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Using a bosal on older horse

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  • Using a bosal on older horse

    Hi! I know most of the time Bosals are used for starting horses but I was wondering why people don't use Bosals on a middle aged horses who know the basics? My 15 year old gelding who knows all the basics does fine in a bit but my goal is to get him bitless for long distances. I've tried a side pull but he pushes through it. I thought a bosal might be a good middle ground but no one I know does this. What are your thoughts?
    Thanks again!

  • #2
    We started our colts in one, the rope nose kind, not the stiff rawhide ones and we use those all along, even in old horses.
    We made our own out of old grass rope for nose pieces.
    Pine Johnson, of Poco Bueno fame, is who started everyone using those in the early 1950's.
    They sell those today under galloping hackamores.

    Now, if your horse is running thru a side pull, it doesn't know to respond properly yet to rein aids.
    Putting any kind of bosal will not help, he will also run thru it.
    Educating him further to work from slight rein aids will.

    First picture on a three year old colt, a 13 year old and a five year old.
    Second picture on a four year old colt and 9 year old feral horse:

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    • #3
      I have used a bosal on 3 horses. All were 6 or older when I first used it. My one mare can't go in a bit (jaw issues), so at home I ride in a rope halter, and for trails or showing (western dressage), she shows in a bosal.

      My new mare, who goes very well in a snaffle, also goes well in a bosal, so I like using it when hacking out so she can snack, and if I show western dressage I also plan to use it on her.

      Interestingly, neither of the above horses like a side pull. For the first, I think it is how it hits her cheek bones, but for my other mare, I have no idea why she doesn't like the side pull, yet is fantastic in the bosal.

      I started using a bosal mostly because I wanted to try it, and add it to my skill list, (plus I like the look), but I continue to use it because it keeps me correct and light in my riding. It's an interesting tool.
      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

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      • #4
        Like any bit, a horse needs to be trained to understand and respond to it. So just putting a bosal or side pull on a horse will not work if the horse has net been trained for it. Just like a bit--if the horse runs through it, a stronger bit will not help. The horse must be trained to respect and respond to the bit.

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        • #5
          I don't find it ideal for times when I want to go bitless on the trail. It's harsher than a typical sidepull, so a sidepull is my go-to. Plus, I like the lateral control I have in a side pull. I start horses in snaffles, but show a lot of youngsters in bosals, so I use them a lot just not as a "let down" piece of headgear. That said, if you need more than the sidepull you might like it. Learn how to adjust them correctly, as I more often than not see them incorrectly fitted. School in one before you head out, as the feel of it is much different than a snaffle. Much more curb action.

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Ok! Thanks y'all! I'll hold off on the bosal for now.

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