Slowing from fast work when trialling a bitless. Any suggestions?

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Slowing from fast work when trialling a bitless. Any suggestions?

Post by PiePony on Wed Nov 05, 2008 1:37 pm

So far, stopping from fast work in a bitless is not something I have encountered. My 3 year old is still learning in hand and in long lines with his cross under. My old horses only had a short period before retirement going bitless and seemed fine both bitted, ridden in a headcollar or in a bitless, so it will help to know what you do before I have this problem crop up if it is likely to.

Two people who I would have encouraged to go bitless have reported all fine at slow paces and turns when trialling Dr. Cooks bridles, yet both have had problems slowing from faster work in the bitless bridles.

I know there are horses going xc and probably some horses in race training will be bitless on the gallops. I ask because I don't have the experience to offer help in this situation.
Both of their horses would listen and slow on a cross country course or out with drag hounds if they wore their bits, so is there an exercise or training for transition or should they just stick to the bits they feel safe with???

Thanks Susie xx PiePony
avatar
PiePony

Posts : 16
Join date : 2008-10-14

Back to top Go down

Re: Slowing from fast work when trialling a bitless. Any suggestions?

Post by saddlechariot on Wed Nov 05, 2008 1:57 pm

This is a question I hear again and again, and I think you need to look at what you are asking and what you are expecting. This sounds really rude, so first can I say "brilliant, you are trying bitless!!!" which puts you miles above all those who won't even try.
A bitless bridle won't stop a bolting horse, but then nor will a bit. My Henry bolts as his idea of entertainment, but without malice, so not a true bolt, he just spins 180 degrees and accelerates to a flat gallop which makes driving him really good fun. I have to persuade him I actually want to do small careful circles and he then bolts little realising that actually I really wanted him to gallop. I just can't totally predict where we will go.
He was barely stoppable in a French link snaffle, and totally unsteerable. With a Myler he was steerable at a gallop and alomost stoppable. With a Dr Cook he was about the same, maybe a little more steerable and with Be Kind he is steerable accurately and I can stop him. We were mucking about in central Birmingham and he cut loose and I could steer and stop him.
But if he was terrified in a blind panic, I could put razor wirte in his mouth and it wouldn't stop him. So you are looking at a training issue. If you do lots of long reining, where a one rein stop is pretty effective as you can lunge them round you, and get friends to come out and do stupid things with umbrellas or whatever, you can learn what control you have. But please remember that any bit that will "STOP" a horse, if it is scared, has to be even scarier.
Good luck and well done for trying.
Simon
avatar
saddlechariot

Posts : 8
Join date : 2008-11-03
Age : 62
Location : Newcastle UK

http://naturaldriving.co.uk/content_2scuk.php

Back to top Go down

Re: Slowing from fast work when trialling a bitless. Any suggestions?

Post by bohohorse on Wed Nov 05, 2008 3:51 pm

Hi PP,

My answer to this is always the same too: the cue that stops the horse is the one that he both understands and respects. In the early stages of trialling bitless, the horse might not quite understand what is expected. Also, when the pace in increased, so does emotion. So even if they do understand AND normally respect, then it can go out of the window a bit as the pace increases!

I would suggest:
As is the case with most things, make sure the foundations are strong. Practice downward and upward transitions, rein back, giving the head to each side, disengaging the HQ's, one rein stops. Get it imprinted indelibly into the little horse brain - much easier than trying to deal with the massive heavy body!

Practice working independently of the reins as much as possible. In a safe place, drop them and try stopping, turning and reining back with your weight and body language only. Try 'relaxing' to a stop or 'thinking' to a stop. The aim is to use the reins for refinement only.

Lastly (the hard part) forget the idea that the bit acts somehow like the brakes on a car - providing an equal and opposite force to the horses forward motion. We can't hope to provide a force to match the horses, unless we run him into a wall. Feeling safe without a bit requires a paradigm shift in the mind of the rider but when it happens you never want to look back.

Just come home from a gridwork session with the Z. The instructor is great, very enlightened. It's the second one we've been to. Tonight the instructor commented that she'd noticed that on the last session the bitless horses - Z and my friends horse Echo - had been beautifully behaved and under control. Whereas the other horses who were severely bitted, with flashes and martingales had been stressed, difficult to control and impossible to persuade to jump slowly. We had to confess that we'd noticed that too and had a little giggle about it!. And believe me, our horses are no slouches - Zeno looooves his galloping trail rides with the Gloucestershire cowboy (our YO Laughing ) but he's still in his BB for them.

