Like smrobs, I believe that bitless has it's place. I love bits on the majority of horses, I feel like there's a lightness (at least when you're working with contact to the bit, without contact, bitless and bitted are pretty similar, imo) that can be had there that you just can't get with a bitless setup.
However, some horses, like my mare (like smrobs said, I feel loved! :) ), have medical issues that necessitate a bitless existence.
I find that as a rider, having Lacey bitless has encouraged me to grow more in my riding abilities than I would have if I could still use a bit. I find I rely a lot less on my hands and a lot more on my legs/seat to communicate with her since I know that if she were to choose to ignore me, she totally could. And, I find myself taking good risks, like riding in a halter with the lead rope as a single rein, because I know that I do have control, bit or no bit. And, by taking those sorts of risks, I basically cement the bond of trust my horse and I have because she knows, in a her horsey way, that I'm trusting her to behave and since she does behave, I'm learning that I can trust her, really no matter what.
It was definitely scary the first few times I rode her bitless, just because of my own worries about controlling her, but now there's nothing I would hesitate to do bitless. I mean, I stopped her from running away with me using purely my voice once because as I found out, when the horse is resisting to a high degree, "Indian Bosal"s stop having a whole lot of control. Haha! We were on this big open plain and I asked her to canter but the lil Missy decided that it was time to be a pretty Ayrab and stick her head and tail WAY up in the air and book it. I realized pretty quickly that I had absolutely no control so as a last resort I yell-growled "LACEY! EASY!" at her and miraculously, she flicked an ear to me and started slowing down immediately. I thought for sure I was going to die that day but she taught me that I can and should trust her with my life, and that just wouldn't have happened if she had had a bit in her mouth.
And there's always the caveat that some horses just do not like the kind of pressure bitless options inflict, so you should watch out for that. But, in any case, have fun! :)
Also, I'm with everyone else, instant collection is probably not going to happen. Perhaps her horse felt more relaxed with the bitless thingy and developed a prettier headset, but headset doesn't equal collection and since a lot of people don't realize that, it could have been an honest mistake. But yeah, instant collection is not likely.
Fabio - 13 year old Arab/QH gelding
Hazel - 14 year old Angora goat
Atticus - 4 year old LaMancha/Alpine cross goat
Rest peacefully, Lacey.
Last edited by Wallaby; 03-17-2011 at 02:03 AM.