I believe it is not necessary to use a bit to communicate effectively and safely with horses. I have been riding and teaching in cross-under bitless bridles for over 10 years now and have experienced many situations in the saddle that showed me with absolute certainty that I have more control in a bitless bridle than with a bit. Horses are flight animals, when we inflict pain on them while we ride we set up a cycle of fear where the horse is afraid the human will hurt them, and vice versa. When the bit is removed the shadows from this experience evaporate and a whole new reality emerges.
The amount of people I talk to who admit they are afraid of their horses is shocking. That we allow and accept such a situation is sad and unnecessary. Because the bit creates a fighting, fearful headspace in the horse these people are right when they say they couldn’t possibly ride their horse in a bitless bridle. Their horses do feel dangerous and the belief that a bit is therefore required to be safe on such a beastie is a logical conclusion. The thing is that if they can take the leap, trust themselves and their horse and remove the bit, the horse changes – a lot. The previously normal and accepted belief that horses are dangerous and must be controlled with force and pain becomes embarrassing as the human begins to really understand this animal the horse, and comes to know how intelligent and gentle they really are.
When I’m helping people to transition their horses into a bitless bridle there comes a moment when the horse softens and begins to trust that this is the new reality. Their fear evaporates and without the ever present fear they can listen to the requests of the rider with a clear mind and give back calm and clear responses. The same happens for the human. After a while they stop being fearful of their horse and start to trust them. What used to be work becomes fun. The backwards and forwards communication between the two becomes clearer and clearer and the mutual trust grows. It’s for this that I do what I do.
To help more people learn about the cross-under bitless bridle and how to transition their horses into them I am holding a two day clinic. The clinic is to be at the RDA Centre, 377 Houghlahans Rd, Booyong, NSW,on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th April.
Day 1 (Sat) is specifically for horses newly transitioning into a bitless bridle. It will be a safe supportive environment with a qualified and experienced bitless instructor. The day will include both groundwork and riding skills. This day also suits horses recently transitioned and novice riders. Bitless bridles will be available for loan if required.
Day 2 (Sun) for horses who have been bitless for a while. The day is geared to helping people stretch their confidence and skills and includes groundwork, advanced bitless riding and games.
The fee for riders is $150 per day (this includes free fence sitting on the other day). Fence Sitters are also welcome, fee $30 per day ($50 for both days).
Dr Cooks cross-under bitless bridles and reins will be available for purchase over the weekend.
Please contact me for more information and to book.
Suzy Maloney B.Eq.Sc.
Happy Horses Bitless
Ph: 0401 249 263
Facebook: Happy Horses Bitless Bridles