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Would you ride in a bitless dressage test?

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  • #21
    I wouldn't.

    I have yet to meet a horse that could not learn to go nicely in a bit.

    Comment


    • #22
      Originally posted by Foxtrot's View Post
      Is there ever a substitute for that feeling of the horse balanced and light in your hands with the mouth softly answering? It is kind of majical.
      Sure there is - the feeling of your horse being light without a bit in his mouth. It, too, is kind of a wonderful feeling.

      I'm no anti-bit person, and I'm no bitless bridle fanatic. I'm a fan of what works for the horse. I've done both and I've seen the value in both. I think it is just too bad that the sport is narrow-minded enough that it doesn't allow for the possibility that some horses, for whatever reason, go better bitless (I've known horses with jaw injuries, poor mouth conformation, or just generally small mouths with fat tongues). I'm sure we'd see a lot fewer gaping mouths, wringing tails, crank nosebands if bitless were allowed.

      Sure, the ideal is that everyone has soft and lovely hands and the horses are all willing and light in the bridle. But for whatever reason, that isn't always the case, and it is too bad that some people are left out of the fun of the competition because they choose to do right by what their horse needs.
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      • #23
        I have competed a great deal in junior horse classes with a proper bosal and mecate. Good way to start young horses. But then they grow up and need to demonstrate their acceptance of the bridle. And the rider needs to demonstrate their ability to ride with one.

        I always found it EASIER to ride with the bosal than a bit. Once the bit is inroduced it requires a great deal more sensitivity, balance, and communication between horse and rider.

        Comment


        • #24
          Originally posted by MysticOakRanch View Post
          Nope, wouldn't ride in it - but I don't have a problem with adding bitless classes at schooling shows. Just wouldn't personally choose that option - I've only seen one horse in my life that couldn't learn to go well w/ a bit and that was due to some abusive riding he experienced (they used him as a school horse without ever doing dental work - he had big wolf teeth and came to associate bit w/ pain).

          I think it is like western dressage - could be a separate division, but can NOT be included in the same classes as regular dressage. I would have a definite problem w/ a rule change that allowed bitless bridles in regular dressage classes though!
          I think the differences between dressage and a bitless test is smaller than the differences between Western Dressage and USDF dressage at the moment. WD's relationship to Dressage is separate can of worms, but the patterns in the tests alone make it sufficiently different.

          I know that dressagists really care about acceptance of the bit. But I don't see why acceptance of the bit or acceptance of the "face equipment" can't be legitimate synonyms. Just because most horses can be trained to go in bits, and the bit is a traditional piece of equipment doesn't mean that we should care if all horses use their mind and body the right way in relationship to that one tool. Getting the horse to use his mind and body the right way is the goal. The reason to limit abusive equipment is clear. Limiting unorthodox equipment for the sake of being conservative isn't so clear to me.
          The armchair saddler
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          • #25
            Originally posted by Pocket Pony View Post
            But why? I guess I don't understand what so many people have against bitless? I don't currently ride bitless, but I have in the past, and my horse was much more comfortable in it. Rules have changed to new products on the market to be accepted (presumably for the horse's comfort - thinking some Myler bits and the Rein-Aid reins as examples), why the anti-bitless? Some horses just are more comfortable that way.

            .
            Bitless isn't new equipment - bosals and sidepulls have been around longer then dressage has been around! I have NO problem with people riding bitless, but it is easier - one reason some western disciplines start young horses in bosals - it is easier, less resistance from the horse, less skill by the rider, easier for both horse and rider. So - it would essentially be like doing the sitting trot while holding a saddle horn - easier on everyone, but not a fair advantage. And - I do feel part of dressage is acceptance of the bit - of contact - because that is a test of both horse training and rider skill. Acceptance of face equipment is not equivalent! They need to be separate divisions for my comfort level.

            Originally posted by mvp View Post
            I think the differences between dressage and a bitless test is smaller than the differences between Western Dressage and USDF dressage at the moment. WD's relationship to Dressage is separate can of worms, but the patterns in the tests alone make it sufficiently different.

            I know that dressagists really care about acceptance of the bit. But I don't see why acceptance of the bit or acceptance of the "face equipment" can't be legitimate synonyms. Just because most horses can be trained to go in bits, and the bit is a traditional piece of equipment doesn't mean that we should care if all horses use their mind and body the right way in relationship to that one tool. Getting the horse to use his mind and body the right way is the goal. The reason to limit abusive equipment is clear. Limiting unorthodox equipment for the sake of being conservative isn't so clear to me.
            As I point out above, it isn't "unorthodox" or "new" equipment - bitless has been around forever (think bosal). Acceptance of the bit and ability to ride and show that acceptance (with forward energy to the bit) is one of the basic skills of dressage. I see GOOD western dressage as demonstrating some of that too - of course, it isn't all good (whether western or English). In many disciplines, showing appropriate acceptance of the bit is part of the goal of the discipline - all have different IDEAS about what constitutes acceptance (dressage has much more contact, for example, then Hunter Pleasure), but all require that in a finished horse.

            Comment


            • #26
              Originally posted by mvp View Post
              I think the differences between dressage and a bitless test is smaller than the differences between Western Dressage and USDF dressage at the moment. WD's relationship to Dressage is separate can of worms, but the patterns in the tests alone make it sufficiently different.

              I know that dressagists really care about acceptance of the bit. But I don't see why acceptance of the bit or acceptance of the "face equipment" can't be legitimate synonyms. Just because most horses can be trained to go in bits, and the bit is a traditional piece of equipment doesn't mean that we should care if all horses use their mind and body the right way in relationship to that one tool. Getting the horse to use his mind and body the right way is the goal. The reason to limit abusive equipment is clear. Limiting unorthodox equipment for the sake of being conservative isn't so clear to me.
              The acceptance of the bit comes from the body. And a horse who is letting its rider hold it up by a sidepull is pretty obvious, pretty much on its forehand, and easy for a judge to discern. I agree that to me they aren't so different.

              I wouldn't care if bitless were allowed with specific rules regarding what can be used. No crossing straps which tighten, no shanks or leverage (no bosals.) Basically, simple sidepulls which require the same out of the horse's body as a bit to communicate and move well. I think having a separate show or class for this is silly, and would rather just see it allowed at a schooling circuit if you truly wanted to allow it.
              Originally posted by Silverbridge
              If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.

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              • #27
                @ MysticOakRanch

                Check out the threads on vaquero-ing it in Western re: the skill required to ride in a bosal. It doesn't sound easier to me. You need a lot of feel, timing and willingness to let go often.

                In Western World if the spade bit (or any shanked, signal bit) is you goal, then yes, the more advanced horse should show an educated relationship with a bit in his mouth.

                But insofar as snaffles aren't really signal bits, I don't see why traditional dressage cares so much about the equipment on the face that the horse softens to.

                Meh. I think this is one more of those things about dressage that you believe in or don't.
                The armchair saddler
                Politically Pro-Cat

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                • #28
                  I have a 26 year old mare for whom bitting has become problematic because she has lost a couple incisors and a foremost premolar on one side resulting in a extremely asymmetric interdental space and no way to create a proper bit seat. I've been fantasizing putting her back into work to do one of those "century" classes in 3 years-- if we get to 30+70=100-- and would love riding her in a plain halter + reins of some kind attached to the side rings as an option. I've sometimes ridden her casually with halter and leadrope, and had an old TB I lost in 2005 at the age of 30 who I rode tackless so often that he eventually went as well bareback with halter as he did in any bit: flying changes (down to 3's), halfpass, figure 8's, transitions, .. all with flexed poll, and gentle foam-producing chewing precisely as on a real bit, and the feeling in my hands much the same.

                  Of course, another big question will be if I can still ride like that at 67-- let alone 70 !

                  FWIW, I attended a demonstration of Dr. Cook's bridle several years ago and disliked it for the same reasons I've been glad to see mentioned here.
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                  • #29
                    Originally posted by netg View Post
                    The acceptance of the bit comes from the body. And a horse who is letting its rider hold it up by a sidepull is pretty obvious, pretty much on its forehand, and easy for a judge to discern. I agree that to me they aren't so different.

                    I wouldn't care if bitless were allowed with specific rules regarding what can be used. No crossing straps which tighten, no shanks or leverage (no bosals.) Basically, simple sidepulls which require the same out of the horse's body as a bit to communicate and move well. I think having a separate show or class for this is silly, and would rather just see it allowed at a schooling circuit if you truly wanted to allow it.
                    Leverage on a bosal? That certainly is a new concept. You must not use the ones designed by the good bosal makers.

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      [QUOTE=pook;7016205]
                      Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
                      Huh.


                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5XUq56P_I0&

                      I agree that it a superb rider and a wonderful horse. I would like to see a closeup of what kind of bridle it is and how it is adjusted.If if stop-frame the video, it appears that the horse also has a flash from the noseband to around the lower jaw.
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                      • #31
                        To simply answer the question, yes I may consider doing a first level test to see how well my seat and legs work and if my horse can do it. It would be fun. I wouldn't train consistently without a bit for sake of "correct" contact, but what the heck, schooling shows are for schooling and fun.

                        I think enough people would also want to do it and there is a demand. Go for it. It really doesn't matter what other peoples' reasons are for not agreeing with bitless riding, if a schooling show has the option, then they don't have to do it.

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by mjhco View Post
                          Leverage on a bosal? That certainly is a new concept. You must not use the ones designed by the good bosal makers.
                          Bosal:
                          http://bitlessriding.org/wp/wp-conte...2/11/bosal.jpg

                          I can think of no way it's physically possibly to not have leverage given the fact it's essentially built as a lever.... it's basic physics.

