Sunday, August 3, 2008

To bit or not to bit

It's all about the gear! I go from saddle shopping to bridle shopping. I am riding and riding some more, I couldn't ask for a better summer. I have great riding partners on the trail and when working in the arena, I am seeing a lot of progress. I basically am doing Clinton Anderson drills and patterns in the arena, which entails lots of hind quarter yielding in various forms and lots of bending and flexing. She has gotten very soft and responsive to my seat and legs. I have been thinking a lot about transitioning her to a bit, but wondering why I need to. She is so soft with the halter, I am considering trying a bitless bridle or bosal at some point. Two years ago, I never would have dreamed of riding out on the property let alone trails without a bit, but her training with the rope halter has made her so soft. I have some people telling me not to give up on the idea of a bit. Maybe a bit and bridle will give me better results??? Just wondering what my fellow bloggers think about bit or no bit?

19 comments:

OnTheBit said...

Well in dressage you are not allowed to compete without a bit...that being said I know plenty of riders who prefer to do trail riding without a bit and then put one on for lessons and shows. I think that if she is going so well without a bit you really should just stick with what works. So my vote for you is no bit for right now.

~Dawn~ said...

I also say no bit right now. The two of you are developing trust and that will be a part of your relationship forever. It sounds like you are both comfortable with the halter...Save the bit for when you are ready to get serious about competing.

Grey Horse Matters said...

I'm of the opinion that if it's working for you right now and you and your horse are happy. Why change it and maybe take the chance of things changing. Riding is about enjoying yourself, you seem to be doing just that, so if I were you I'd keep the status quo.

Callie said...

I'd stick with a bitless bridle if it's working. If it aint broke don't fix it!

Savvy Horse said...

Just wanted to say I started to read your blog a little while ago and thought I would pipe in... I ride my four year old mare in my Parelli hackamore, on the trail and in the arena while I would take my dressage lessons I would switch to the snaffle with no problems. The only difference that I found is the collection which isn't important if your just riding for fun, and she seems to like having the halter better. She responds just as well and is just as fun to ride, I'm sure if its working good for you two then why not just leave it for now.

20 meter circle of life said...

Well if you have decided to not do dressage at this time then I think you will be fine. I did take the bit away from Tonka and he is doing fine, now if I get more serious with him then its back to the bit he goes!!
BTW can you make it to Devonwood to meet Beth from the Dog and Pony show. Email for details dq4abu@gmail.com.
Oh yes I met Kacy the other day, what a gem! We love her!!

Flying Lily said...

I love riding my horses in a rope halter, not really a hackamore, just the halter itself with some rein attachment rings on the sides. I have to think it's cooler for them -- and softer all around. So go for what works -- horse opinions are so numerous and contradictory.

Kathy C said...

I agree with the rest, you seem to be developing such a good bond without the bit, you might just hold off until you really feel the need for it.

Again, I must say how happy I am that things have worked out for you and your horse. All those months waiting have been worth it, no?

Pony Girl said...

My mom rode her gelding in a mechanical hackamore when she first got him, because that is what his previous owner used. But, my mom's barn was into Parelli so she started using a Parelli hackamore on him. He was mostly responsive but a little stubborn sometimes. Then my mom switched barns again and nobody at the new place could believe she was not using a bit! So now that trainer has him in a snaffle. Sigh. I guess it depends on what works for the horse and rider. If a horse is just as responsive and in control in a hackamore, then use a hackamore! More power to you, I say! ;)

allhorsestuff said...

Second try. . .
Well Jules,
It is like most others have mentioned..
You and Maddy are having such a nice trusting and controled attitude out and about on the trails and inside the arena as well.You and she are together in most all ways! It is just about what you will to do.
You have found another way to develope her topline and lengthen her from the ground and when you wish to do so atop her..you know what to do!
The bit is NOT evil and lately with my passanger "session" and one rein stoping or yielding...man, I have been awestuck with the softer connection I have now. (With the bit)That has surprised me and I actually feel like my fingers are gently holding her lips now..she is letting me do that and the more rein I give the longer she goes..and n ot at all hanging but chewing it through! So thanks for that !
You will always do what is right for Maddy and she will trust what you choose, as you respect her and are light handed.
Bit or no bit...at this point, it truly does not matter.
XO~KK

Esther Garvi said...

Aw photogchic, your horse summer sounds amazing! I'm so happy for you! Sorry I have no two-pence of the bit/halter as I've only had bits here in Niger... However, if things are working well and you're both happy, why change?

Saddle Mountain Rider said...

I believe in the use of the snaffle bit. Soft hands - soft mouth, though. My Dad used mechanical hackamores on his trailhorses who didnt need a bit. But i like a snaffle in most cases. For direct reining, the ring or D-ring snaffle is a preference. But i have come to an appreciation of the Argentine snaffle, with its short shank, for most other riding.

Beth said...

Hey there!!! I would love to get a drink or TB with you!!!! I am flying in Tuesday the 12th (early afternoon arrival) and flying out Monday the 18th (early morning).

I am going to be at the show with Jewel Thursday through Sunday, so you can come down to the show if you want. I will need someone to entertain me!!!

Because my blog is private and only people that know me can get on it, I will post my cell # on it.

jdp said...

Glad to hear things are going so well with you and Maddy! I switched from a snaffle to Dr. Cook's Bitless Bridle with my quarter horse because his stops were inconsistent and there was an immediate change for the better. Stops right now, not four strides later, and seems to be really listening to all my cues. I'd highly recommend this bridle.

Beth said...

i thought i posted the info on here when I would be in Portland, but it is on the private blog, with my cell #. my travel cooridnator, jewel, and keeper of the itinerary can also help to set something up!!!

Hope to catch up with you while I am there!!!

Palomino Girl said...

You said you are following Clinton Anderson's methods, correct? Well he doesn't even start his horses in hackamores anymore. He goes straight for the snaffle. You never know what you're going to want to do with your horse later on, and snaffles transition nicely to other bits. Hackamores...not so much if no bit foundation is there. It won't hurt to try out a nice, gentle snaffle!

learninghorses said...

My bit thoughts-

I do all my behavior and partnership riding without a bit, I prefer it that way. If I want lightness, responsiveness I am riding in a rope halter. But when I am looking for precision and refinement, I use a bit. I really dislike disengaging the hind end with a bit, but i find it much more difficult to work on something that is much more specific with just the rope halter. Often, I have my horse carry the bit, ride with my halter and pick of the bit if I need something specific or vice versa.

Katee said...

This comment is coming pretty late to the party, but I'm sending it any way. I agree with everyone that if you are happy, stick with what you've got. In my opinion there are some things that require the nuance of a bit to teach, but if you are content with how she's going then stick to it.

Biscuit, with computer help from Emily said...

You may want to listen to Rick Lamb's interview with Patrick Hooks on vaquero training. He gives some really helpful info on using a bosal that I'd never heard before. Differences between a side pull (bitless bridle), a rope halter and a bosal are pretty clear, this may help you decide.