Mustang : All major breed associations 4 H groups in Western Canada….

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Cleaning and show preparation - For the Horse Horses-store.comMustang : All major breed associations 4 H groups in Western Canada….

People have been riding with bits for thousands of years, why change? It is the status quo. Horses perform better with a bit Horseback riding is the most dangerous sport – with the most accidents or injuries AQHA does not allow bitless riding in shows for mature horses. You need to use a bit to ride your horse We will force our beliefs on others Organizations that allow bitless riding from the body, not the hands.

Natural horse people show that in addition to using the body, control comes from connection with the horse.

There is very little that we do today that we did 2000 years ago.

Status quo has not existed for thousands of years in very many situations.

Why the horse? Why the bit? As we evolve – why can’t we leave this behind too? In fact, the bit has not been shown to be an efficient or safe method of communication.

Initially, I thought to prove that horses performed the same with a bit as bitless.

But I could not.

You see, the majority of scientific studies on this matter have shown the “bitless riding provided a MUCH MORE CONTROLLED, SAFE and ACCURATE performance”.

One study by the Certified Horseman’s Association which I am familiar with took school horses which were never ridden bitless – and graded them on a two 4 min.

Performances with their horses in their normal bitted gear – then switched the horses – and had the same students ride the same horses in the same pattern.

None of the horses had received any “bitless training” and all horses performed significantly better and were more comfortable bitless.

In the Journal of Veterinary Behaviour, July 2009, Jessica Quicka and Amanda Warren-Smith found that “horses wearing bitless bridles performed at least as well as, if not better than, those in bitted bridles.” These experiments have been repeated, varied slightly and repeated again.

And the results remain the same.

But still people won’t listen.

This is not a myth – but true.

However, how many of these accidents were with bitless horses? More than 90% of the horses ridden in Canada are ridden with bits.

So it is safe to say that many of these accidents (probably at least 90%) occurred with bitted horses.

I have not seen any evidence to the contrary or that shows riding with a bit reduces accidents, etc.

While this is true, and they allow bitless riding with young horses, it’s odd, as many of the association publications promote bitless riding and even a recent article called “Fighting the Bit” talks about the many problems horses have accepting the bit.

They even say in the article that “Training horses is not difficult.

They are quite willing to perform any task they are capable of, so long as it does not cause them immediate pain.” Odd again though as all agree that the bit causes immediate pain.

I wonder why this doesn’t translate to trying bitless? I’m not sure.

The logic of using a bit just does not hold water and science does not support it.

But for some reason, this provokes an emotional response in people.

Perhaps they feel judged.

Perhaps they know it might be better to ride without a bit.

I’m not sure.

But they can do what they want – we prefer to ride bitless.

Logic and science supports it.

And our horses remain comfortable and respectful – so we see no reason to back down from our convictions.

We don’t care if others ride with a bit.

It’s their horse and their choice.

We hope they might consider riding bitless.

But the ultimate decision is between them and their horse.

We just want to be allowed to ride according to our personal convictions.

All major breed associations 4-H groups in Western Canada and parts of the US Equine Canada (but not in dressage yet – jumping and cross country is OK bitless) Hunter classes (called “unconventional tack”) Horse and Rider’s Lynn Palm (marks over 4 decades of riding bitless) North American Trail Riding Competition Canadian Cowgirls and other drill teams Spruce Meadows Battle of the Breeds Parelli shows and exhibitions Extreme Mustang Makeover The Road to the Horse Hidden Brook Farm students This is not an extensive list – but bitless is certainly catching on…

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