42 Zoe Brooks email@example.com Maryland Horse World Expo 2011 Pg. 7 Sydney Kotow: http://www.bitlesshorseblog.com/ As a species the human race has made leaps and bounds in evolution in merely decades.
However with horses we seem to stand still.
The bit was effectively in use around the time Genghis Khan ruled.
He was a cruel, barbaric ruler who thought very little of hurting others.
This was also a time us humans believed the world was completely flat! If we have outdated things like cruel training practices, painful blistering of a horses legs to make him “sound” and even in recent times soaring why do we continue to use something that obviously at one point or another causes a horse pain and distress? I do think the rules will change and they are.
When bitless was mentioned before people thought it was something a well trained horse could only be capable of.
Now more and more people are training with their heads rather than brute force they realize horses are not all out to gallop away with us the second we take away a false sense of control.
This day and age it is a much better time for the horse as he is used mostly for recreation and seldom called upon to do real work.
People wanting to ride bitless are those that want to understand the horse as a partner and not a tool we can force into doing what we wish.
They want to better themselves as riders and their horses as members of the equine community.
Riders who ride bitless find they need more seat and legs and less hand, for riding the horse should not be about tugging a rein left, right or back and having the horse follow for that only engages your arms and his front end, not both of your bodies as a whole.
I don’t think people know enough about bits, rather than bitless bridles.
They do not look at the anatomy of the horses head, lips, mouth, surrounding tissues and most importantly the nerves that bits can cause pain on in the horses face.
The horses mouth is arguably the most sensitive part of his body.
With a lip that can pick tiny blades of grass out amongst rocks and dirt the horse can feel a lot more than we know.
By placing a bit as a solid, usually metal object in his mouth we are not only compromising his comfort but his health when so many riders do not look at what type of bit would be most suited to what mouth and face conformation.
Teeth become eroded or even fractured, nerves are pressed upon causing pain or at the very least discomfort.
It’s a proven fact that a horse learns and retains a lesson better when taught by positive reinforcement rather than negative though both are very important tools of horsemanship.
I think if people knew more about bits there would be less people using them.
Having said that and answered many, many questions about bitless because I have driven, ridden and trained horses ages 2 to 21 this year one of the most common questions after” will my horse stop” is will he go “on the bit”.
The riders asking this are the ones who do not understand the concept of collection.
Collection is when the horse actively engages himself from his hind end, lifts his back and breaks at the poll, driving himself from his hind end forward and engaging every muscle in his body.
Proper collection takes a long time to achieve with a horse because muscle and strength must be built.
What most riders want is “breaking at the poll” AKA- on the bit, on the vertical or as some people wrongly believe but is not, collection.
A horse that is flexing vertically (breaking at the poll) has learned to give to the pressure of the bridle, be it bit in his mouth or pressure on his nose from a bitless bridle.
A horse that is flexing vertically and does not have the rest of his body engaged is usually on the forehand, not engaging his hind end with a hollow back.
His other parts of the body are not engaged to properly drive him forward.
Having said that being “on the bit” is merely a headset, and not true collection but can indeed be taught to give to pressure as well as with a bit, only now we have to teach him with a bitless bridle, not force him with the pain of the bit in his mouth.
This is why so many riders have problems with a newly bitless horse being “on the bit”.
Every person I teach rides or drives bitless if they are using my horse.
Not one of them have ever had problems with control.
Horses used for lessons with learning riders that may do some harsh, unforgiving things on the horses mouth are now painless, creating confused signals yes, but pain which can lead to training problems and even the condition of learned helplessness, no.
I have found a bitless school horse needs far less tune ups than a bitted one, no matter how gentle the specific bit may be considered.
And as the famous Loriner (bit maker) Benjamin Latchford once said: “I frequently tell my friends that out of every twenty bits I make, nineteen are for men’s heads and not more than one really for the horse’s head.” Maryland Horse World Expo 2011 Pg. 8 Go bitless! by Kelly Howling Want to ride without a bit? Follow these tips to help your horse make the transition successfully and safely. T homas was incredibly resistant and sensitive to bits, right from the get-go.
Despite training, dental exams and the use of different bits, the New Forest gelding’s frustration went unresolved.
He would endlessly fight having the bit put in his mouth, and once it was in he was super sensitive to any rein movement.
He even resented certain types of rein attachments.
So his owners tried riding him in a bitless bridle.
It was a fairly easy transition, thanks to the groundwork they had already done with the pony, and Thomas was significantly happier.
Riding bitless rather than in a traditional bitted bridle is becoming more and more popular.
Through the process of helping riders make the transition, I have discovered the importance of several basic groundwork exercises to help ensure your first rides will be successful, and assist in more advanced under saddle work later on.
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