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Chelle Sherman email@example.com
OK - so I'm starting to come across as the queen guinea pig for new equestrian equipment, but I have something to share on the bitless bridle as well. I have been using one for a year on my young mare (6 this year), who was green broke when I got her. I have great results with it with her, but she is very good-natured and yields to pressure well in general. I have competed in it for a full year, and even do dressage lessons in it. Generally, she respects it very well, although during ringwork she will sometimes decide to put her head down and lean on it, which can be a bit annoying. She doesn't do this at all on the trail, so I just switch to a snaffle bit for lessons. I have tried it, briefly, on my other mare, who is 9 years old and was ridden and shown both English and Western for a couple of years. She was clearly confused by it, and this was the middle of Winter and we were just getting acquainted, so I decided to wait until we knew each other better to see if it would work for her. I'll be experimenting with it shortly, and I think that she will like it once she understands how to interpret the different type of pressure. I think that Marlene's comment is very true - it will work with a horse who, in general, has been taught to yield to pressure on his head and neck. If the horse has taught himself to stick his nose in the air and pull in response to pressure, it will not work. I also think that, like any new piece of equipment, it takes time to acclimate some horses. I would recommend using the martingale at first (this gives it more 'bite') and start in the ring. Like riding with any hackamore or sidepull, I think that technique is also important - a steady pull on the reins will only encourage the horse to lean or stick out his nose (not too different than with a bit) - I use a lot of half-halts and lateral aids when I need to get my mare's attention (and she does get strong at the start of a ride) - I really like the freedom of it, and the comfort for her to eat and drink. It's not the "be all and end a
uestrian bridling methods, but its a really nice option to add to the toolbox!
I think I'm what the MBA's call and 'early adopter'
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