Monday, January 28, 2013

Going Bitless Is A Breeze

Perhaps it's just a fluke. Hmm, nope, not a fluke. Thought finding the right bitless option would be more of a... process? 

Anyone heard of an Indian Bosal before? I had not, before my journey of Google-searching for various types of bitless bridles. Well, I broke down and ordered one last week.. actually two (hey if I'm paying shipping on one I might as well order a second in case I like them.. I do have several horses you know!). I have this problem with purchasing things where I throw all mathematical logic away and then convince myself that it would be better to order more than I currently need in order to save on paying shipping again later (that is if I even like what I ordered). 

I'll just leave that one with saying that I have a lot of duplicates of things, many of which I will never need/use/buy again (hey, anyone looking for some great priced and much loved used tack message me).

One factor that played into me trying out the Indian Bosal first was the great price. It costs me $75 to fill my car up with gas once she's on empty (turbo engine, gotta put premium in there...) so really anything coming in under the cost of a tank of gas (plus shipping, which is where they get ya ;)) I can usually handle splurging on for the sake of experimentation. 

Second, was that I could use my existing headstall because all I'm paying for is the noseband portion for control. This meant I didn't have to relegate tack that already works (the headstall) to some storage box with all the other tack that is now obsolete for me.

.. I was having a really hard time swallowing the idea of paying well over $100 (again!) for a bitless bridle (like the Dr. Cook) that I didn't know would/wouldn't work. Sure, I could buy the less expensive version but I'm rather fond of leather, and if I'm already forking over a tank of gas I may as well fork over two and get the better quality version (see how despondent my purchasing logic has become?! I blame this on my addiction for horses wherein we quickly learn to throw logic to the wolves and buy yet another horse.. ahem, curly, despite the fact that we already own 2+ perfectly well functioning and suited curlies already). 

Okay, back to my original point of the story.

Package came in the mail today, and it being a false spring day (30+ degrees, yay for the water hydrants finally thawing), it was the perfect opportunity to saddle up my pony (i.e. Jobi) and test out this new piece of tack.

And enter the phrase "complete success."

It helped that I tended to his hoof needs a few days before so there were no hesitations on his part due to his hooves. He walked off in complete relaxation (has never happened since he's been back home). Actually offering to stretch down on his own without any asking on my part (yay!). Halt was perfect (gotta test that out of course), trotted off completely relaxed as in stretching out, back up and round (double yay!). 

Then came the big test... dun dun dunnnnn! Canter of course silly. 

Which he moved into straightaway with very little effort and on the first request. Relaxed, round, reaching out and stretching with his neck (something he has not always been apt to do even before he left, he would relax but always tended to hold himself in a bit rather than reaching down and out). 

Lots of big sighs from him during the ride as well. 

So overall, I'm smitten with this new tool. I think Jobi might be as well. Is it wrong that I'm now mentally assembling a list of horse friends I want to purchase an Indian Bosal for and just "secret sasquatch" it to them in the mail?

I blog with BE Write


  1. Yay! So happy that it was so easy for you going bit less! I love your shopping theories BTW! Mine are similar when it comes to paying for shipping!

    1. Me too, he picked up on it immediately and really the change in him was remarkable. :)

  2. I have a good friend in the mountains of Idaho and he rides bitless all the time and is in constant control. I being old still use the bit, I have used the Knoval head set and that is no bit,,That works better then anything I have ever seen before, You can put that on a green horse and load him without trouble for the first time.
    Still looking for Bigfoot in Minnesota

    1. He's always been good about control, just working hard to make him feel comfortable and relaxed.

      And being old? I have no idea what you're talking about Harold.. looks like you're still kicking pretty hard to me. :)

  3. Is it a flat charge for the Sasquatch Delivery or is it a sliding scale based on weight? ;0) So glad the Indian Bosal worked out so perfectly for you and Jobi!

    1. Ha, Susan I think it's based on package type. Those that can be embedded in the hair easier go for a lower fee. Obviously edible items are frequently lost in transport..

  4. How does bigfoot know where to deliver?? Boy I don't think he can read

  5. Love the bitless, Erica. We go bitless here and have for many years. It started out because Lakota was very anxious in a bit, no matter what kind I tried on her, she would be very "rushy", unfocused, anxious, inverted. Put her in a bitless (Dr. Cook's cross-under), and deep relaxation, self-carriage. My assumption is that she has a low palate, or it could just be her Princess and the Pea personality. Jen has been abused in mouth with a bit (well, that's only part of how she was abused), and she just plain old will not open her mouth to allow a bit in, no matter what you do. Treats, approach retreat, nothing. She just clamps that jaw shut and there is no way you are getting anything in there. So she has a sidepull that she loves, and goes very relaxed and carries herself nicely in it. This particular one also converts to a cross-under, but Jen seems to prefer the sidepull. when we "discovered" bitless riding many years ago, we tried converting the old pony from a snaffle to the Bitless. Nope, she didn't really like it, so we stuck with a full-cheek snaffle for her. She's now retired at about 30 years old, except for the occasional niece/nephew pony ride a few times a year, which she loves.

    1. Really wish I had switched over sooner. My old Paint gelding was always stressed about bitting - would constantly fidget the bit in his mouth and such. Tried so many different bits, the best I've been able to settle on with any horse has been the baucher snaffle, and I think that is mostly because it is more quiet in the mouth by the way it hangs.
      So many of my teachers would poo-poo a bitless bridle, saying you cannot get the same level of communication and nuance bitless as bitted... but how nuanced can you get when the horse is braced in fear and possibly pain? Lesson learned. :)


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