What a great article about the research being done on bitless riding and the Bedouin bridle in your February issue. I have three or four bitless bridles in my tack shed as well as using rope halters and bits, and was very interested in the simplicity of the Bedouin halter.
This year on my journey with horses, I am discovering the truth that ‘less is more’. Less pressure, less energy, less equipment giving me more responsiveness, more accuracy and more satisfaction!
I recently rode on the three-day Murchison Trek through some challenging country using a homemade rope halter with padded noseband and heavy rope reins and lead. When I looked at my photos, this one (far right) reminded me of the picture of the Bedouin halter featured in the article.
Even though my halter was made for a bigger horse, the resulting balance and effect of the weight of the reins and lead meant that I had amazing responsiveness from my young, green horse by lifting my hands ever so slightly up, down and side to side.
We tackled a difficult river crossing perfectly due to accurate steering and she and I were able to remain balanced as she could use her neck freely and not pull me forward. Also, as she became tired and tossed her head around at times, there was no pull on my hands due to the slack in the reins.
I hope this encourages others to take a leap of faith in their horses and realise that a bit does not give you control; training and trust do. I look forward to further information on bitless options and the results of Massey University’s study and certainly hope that I can ride in any discipline of my choice bitless in the near future.
LEFT The Bedouin halter that featured in our February article
BELOW Erena’s horse Coco with her homemade rope halter