Lots of practice and don't give up I'd say Very Happy
avatar
bohohorse

Posts : 139
Join date : 2008-08-08
Location : UK

http://stores.ebay.co.uk/BohoHorse

Back to top Go down

Re: Slowing from fast work when trialling a bitless. Any suggestions?

Post by Sydney on Wed Nov 05, 2008 4:21 pm

I agree with the above but when I was training a pony this summer she was being all rubber necked about turning at anything faster than a walk.

I used cones, lots and lots and lots of cones. I weaved in and out of them and what do you know she turns like a champ now.

Also something I found works and is very useful for any horse: when turning instead of using rein, then following wit leg try it in the reverse order: leg then rein. It might take a wile for your horse to get it but it sure helps when you have a horse reluctant to turn.
avatar
Sydney

Posts : 292
Join date : 2008-08-10
Age : 29
Location : Harrow Ontario Canada

http://www.nurturalhorse.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Slowing from fast work when trialling a bitless. Any suggestions?

Post by PiePony on Wed Nov 05, 2008 5:03 pm

Thank you, I will email the link of this thread in the hope that the ladies may give it a full trial.

I was wondering if sometimes it is that the fitting is incorrect, the noseband may need adjustment and is fitted slightly differently to a normal bridle. If it is too low or too high it will cause problems. Dan was happier in his when I punched an extra hole in the noseband as the first time he tried it on it was a 1/2 inch too low.

I agree with BohoHorse
Feeling safe without a bit requires a paradigm shift in the mind of the rider but when it happens you never want to look back.
Zeno is fine without his bridle or headcollar and knows how to balance without his head too high or too low when carrying you, so to add a refinement of reins, I am not surprised the Instructor is impressed, you are an impressive pair.

Sydney, your suggestion makes sense for me, because I am working with a 3 year old, so lots of cones, poles, turns and eventually leg before hand will help him to understand what it is I am asking.
For the girls trialling bitless who are happy hacking out in a bit, they may feel it is pointless to endanger themselves or their horses, or a child on a lead rein pony and I expect they will go back to using what they already trust their horses to stop in.

Simon, your little Henry is a wonderful chap, what a jolly hard working, happy pony he is. BohoHorse and me both managed to take his picture at the EMW Shropshire Open Day. Give Henry a virtual carrot and polo for me.
Susie xx PiePony
avatar
PiePony

Posts : 16
Join date : 2008-10-14

Back to top Go down

Re: Slowing from fast work when trialling a bitless. Any suggestions?

Post by bohohorse on Wed Nov 05, 2008 11:37 pm

It's completely understandable to want to be safe and it IS hard to make that mental shift, especially when the horse is going doggedly forward and you are starting to doubt the whole idea...!

Something occurred to me as I was going to bed after posting - I know some people who have ridden with the bitless bridle under their normal bitted bridle when hacking or doing fast work to start with. Then they ride on the bitless rein and only pick up the bitted rein if they feel nervous. So it's a bit of a 'safety net'. No-one is saying that you can't ease yourself (and your horse) into it. Or for that matter, never bit again. When I tried hacking bitless it was with the intent of slowly reintroducing a bit via a combi bit. Then I thought I'd hack and jump bitless and school bitted. But as the time passed, I just became less and less inclined to bit again.

Adjustment can be a factor, you are quite right. With the crossunders I always go higher than recommended as I am afraid of pressing on the soft area of the nose. Also the Dr Cook is of course not the only bitless bridle. I started in one and it does a fine job but for most riding we use sidepulls now.

Don't know if we looked all that impressive after about 40 mins of jumping last night when Z decided he'd had enough and had a mini tantrum Laughing Hopefully will have some video or stills to add to the gallery later (of the jumping not the tantrum!)
avatar
bohohorse

Posts : 139
Join date : 2008-08-08
Location : UK

http://stores.ebay.co.uk/BohoHorse

Back to top Go down

Re: Slowing from fast work when trialling a bitless. Any suggestions?

Post by FlorayG on Fri Nov 14, 2008 6:46 am

Yes it's all in the mind. If your friends can stop with a bit they can stop without one - if they really believe it! I would say they probably CAN'T stop in a bit, not what anyone on this forum would call a stop, they just haul and haul until they get a result by force, If that is so, they need some retraining to work their horses well.
I rode Dancing with a bitless and a bitted together for ages, it's all in the mind, I bet I never touched the bit reins once but I was pleased in my mind to have them! That's worth a go for them, also will give their horses the idea maybe.
avatar
FlorayG

Posts : 296
Join date : 2008-08-09

Back to top Go down

Re: Slowing from fast work when trialling a bitless. Any suggestions?

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum