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    [RC] Bitless Bridles and horses with hard mouths - Jennifer Judkins

    Hi all, I'm new to this group and have been following your discussion about bitting and/or the lack of it.  I think its really important to remember each horse is an individual, as is the horse-human team.  What works for one will not always be appropriate for another.  I ride the trails with a rope halter.  I like it because Manny (my horse) can eat freely, I don't have to fiddle with bits at checks and it just seems more comfortable to him.  However, this took alot of time in training.  Ground work teaching him to yield to pressure, respect my space, etc., etc..  These halters don't break so you really have to teach your horse not to pull back on pressure, like stepping on the lead line.  In the saddle I taught him to follow my focus, go where I am focusing on, using my seat and body language to support, rewarding frequently for the slightest try.  In the end, I needed reins only infrequently and so feel very safe in a halter because my horse and I have a language we both under stand.  I would be cautious about just triing a bit or bitless bridle on the trail without doing some basic training with your horse.  Look at your current 'rig' from your horses perspective.  Does he seem happy in it? or does he resent it?  Horses that run through a bit usually do so out of pain or fear.  Alot of great advice has been already supplied about sources of pain by the group.  Fear is a big one though and can range from a simple spook to 'there's something crazy on my back, pulling on my mouth':)  In the end, what and how you ride is between you and your horse.  He/she will let you know how well you are doing if you pay attention.  Happy trails, Jennifer.

    PS Really enjoying the group, great discussions.  Thanks.

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