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RC: Bits I use at rides...

I'm an endurance wannabe so I can only contribute the experience I've had with
bits/hackamores I've had at home.  My quarter horse gelding did just fine with a
short shanked hackamore although he was started in a snaffle.  Lateral control
was no problem and we were progressing to collection and achieving a nice frame
at the walk and jog before I sold him.. never had a problem with running away..
he had the personality of a couch potato so he'd rather stand around rather than
investigate new things. :)

My new paso fino - arab mare has never had a bit in her mouth.  She's 6 years
old and I've been experimenting with different bitless bridles to see what works
best with her.  The Circle Y sidepull didn't work.. it was too small for her
face and dug into her nose.. I purchased an S-hack from Sporttack that I used
for a while but found that lateral control was very difficult.  I'd be asking
her from my seat, legs and hands to turn, and she'd just get confused from the
pressure on her nose telling her 'back'.  Now I'm using a Freedom Bridle
purchased from Marlene Moss.. and am having good results with it.  Better
lateral control, no problem with stopping, and being able to ride 'on contact'.
I've only had her for 2-3 months and she hasn't taken off on me (knock wood) but
her personality doesn't seem to be that way from what I can see so far.  I
haven't taken her to the hyped up atmosphere of a ride start so i can't say how
she'll react there.. but we're working on 'controlled energy' right now so we
can be prepared for it when it comes (one of the things I'm most nervous about
as an endurance newbie)  :)

& Isabella Mari

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