                          By comparison, the bitless in the Le Noir picture has rein rings near the headstall attachment, making pressure direct. A bosal, you pull on the reins, and the top of the nose moves down while pressure is exerted on the temple simply due to the design. It's why when good western trainers start a young horse with contact they use a snaffle and without they use either snaffle or bosal. It's also why poorly fitting bosals can leave such rubs.
                          Originally posted by Silverbridge
                          If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            Originally posted by TickleFight View Post
                            I wouldn't.

                            I have yet to meet a horse that could not learn to go nicely in a bit.
                            Well, my trakehner had a thick tongue and a low palate. I must have tried 25 bits and he wasn't comfortable in any of them (my trainer was involved in the process). When I started him bitless he gave a huge sigh of relief. Without a bit he immediately relaxed and would stay "in the bridle" with a connection.

                            I also recently re-started an OTTB for CANTER. He had more issues with his mouth than any horse I've ever worked with. I suspect he'd had his tongue tied as a racehorse and didn't like it. With bit in his mouth he would refuse to go forward and if he did, he was constantly mouthing it and/or grinding his teeth.

                            I took him bitless and he was much happier. He might eventually be able to transition back to a bit but even just putting a bit in his mouth and riding off the side rings made him anxious.

                            I haven't found a horse that likes the Dr. Cook's bridle. Obviously they are popular so they must work for some horses but mine didn't like the poll pressure (I tried it on four horses). I ride in an LG bridle or in a Micklem bridle configured as a sidepull. The LG gives you the option for some light curb pressure.

                            And yes, I would ride in a bitless test.
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                            • #34
                              Originally posted by netg View Post
                              Bosal:
                              http://bitlessriding.org/wp/wp-conte...2/11/bosal.jpg

                              I can think of no way it's physically possibly to not have leverage given the fact it's essentially built as a lever.... it's basic physics.

                              By comparison, the bitless in the Le Noir picture has rein rings near the headstall attachment, making pressure direct. A bosal, you pull on the reins, and the top of the nose moves down while pressure is exerted on the temple simply due to the design. It's why when good western trainers start a young horse with contact they use a snaffle and without they use either snaffle or bosal. It's also why poorly fitting bosals can leave such rubs.
                              based on YOUR experience with training many horses with the bosal, are you using this picture as a good example of fit and application?

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Well, I wouldn't ride in a bitless class... Not because I take a moral stance on the issue, it simply doesn't affect me.

                                I ride in same bits that I show in. I have no need for a bitless class. Same as I ride in dressage classes, so I have no need for a western dressage class. Offer it, it wouldn't bother me any more than offering Intro A for adults.

                                Worst case senario is that you (the show) has to provide ribbons/prizes for one extra class.

                                Best case senario is that you are overwhelmed with entries and make a profit at a horse show

                                Most likely, you'll have one entry, maybe none- that's what's happened the first year our 'local' schooling show offered western dressage.

                                Personally, if it were my schooling show and I wanted to offer a bitless option, I would just have a written rule on the show flyer/entry that bitless bridles are allowed to compete in any class. That limits the number of classes and as long as you clearly state what is permissible and what isn't, seems to simplify things.

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Absolutely! I can do 4th Level movements on my horse in a bitless bridle!
                                  Enough with the drama!

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by mjhco View Post
                                    based on YOUR experience with training many horses with the bosal, are you using this picture as a good example of fit and application?
                                    I'm using that picture as an example of what a bosal is. And using my knowledge of physics to explain it. It was picture #1 on a google search.
                                    Originally posted by Silverbridge
                                    If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      This is a timely topic for me! I always trail ride/endurance ride in an S-hackamore but never thought to do arena work with it. Well, I had my trailer in the repair shop recently and had left my bridle with the bit in it. I reluctantly used the S-hackamore when I was schooling dressage (training/1st level) and was amazed at how much better my mare went- how much more "on the bit" she was! More forward, more impulsion. I even started to jump in it and just did a 2'6" jumpers division at a schooling show. I think the only time I will use a bit is for dressage shows. I don't think it would have worked well for my old Tb. but I am so happy that I happened upon it for my mare, just by chance!

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        I would love it!! My horse is admittedly a jumper but we dabble in dressage for fun. I took him to a local schooling show who allowed me to show him in my sidepull and jumper saddle. We scored a 66% on 1st level test 2
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                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by LookmaNohands View Post
                                          I actually don't care much for Dr. Cook's. I don't like the fact that you need to tighten the noseband for it to work. Mine gathers dust. I have two of the common shanked variety and one that I created with the help of my farrier that I am using for flat and jumping on one horse. I have two kinds of side pulls and have researched bitless options quite a lot. There are many different kinds out there of the non-western variety.

                                          I know plenty of people whose horses go nicely bitless and I think it is time to offer a class for them. You can argue whether it is "dressage" or not but I think that if the interest is there, why not have a class?
                                          To be honest, I don't care either way. But isn't a schooling show supposed to prepare the competitor's for a rated show. In which you'd be required to use a bit? I guess I fail to understand the point. If you want a judge's comments, sign up for a ride-a-test clinic.

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