A Sudden Realization! (Bareback and Bridleless) - Page 3
 
 

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A Sudden Realization! (Bareback and Bridleless)

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  • Horse responds better bridleless

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    06-17-2013, 10:09 AM
  #21
Yearling
Red face

Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Jane    
The "tack just adds to the fire" part makes me think something is ill-fitted. How did you rule out the possibility of it not fitting well? Have you had his teeth checked? The bit may be bothering him.

I am looking forward to being able to ride my mare bareback someday, but she's young, and while she's still even the slightest bit green, I'm not going to risk anything. I've only come off a horse twice, and both times the horse didn't buck or anything, but both times hurt enough for me to get a pretty good appreciation of the hardness of the ground and the unpredictability of a horse. Riding bareback provides a wonderful connection to the horse, but often I think it is the result of an already-closely-bonded pair. Cheers to you for having achieved that with your horse, but do be careful. A spook is more easily handled with a saddle and bridle than bareback.

I've had 2 professionals look at each one of my saddles and how they fit my horse, and only my western one fits a tad tight on his withers.

I'm not sure how to describe the change in him, but I'll try. I started him as a 4h huntseat horse, where he did incredible. I had him in a kimberwick, would teetertotter for his headset, and use my hands to stop, along with a vocal cue. He had wonderful, collected gaits.
After a few years of that, I took a year off of competing, and only did a couple shows. He was still the same huntseat horse.
At some point after I quit 4h, he began to be very forward, which I have no problem with, if I can control it. I started at a hunter jumper barn, which probably started my problem. They wanted little contact on him, with loose rejns all the time, so there was no real consistency in his gaits. So that's when he really learned how to be gogogo and not really whoa. He started rushing jumps, and all that jazz.
I quit that hunterjumper barn, and went back to training alone. The following year I found an eventing trainer. She helped me develop him into a dressage horse, but still with him having very forward gaits.

Through the jumping trainers, he was in a D ring snaffle and an o ring snaffle.


He still is very forward bareback, but i'm trying to develop my body so I can slow him down/etc with just my body, not hands
     
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    06-17-2013, 11:17 AM
  #22
Trained
This will open a can of worms, but it sounds to me like he learned how to ignore a snaffle. It isn't that hard to do, and a horse who likes to go may figure it out. For Mia, I switched to bit designs that include poll pressure: an elevator bit and a western curb (Billy Allen, I think is what it is called). A horse cannot avoid the poll pressure, so she started listening again - even on those days when she would prefer to ignore my input.

This has also freed up her head. I've decided the days where I come back from a ride with tired shoulders because of her pulling are over. I had never tried for a headset, but she wanted to feel my hands on the reins...and sometimes wanted a lot more pressure than I wanted.

We also made stopping a high priority. Lots of stops, from W/T/C, and she needs to make a good faith effort to stop quickly, with all feet squared up, then settle and not fidget.

The combination has resulted in a much calmer horse. It goes against what a lot of people believe, but she moves easier, more relaxed and calmer with a curb bit (and slack) than in a snaffle. If she wants to go faster than I ask for, the ultimate correction is a full stop, wait a minute, then try again. For a lazy horse, that would be a 'reward'. For an energetic horse who wants to GO, that is a punishment.

I am NOT telling you to follow my example. I offer it up as food for thought. If you have an intelligent, thinking horse who enjoys speed, can they develop a resentment for being ridden 'on the bit', and respond better to freedom? If you made the change to bareback and bridleless at the same time, could the bridleless part be what is helping your horse?

I am not a huge fan of bitless, having tried it for 3 years (never tried bridleless), but I think some horses respond better to a less directive approach. With Mia, there seems to be a fine line between providing the direction she craves with providing so much she resents it. The former calms her. The latter makes her angry. She wants direction, but not to be dominated.

If none of this rambling stream-of-consciousness helps, I'm sorry and please ignore it. I'm still trying to puzzle out how to balance freedom and control with my mare. The two geldings I own are much simpler - pop a snaffle in their mouth, don't use it for balance, and they are happy. But not all horses respond the same way to the same thing...
     
    06-17-2013, 03:09 PM
  #23
Green Broke
You are taking away all of the things he has had bad associations with, and all of the "security" features of a saddle. Some reasons he would take to bare back more easily:

If his saddle has become uncomfortable, his bit isn't the best for his mouth shape and/or he has bad associations with tack, he would naturally do better with taking it away.

If you had previous issues with having hard hands, or perhaps tend to really focus on certain things while riding, (need to work on leg position, so lose focus on using your seat to stop/slow, etc) then you would be much better off as a rider going bareback, having taken away the things you had issues with, forcing you to focus on balance and using your seat properly.

Its a good idea, when a horse and/or rider has had issues, to go back to basics as much as possible, allowing you to refocus on the important facets of riding, the basic connection and clear communication between horse and rider, then build back up to where you should be.

