Bit­less break­through

NZ Horse & Pony - - Your Letters - Erena Powell and Coco, Motueka

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

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