I’m thrilled to report that the 2nd ride in the DIY bitless bridle was a success on many levels, and has even given me a better idea of which bitless option should work well going forward with how Beaux was responding to cues.
First, Beaux continued being relaxed and did not fight or seem at all annoyed with the sidepull (more on that in a bit). Beaux was as responsive to the cues as he was with the bit, which is both good and not as good, as Beaux sometimes can have a small “delay” between signal given, and signal carried out. I truly believe this will not be an issue with a bit of tweaking on the nose band and more time in the saddle. Beaux got a good 30 minute lesson in, was good with leg cues, was great with going over poles, and was good with his suppling exercises. I was really happy with Beaux’s attention span, he was focused for the entire ride, Beaux was great with the poles, and had solid responses with leg and seat cues. Which bring us to….
The Nose Band 2.0 update ended up being converted to a side pull when I apparently did math unsupervised, and came up a bit short on the chin strap. I’m using a scawbrig bitless option, and while I had the nose band adjusted properly, the chin strap was about 3-4″ too short. I’m looking at a few different tweaks that give more clear signals and give quick release of pressure. I’m thinking of diving into the paracord craze (again) and making a nose band with two Spanish knots on the cheek pieces. The paracord is soft enough to give, yet stiff enough to give clear signals. The two Spanish knots along the cheek will help give a clear signal without putting too much pressure on. The chin strap I’m going to switch the nose band out and put that on as the chin strap. This scawbrig design gently pushes the horse’s head into the turn, and with the metal O rings, give an immediate release of pressure, and so far, seems the option Beaux responds the best in.
I did try bitless on Beaux a couple of years ago, and was met with a mixed bag of success. I stopped with the bitless because Beaux was having some serious confidence issues at the time. I was spending what little riding time we had working a lot of leg and seat cues, and I threw the bitless in the mix before he really understood what I was asking for with the leg cues. Beaux is a smart horse, but his confidence can be easily wrecked, and at the time riding was very hit and miss, and what little riding we did do, I’m sure Beaux felt more like he was being drilled than actually learning a new skill. Beaux is now much more confident about riding, and this new-found confidence can now allow for the bitless bridle that I feel that Beaux goes best in.
I’ll get good pics of the nose band to give a better idea of what bitless option we are trying, and I’ll even get some video to prove how well Beaux is doing. I am very thrilled that Beaux has lost his tension under saddle, he isn’t bracing, stiff, uncomfortable, chewing, drooling, head tossing, or even rooting the reins. I truly feel confident in our direction, and cannot wait to start getting real trail miles going again, and start our journey to our first Limited Distance ride. Start looking forward to more updates on this bitless journey and lots of pictures and videos of Beaux and I hitting the trails.