What’s so special about going bitless?
I asked myself that as I was wondering what makes people who choose to ride with without a bit different from the rest?
I came to the conclusion that we are people who choose to put the relationship with our horse first by choosing non-harmful equipment.
We are also people who are willing to step away from the norm, who listen to our intuition and be strong enough to stand by our horses, not conforming with rules and traditions that have long outworn their usefulness.
So well done to all of you – you have taken that first step in realizing your horse is a living, thinking, feeling being and much more. Give yourseleves a pat on the back and continue the journey on the road to ethical horsemanship.
Beautiful Bitless Experience in Albury
The first weekend in July 2011 saw 10 keen riders and a dozen or so observers at my Transition to Bitless Clinic. We were very lucky to have a lovely sunny day so we could be outdoors instead of inside a cold indoor arena! I’m sure the horses were happier having grass to snack on during the day too.
Kelly Bick and Glenn Wilson were my hosts and did a wonderful job organizing the day. I also had it filmed professionally so I can edit the footage for a Bitless Basics video I’m hoping to release as soon as possible.
One of the benefits of a clinic environment is that the variety of horses and the issues they present can help us all learn so much more. There was one special example I’d like to share about a young green mare who was having trouble going into the trot. Her rider had warned that she was threatening to buck, jumping up and down on the spot.
She was reactive to the pressure of a hand on her side so we desensitized her to the feel of the stirrup during the hindquarter yield on the ground. But when it came to her rider asking for the trot her reaction was to stop and look like she was about to explode, but luckily could be diffused with lateral flexion. Fortunately, she wasn’t inclined to buck!
So, to help her we put Bobby on the lunge and went right back to the softest ask for trotting – just thinking about the trot – and away she went trotting as soft as you please. I thought perhaps she was reading my body language or the lunge rein so we did several more transitions down to walk and up to trot without any influence from me, and sure enough all it took was ‘thinking about trotting’ or walking!
It just goes to show that some horses want us to be much lighter with our requests. What a valuable lesson she taught us.
Aside from the day being too short (the riders would have all benefited from a second day to consolidate and move on) everyone took home important information along with a bitless bridle to give their horses the comfort they deserve.
Here’s some of the feedback I received:
“I thoroughly enjoyed the day and was rapt that the clinic came to our area.” – Angele
“I thought it was very positive, friendly and un-pushy – it didnt make people feel bad for having used bits in their horses’ mouths before.” Rijke
“I was really positive surprised about the benefit for me and my horse of taking part on this day. You showed me how good my horse is and he fully reflected it, he absolute enjoyed your course as well. You also showed me where I need to get better, which is where I see a large benefit of taking part.” Markus
“I thought the whole day was fabulous, the way you deliver the information, your gentle nature and teaching ability are all spot on in my eyes!” Melissa.
Another advantage of having a clinic is local riders with a similar interest find each other, and that has enabled a Bitless Buddies group to be formed. They will meet in August and monthly thereafter so anyone else would like to be involved can contact Kelly or Glenn at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
If you’d like a copy of the footage filmed at this clinic – you can buy the Bitless Riding Basics DVD (2 disc set) here.
Scilla Reports:” The vaulting camp at St Helens (the first in Tasmania) saw King coping so well on his first outing amongst many new people and doing it all bitless in his LightRider Natural bridle which doubles so well as a halter!”
Featured Feedback on LightRider Bitless Bridles:
“The bridle is lovely, great craftsmanship. The cob size fits him perfectly. I love that I can unclip the reins and use it as a lead rope from the barn to the arena. Angel seems to be very responsive in this bridle. Thank you so much for developing it. I love it, and I’m sure Angel would thank you too if he could!” Janet F. in the USA.
Perfect for Starting Young Horses
“I really really love the Lightrider Natural. I found that with the natural hackamore, there is a tiny moment of hesitation from the horse while he tries to read your intent and do his best to interpret what you have asked. I
have found also that there is often slight miscommunication, which to me does not entirely set the horse up for success, or help to maintain his confidence. It is for this reason that I went looking for something MORE, especially when starting young horses! The LightRider Natural is absolutely perfect. It works with everything we teach our horses from day 1 on the ground (unlike some other styles of bitless bridles which work against natural principals).
With the Lightrider, I have found that there is absolute clarity in communication, and no hesitation or loss of confidence from my horses. Because of these reasons, I find they actually start easier.. the whole process just seems to make so much more sense to them. You can literally see them joining the dots from ground to saddle. Its beautiful! :)” Karyn L. Victoria https://www.puremeadows.com.au/
“This mare not only throws her head in a bit, she throws the bit around in her mouth and it clangs on her teeth… dreadful, poor girl.
What you are seeing in these pics are Sienna being ridden after a break of about 2 months. I was contracted to give her some training and fell in love with her beautiful paces…originally I had her in an eggbutt snaffle but after a few rides it was evident I wasn’t going to get anywhere with her in the bit, so I then had her in a head collar. She was certainly more settled in that but the real break through came when I put the LightRider Performer bitless bridle on her – the difference in her behaviour and attitude was almost instant. We have a long way to go yet to overcome the hang ups this poor girl has but at least there is hope for her now in a bitless bridle.” Jo W. QLD.
“We rode 1 1/2 hours in the park and she was soft and responsive and so happy in it. My riding buddy was so jealous that I had a bridle that doubled as a halter for the float! And my barefoot trimmer is probably ordering one as we speak 🙂 These are a fantastic bridle, I am so pleased with the quality and the leather and the padding that keeps our darling friends so comfortable. Thank you”.
Fiona N. in New Zealand using the LightRider Stockhorse Bridle.