I am training Bella for bitless riding and since backing her Sept last year (2019) I’ve started her in my normal rope halter with clip on reins. Recently I managed to get a 2nd hand Transcend Sidecue bitless bridle off ebay, it’s the same make as Stormy’s big black bridle so one day I hope to be riding in this. For now I like training in the rope halter as it gives quick, easy signals and I can use it to help lighten up the cues a lot quicker BUT I still need her to help me put it on as with big horses (or any horse really) they can be hard to bridle unless standing on a mounting block SO I choose to train my horses to bring their heads down and help me put the bridle on. This short video is the first of these sessions with Ms Bella today. With consistent work and rewards when right I know she’ll soon be putting her head down and into the bridle like Stormy does for me 😉
This is Stormy and me having fun with just one obstacle. I love to try to think of as many things as I can with just one thing and it gives us the opportunity to test that we have communication to each individual foot. Stormy loves brain teasers so this was good for him too.
Getting our herd used to our new shelter today. Stormy and Tara were okay on line and at liberty but Mark and I helped Spirit get used to it through repetition and approach/retreat until he was a bit more confident about it. We will continue to do this so that he gets acclimatised to it more and more.
This video hopefully shows two of the things I always strive to get over time to make mounting better. The first is asking the horse to square his feet up so that he’s balanced and ready for me to be on his back, the second is asking the horse to learn to sidle up to the mounting block and later whatever I am standing on to mount (ie. gate, large stone, quad bike, another horse!). These two things get better with practise so I will film us again doing these after our first 7 practise sessions to show how we’re getting on with it.
And here is a short update on ‘squaring up’ with Spirit…
This video shows how I use a ‘half circle’ technique to ask my horse to go through something without me moving. This helps keep me safe and is a great way of teaching bravery for the horse to go through something without just following me. I use this technique for going through gates, into stables, over jumps, through streams and trailer loading.
The technique uses a lot of the basic ABC’s of horsemanship techniques: backup, move shoulder away, forward away from me in an arc, disengage hindquarters to face and wait then back up again to give me space to close the gate 🙂
This ‘game’ is one I use often to help teach horses (and myself) to become straighter when riding. If your horse is used to a contact then you may find going to a loose rein difficult, try using a slightly loose rein and get the rein longer and longer as you work at it, often a horse can become ‘lost’ if it’s used to a contact so don’t upset it, just try to get on a loose rein as you go 🙂
Bridling can be difficult with a big horse so asking for the horse to lower his head is a prerequisite to relaxation whether it’s bitless or bitted. Here are some tips to help you and your horse with happy bridling.