The fact that he does his lead changes much better bareback says one of two things to me. Either the saddle doesn't fit in some way, making it hard for him to do what you ask, or you are not asking right in the first place and your being on bareback makes a cue that was previously confusing to him much more clear.
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    06-17-2013, 03:34 PM
  #24
Green Broke
In regards to bits, horses have different mouth shapes, which means certain bits will work better than others. My last mare had a shallow pallet, and single jointed bits bothered her. A double jointed snaffle got rid of that problem.

My current mare has a small mouth, higher pallet and thicker tongue. She DETESTS double jointed bits(often viewed as milder bits), but goes extremely well in a single jointed snaffle.

Many horses that are happier in a curb are that way because someone has mistreated their mouths, and/or not started them correctly. 99% of horses need to learn to respond to bit pressure. Very few, if any, horses naturally turn with minimal contact the first time they have a bit in their mouth. You get them used to the feel, then gently teach them to flex and move when pressure is applied, and stop softly. The reward is a correctly timed release. If a horse is started in a solid curb(or that accursed tom thumb), which is not made for direct reining, and pulled around in it, you end up with a confused, dead mouthed horse. The rider asks for a turn, the bit signals a stop, the confused horse doesn't respond by turning, so the rider pulls harder. Finally the horse, desperate to get away from the preasure on its mouth, poll and chin, follows the preasure on the opposite side of its head(rider pulls on left rein, there is preasure on the poll, chin, mouth and sideways, on the right side of the mouth) and turns. Repeat every direction change. Then someone else gets the horse and figures they will do the nice thing and put them in a snaffle, but the only way to control them is constantly hauling on their mouth, because they have learned there is no release. They need lots of retraining, and being taken back to basics, and even then they sometimes never forget their initial training.
     
    06-17-2013, 04:27 PM
  #25
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueSpark    
...many horses that are happier in a curb are that way because someone has mistreated their mouths, and/or not started them correctly...
Why? Why do you believe a curb is a sign of bad treatment or bad training?

Why is it hard to believe that some horses naturally respond well to pressure on the poll instead of in their mouths? Why is a bit that only uses mouth pressure considered better than a bit that uses a different area as well?

Most horses in a western curb neck rein, and most carry their head naturally. It seems plausible to me that many horses might well prefer that to being ridden with constant contact. It also seem plausible to me that a horse who has been ridden with constant contact might prefer bitless, or even bridleless - particularly if that contact involved anything other than very light hands. If a horse shows sudden and large improvement bitless, then I have to wonder either about the bit used, or how it was used. There is nothing inherently gentle about a snaffle, particularly if the snaffle is used with constant contact.
     
    06-17-2013, 05:52 PM
  #26
Green Broke
Quote:
Why? Why do you believe a curb is a sign of bad treatment or bad training?
That's why I said "many", not "all". There are a few that are far happier in a curb than a snaffle. Out of all the dozens of horses I've known and worked with, there was one that was genuinely like that. Your horse sounds the same. If a horse neck reins, is not happy in a snaffle and the rider has soft hands, a curb is fine.

To me they should be used sparingly, and only if necessary, when the horse and rider meet the above criteria, or if the horse and rider are very knowledgeable and trained in its use, where it serves a specific purpose.

I have seen so many horses ruined by starting them in a curb. A curb is meant to be used on a broke horse, that neck reins. A snaffle or bit less is great for most occupations, with the odd horse needing a different bit. Certain disciplines, and particularly very well broke horses in higher levels of competition, need more sophisticated bits, where the rider and horse are very knowledgeable and the bit is used as an advanced form of communication.

I'm totally opposed to very few bits, such as the tom thumb, which is a confusing bit at the best of times, and ones that are obviously cruel, such as bike chains and extremely thin wire bits.

Many bits have a proper place, my problem is when people use them out of context. A curb is not a colt starting bit. Neither is a kimberwick. A bit with long shanks has no place on a green horse, and they should not be used as bandaids for issues. The number of "cowboys" who start colts in a curb, then, as their mouths get progressively deader, move into one with a higher port, chain instead of strap and longer shanks. Eventually they resent having such a severe bit yanked on, so they evade, by throwing their heads in the air, so they slap on a tie down, so they can gallop their hard mouthed horse around full speed, spurring them all the time, then yank them to a stop, mouths gaping, head braced against tie down. These horses typically have scars on their mouths, and spur scars on their sides.

I am working with a mare that was ridden in a long shanked curb and spurs. She was spurred a lot, but only to go faster. She is panicky go-go-go all the time, and has no idea how to respond to light pressure on a snaffle. I have taken her right back to a soft leather side pull, to start over, because of what ignorant jerks did to her.
     
    06-18-2013, 12:54 AM
  #27
Trained
The difference in our perspective may be from the practices we see around us. Around here, most of the horses I've seen or rented have been started on a snaffle. Many are kept there, and then ridden with slack reins and neck reining. Which is fine for many. Trooper is normally ridden in a snaffle, but he necks reins like a champ regardless - and neck reins fine in a rope halter.

