When working with a horse, you’re working diligently to gain their trust. This process starts from the ground; making sure they can walk with you by their side. This is seen as walking with a halter and lead rope – something very simple and almost goes without thinking. This is a huge step towards riding without a bit. If your horse can understand the pressures from their halter and lead rope, they have the foundation to understand how to ride without a bit in their mouth.
If you really think about it, putting the harsh pressures inside their mouth can most definitely make a horse anxious and uneasy. It’s an uncomfortable pressure that they will give in to in order to remain comfortable and out of pain. When you remove that factor from your ride, you create a different energy. This is the energy I prefer.
*Disclaimer* I am not by any means saying every person who rides with a bit is putting harsh and horrible pain in their horses’ mouth, I am saying however that, in the wrong hands, bits can be destructive and counterproductive by creating an angry horse as opposed to one that is soft and willing.
It’s simply a choice and it’s becoming a more common one – which is great!
What do you prefer to ride in? What does your horse prefer?
If you cannot answer the second question, maybe you should spend more time listening and less time telling…