Sidepull vs Bosal
So it has been a couple weeks since getting Scars back under saddle. I've always used a bosal on her and never had a problem with it. I've never felt like I don't have control with it. But after my trainer came out he suggested a sidepull.
I've never used a sidepull so I'm curious on what the benefits are vs the bosal. How would it help her? What would it do that the bosal doesn't? I'm hesitant to change because we both are happy with the bosal, but if a sidepull would be better for her then I'll make the change.
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I don't really like side pulls at all, never have. I just find you can't get as good of a response with a side pull as with a bosal, I hold them in the same category I do rope haters, they cant always give a clear signal...
But what should it do "better" or "different"? He suggested it after she spooked at a loud car passed and she jumped about 3 feet to the side he said a sidepull would be good so I could pull her head around easier when she spooks. But I didnt have a problem calming her down and I never felt like I had lost contril
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I use a bosal and have used a side pull. I didn't like the side pull at all so it is now sitting in the tackshed unused. I have found the bosal gives a really clear signal to my horse whereas the side pull seems to be nowhere near as good. I really don't understand why your trainer would think you have more control or otherwise in a side pull. You can certainly pull the horses head around very easily in a bosal. Maybe ask him to explain his reasons and go from there. However if your horse is comfortable and easy controlled in a bosal, I can see no reason to change.
The fit is important. You don't want it sloppy and sliding around on the face.
To me the difference is similar to a curb vs. a snaffle. The bosal is designed for pressure and release. You should ride with a loose rein and use the bosal for cues, then release the pressure immediately when the horse responds. Cues are bump/release, not steady. The sideways cues are not as direct because the reins connect underneath the horse's chin. So basically it is used for western style riding.
A sidepull (and I'm not talking about ones with rough, chafing nosebands) can be used more like a snaffle. It is designed so you can have a light, constant pressure on the reins without numbing a horse's face. Pulling on one rein pulls the horse's head more directly to the side. In my experience a horse that has been ridden only in a bosal does not understand snaffle cues as well as one ridden only in a sidepull.
A reason someone might suggest a sidepull is if your horse seems to have difficulty learning lateral flexion in the bosal. Or if you do not feel secure on a looser rein.
A bosal used without release can be frightening for a horse or else they can lean on it and it will become less useful than having string on their face.
I've never used a bosal. I used a sidepull for about 3 years. In my case, I switched to a snaffle. Why?
My mare is pretty excitable. I need enough communication with her to keep her calm so she doesn't get excited enough to bolt in the first place. And if a horse does bolt, a sidepull makes stopping tough. If you don't have enough room to make circles, then you need to brute force pull. I've done it in a sidepull, and I've also taken the hair off of my mare's face doing it. A snaffle sometimes allows me to re-establish a connection and calm her down, or to do a pulley stop in an emergency.
I've thought about getting a leather sidepull. I've also thought about trying a bosal, but I don't know anyone who uses them and I'm not sure how I would train her for one.
I will bookmark this thread for more reading, because I'd like to learn more about using bosals.
I've used / use both depending on the situation or horse. It's hard for me to explain in writing, so bare with me.
I use the sidepull on horses that have a bad "taste" for any bit (i.e. someone was heavy handed / used the wrong bit, etc.) to get them used to someone with quiet hand asking for the ask / release without them fighting it by attacking the bit. Ex: a horse HATED any bit, roller, copper, sweet iron, german snaffle, dee, etc. even with real quiet hands any time there was the slightest contact with the bit she's try to chew it to pieces, try to flip it, and so on. So I'd spend more time trying to get her attention away from that, than what I wanted to work on. I switched to a side pull, and within a few rides, she had basically relearned the pressure / release without having the bit as a distraction. After that I was able to move back to a snaffle with A LOT less issues. I then tried a bosal after all that, and she didn't care for it.
Another horse, a side pull just wasn't getting the message thru his thick skull to give into the pressure, so I moved to a bosal. Worked GREAT, he needed the pressure on his chin to get the message rather than the top of his nose (whatever that bone is called, can't remember right now).
All the horses I've used either on, transition nicely into the snaffle and then the curb.
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