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    [RC] Bitless bridle - Irene M Burnett

    ----- Forwarded Message -----
    From: Irene M Burnett <RenieBurnett@xxxxxxxx>
    Date: Mon, 23 Sep 2002 09:18:19 -0700
    Subject: Re: [RC]   [Guest] Bitless bridle
    Once the horse understands a one-rein-stop, and displacing the hindquarters, it is not hard to teach "slow down".  Remember, riding with two hands means NOT using the reins with equal pressure.  Too keep the horse going in a straight line, but slowing down at the same time, pull one rein slightly while maintaining the necessary pressure on the outside rein to control the amount of bend in the neck.  The reins control the front part of the horse, legs control what is behind the shoulders.  I don't believe a "bitless bridle" (my favorite is Boz' halter headstall) causes a horses head to come up; mine don't.  However, a mechanical hackamore almost always will cause the head to come up.  I don't know if it is the rider's hands being too harsh, or where the chin strap (or chain) hits under the chin, but do know it is practically impossible to get any lateral control with one, in my experiences.  Renie
    Take a step back:  look at the situation where we're not trying to stop the horse, simply slow them / rate them, and we want them to stay in a straight line, not curving around our leg or doing a one-rein "slow" or un-hitching their hindquarters...and for normal riders a simple soft equal pull on both reins is the cue for slowing - my question is this: biomechanically, why would the bitless bridle cause the horses nose to go UP in this situation, when we would expect them to give to the "bit" (noseband pressure) and thus flex at the poll?
    I'm a firm believer in the one-rein stop you mention, btw, and it is always part of my ground work.
    Mike Sofen