, and I sure as hell couldn't have ridden her bridleless or in a bitless bridle as a three-year-old and achieved the same level of finesse I could with a bit. The end result for a finished horse is a horse that is so finely tuned, he can ride without a bridle of any kind. Again, this is the result! The bit is the communication tool used to achieve that finesse.
    Thank You. Your right, all I do is plod around as I please. That may be why nobody was on the same page. Thanks.. Happy New Year!!
         
        01-02-2013, 12:22 AM
      #76
    Weanling
    I ride my Arab bitless and my grandpa rides all three of his horses the same way. I love riding my horse bit free and my Arab likes it also, but by no means would I EVER say that every horse should be ridden without a bit. I had a horse once that HATED the bosal, but was a good ride with a simple snaffle, the opposite of my Arab. Every horse is different, so treat them different.
    ACowgirlThing778 likes this.
         
        01-02-2013, 04:46 AM
      #77
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Wanstrom Horses    
    Was your horse trained bitless from the start? It appears here that you do not have the experience to judge us all and in that saying that we are cruel for using bits. Just because your horse does it well doesn't mean every single horse will do it too.
    i wasn't sayin people who use bits were cruel... and once more I would like to end this argument. Happy New Year!!
         
        01-02-2013, 06:34 AM
      #78
    Foal
    I think a lot of the antagonisim in this thread comes from folks talking at cross purposes. When I talk of riding bridle-less in the foundation stage of training it is to get the horse thinking forwards. Not all horses need this, but I suspect all riders would benefit from riding a horse that can be ridden bridle-less.
    I watched Josh, James Roberts apprentice, putting a first ride on a young horse destined to be an eventer. Very highly bred apparently. The horse was clearly thinking backwards and Josh was being too active with the reins. Eventually James called him over and took the halter off. Josh was now riding bridle-less on a first ride. This was not done as a trick or to show off, it was done with a purpose. James had figured that the halter was inhibiting forward thought in the horse and so removed it, with very good results.
    This was using bridle-less for a purpose, to help put a good mental foundation on the horse on its' first ride. It was not to get the horse doing piaffe, barrel race or whatever, just to think forwards. As such it was a beautiful thing to watch. Of course the horse progressed back into a halter, and eventually a bit as the foundation progressed but at this stage in a safe enclosed environment the halter and bit were not appropriate.
    Now given that Robert Whitaker had sent his last few colts to James to be started I suspect he had become known to produce light responsive horses. He was not an amateur horse starter, but one of the best. I respect the ideas and training he gave me before his sad demise in a car crash.
    I am not advocating bridle-less as the sole training for performance riding of any sort, but just for putting a foundation on the horse.
    If you wish to then do bridle-less performance work with the horse such as Stacy or Mikey Wanzenreid then bridle-less will come after considerable training with a bridle of some sort at the end of the foundation.
         
        01-02-2013, 09:23 AM
      #79
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Pegasus1    
    This was using bridle-less for a purpose, to help put a good mental foundation on the horse on its' first ride...at this stage in a safe enclosed environment the halter and bit were not appropriate.
    I am trying to understand this reasoning, but must confess I am baffled. What is the purpose of a horse's first ride? To me it is to begin the very most basic beginnings of learning cues and responses.

    Perhaps you are only trying to get the horse used to a rider without worrying about his head. That's fine, except then the horse should be led so nothing bad happens. What if the horse chose to take off bucking? The rider could be hurt, but also the horse would not have had a positive first experience nor progressed forward with his learning. It is a big risk to take.

    I could understand a first ride being in a halter, since a horse is already familiar with a halter and you are not seeking any kind of communication beyond kindergarten level. However, I prefer to use what I will be riding in because otherwise it just puts off teaching cues the horse needs to know.

    If the horse in the described scenario that was started bridleless did not go forward under saddle, what would be wrong with the ground person giving him a cue to move such as leading him forward or encouraging from behind? If the rider was using "too much rein," then wasn't that the rider's fault, not the bridle?

    If this bridleless way of starting a horse is not to show off, then why would the risk be taken at all? There is really no way to know exactly how a horse will react on a first ride. I have seen the gamut (on well prepared horses) from being very calm and practically bored with it all to exploding in extreme and sudden fear. With a bridle or at least a halter the rider has a chance to get the horse's head up, turn the horse and often prevent a bad experience from happening at all.
    nrhareiner, bsms and GotaDunQH like this.
         
        01-02-2013, 11:39 AM
      #80
    Trained
    After the trainer concluded Mia had never been broken to ride, and that I had been riding Mia based on her inherent good nature, she began training Mia from the very beginning. Mia was obviously used to a saddle, but she needed to learn bit cues and leg cues. This is the set-up used to teach her bit cues BEFORE getting on her back:



    That certainly isn't the only way of teaching a horse, but it is a pretty safe way to make sure they know what the various bit cues mean and are comfortable with them. Leg cues were taught walking beside her and using the stirrup as a substitute heel. This set-up was used to teach Mia up to the canter. The trainer wanted Mia to be able to turn and stop at a canter, and to know how to move her hip and disengage prior to mounting.

    It wasn't the same procedure she had used in teaching our mare Lilly a few years earlier. When I asked her about it, the trainer said she had already broken all the bones she wanted to break in her life, and that it ensured the horse knew how to communicate with her rider BEFORE she was ridden.

    Tomorrow will be the one year anniversary of when the trainer got on Mia's back. 4 Jan will be one year of my riding her again. And while she still gets scared at times, we now share a common language that allows me to reassure her. That is the purpose of a bit - to communicate, not to punish.

    My limited experience of 4 horses has been on horses who like to go fast. Fast = Fun, to them. That means I have no basis for saying how one should get a horse to go forward, since I've never had ANY problem with that! But I'll admit, it seems like it would be pretty easy to teach a horse to go forward from the ground, rather than starting the first ride with no halter. Particularly if the problem was the rider's hands...
         

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