However, I don't see where a horse would prefer a snaffle unless the curb training was poorly done. I had never worked a horse in a curb, but it only took about 3 rides of 30-45 minutes each for Mia to settle in to the idea - so it is not a hard transition. And I've seen more riders ham-fist their horses in snaffles than I have in curbs. Riding with contact arguably requires softer hands than riding with a western curb using one hand. It is pretty tough to unintentionally manhandle a western curb with slack reins and not notice. You have to take all the slack out, and then apply force without knowing how much you are applying - and I haven't seen that much here. OTOH, I have seen riders trying to put their horse's head in a frame with a snaffle and wondered why their horse didn't throw them.

Of course, I've also removed a bunch of hair from Mia's face using a rope halter, and have darn near ripped her head off in a snaffle when she wanted to run toward danger (roads with fast traffic, sharp drops or turns she couldn't hack)...so I don't have a lot of room for condemning anyone!
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    06-18-2013, 02:42 AM
  #28
Yearling
This is why I prefer riding bareback to using a saddle! I ride bareback as often or more than I do with a saddle. I do however use a bit most of the time, though I can ride in just a web halter with no real problems.
     
    06-18-2013, 04:14 PM
  #29
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms    
This will open a can of worms, but it sounds to me like he learned how to ignore a snaffle. It isn't that hard to do, and a horse who likes to go may figure it out. For Mia, I switched to bit designs that include poll pressure: an elevator bit and a western curb (Billy Allen, I think is what it is called). A horse cannot avoid the poll pressure, so she started listening again - even on those days when she would prefer to ignore my input.

This has also freed up her head. I've decided the days where I come back from a ride with tired shoulders because of her pulling are over. I had never tried for a headset, but she wanted to feel my hands on the reins...and sometimes wanted a lot more pressure than I wanted.

We also made stopping a high priority. Lots of stops, from W/T/C, and she needs to make a good faith effort to stop quickly, with all feet squared up, then settle and not fidget.

The combination has resulted in a much calmer horse. It goes against what a lot of people believe, but she moves easier, more relaxed and calmer with a curb bit (and slack) than in a snaffle. If she wants to go faster than I ask for, the ultimate correction is a full stop, wait a minute, then try again. For a lazy horse, that would be a 'reward'. For an energetic horse who wants to GO, that is a punishment.

I am NOT telling you to follow my example. I offer it up as food for thought. If you have an intelligent, thinking horse who enjoys speed, can they develop a resentment for being ridden 'on the bit', and respond better to freedom? If you made the change to bareback and bridleless at the same time, could the bridleless part be what is helping your horse?

I am not a huge fan of bitless, having tried it for 3 years (never tried bridleless), but I think some horses respond better to a less directive approach. With Mia, there seems to be a fine line between providing the direction she craves with providing so much she resents it. The former calms her. The latter makes her angry. She wants direction, but not to be dominated.

If none of this rambling stream-of-consciousness helps, I'm sorry and please ignore it. I'm still trying to puzzle out how to balance freedom and control with my mare. The two geldings I own are much simpler - pop a snaffle in their mouth, don't use it for balance, and they are happy. But not all horses respond the same way to the same thing...

He does the same thing with all bits. I use a bit with shanks yesterday, and he was just as terrible. Today I worked him in a snaffle, emphasizing on the whoa. Basically we did walk, stop, back. Again and again. He was good until I let him do a little trot and then stop. He got it in his mind to go go go. So anytime he would break from the walk to the trot, we would stop and back ALOT. Eventually when I would stop backing he would automatically try to walk on, and that was a big no no. So more backing and backing with lateral flexion added in.

At a certain point in time he would not get the point so I pushed him forward and pushed him around in little circles at a fast trot into a canter. After he got to stop, back, sidepass and do lateral work. After all that was done, I ended it there so it wouldn't continue to go downhill. I ended on a good note atleast.
     
    06-18-2013, 04:18 PM
  #30
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueSpark    
You are taking away all of the things he has had bad associations with, and all of the "security" features of a saddle. Some reasons he would take to bare back more easily:

If his saddle has become uncomfortable, his bit isn't the best for his mouth shape and/or he has bad associations with tack, he would naturally do better with taking it away.

If you had previous issues with having hard hands, or perhaps tend to really focus on certain things while riding, (need to work on leg position, so lose focus on using your seat to stop/slow, etc) then you would be much better off as a rider going bareback, having taken away the things you had issues with, forcing you to focus on balance and using your seat properly.

Its a good idea, when a horse and/or rider has had issues, to go back to basics as much as possible, allowing you to refocus on the important facets of riding, the basic connection and clear communication between horse and rider, then build back up to where you should be.

The fact that he does his lead changes much better bareback says one of two things to me. Either the saddle doesn't fit in some way, making it hard for him to do what you ask, or you are not asking right in the first place and your being on bareback makes a cue that was previously confusing to him much more clear.

I will just address the lead changes. A few years ago, with the same lead problems, I had him doing flying lead changes under saddle, using the same method. Now, he just speeds up and speeds up and speeds up when I keep asking, so I won't keep going in a bad direction trying to do that.

Now, all I do is go in a figure eight, and neck rein him in the other direction where he switches it. Previously, I used to flex his head in the direction I wanted to go to change his lead, and press my foot in that direction.
     

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