Welcome to my blog. I hope to introduce you to different bitless bridles and how they work, share some transitioning and training tips as well as other useful points. I will also introduce you some of my musings on aspects of horsemanship and share my journey with my beautiful horse Ember, without whom none of this would have been possible.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Without bit nor even bridle!

I love long distance horse treks, being an avid reader of many travelogues from horseback. I also love crowdsourcing. So when a Kickstarter campaign combining both came to my attention I was very interested.
What was different though is that these women are riding 400K without bridles. Yes, that is correct, without anything on their horses heads.
The Kickstarter campaign was to enable their journey to be filmed professionally so they could create a DVD of their travels.
It is truly inspirational, proof of the trust and communication that is so important in the horse-human relationship. And most importantly getting out there and proving to the community that think horses cannot be ridden bitless that they are wrong.

I will be following their progress in a few blogs but if you want to see how they get on over the next few weeks you can follow them on their facebook page.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Groundwork - part 1

A couple of comments made over the weekend reminded me of a conversation I had several years ago with other horse owners where I kept my horse. The comments could not have been more different, one was a lady who explained how she had not been able to hold her daughters horse when bringing him in from the field, the daughter eventually had to get him and even then only in a chiffney.
The other was from a friend who had led my horse out to the field the day before. 'How was she?' I asked, 'lovely' replied my friend 'much nicer than leading the other horses'. I was pleased, I have spent a lot of time on groundwork. But why is it important and how does it relate to riding bitless?

The conversation I was reminded of started after I had returned to the yard following a session walking my horse out round the fields. 'Ooh I could never do that with my horse' was the comment. There followed a conversation between three owners which followed along the lines of the Monty Python Yorkshireman sketch, with each owner successively describing a worse behaviour that their horse would exhibit if they tried the same until the last one declared that their horse would barely step a hoof off the yard without rearing and taking off. It wasn't true of course and the conversation would have been amusing if the owners hadn't considered it a badge of honour to have such a difficult horse.
Now I been riding for a long time, have ridden a large number of different horses some of them problematic or very green and I am not a nervous rider but there is something that I will not do and that is to not get on a horse that I could not control from the ground first.

Let just say that again 'I would not get on a horse unless I could control from the ground first' sounds simple? sounds sensible? but how many owners are dragged around by their horses who then happily hop on board and trust that the piece of metal in their horses mouth is going to keep them safe. It isn't, only trust and communication will keep them safe.
Riding bitless is about trust and communication, so if I have a horse who isn't going to listen and communicate in a headcollar or halter then he isn't going to be safe to ride.
Good communication on the ground is the foundation of good communication in the saddle.

I will cover what is good groundwork that is helpful for riding bitless and how to achieve it in later blogs. Happy Bitless Riding.