Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pictures and questions

Graduate school is seriously limiting my time for blogging (who knew!) and winter is limiting my time for training. I am trying to enjoy the little time I have with Bodhi though, and I hope all the walking we are doing in the snow is keeping him some what conditioned. I have had 2 things on my mind lately and I would love to hear your thoughts:

I have decided I do not need to use a bit right now. Bodhi is bit educated so if he needs to go in one for some reason he is equipped. I feel that teaching him to be balanced, supple, and connected is more interesting without a bit right now. I have been riding him all winter in his side pull I talked about here. My issue is that it puts all the pressure on the top of his nose, and that it slides around. I think I want to try a cross under bridle like Nutural. I rode in one last weekend and he was much easier to bend and turn. My fear is that it will put too much pressure on the poll and under the chin. Has anyone ridden extensively in steady contact in a cross under bridle?

I am going to go to Africa this summer for my master's research. I think I would like to lease Bodhi while I am gone (6 months). I am hoping to lease him to someone who will take him to some shows and give him complementary experiences to what he already has. Knowing what you guys know about him, who should I market him to? What type of rider would be interested in a horse like Bodhi, and what should I work on in the short amount of time I have between the thaw and my departure to make him more marketable?

Also, here are some picture from the fall that were taken by a photographer the barn owner hired to document the new arena that we happen to be in. I was really happy to them because right now he looks like a yak. It is nice to be reminded what lives under all this hair!

This picture had to be blown up because we were in the background. It is signifigant because it caught him in what I call his baby extended trot. I have this photo labeled as "baby's first extension"

This picture is what I would like to think represents our best of 2010, and of him as a five year old.


  1. I've got a old post on all the bitless options I could find - it's in my favorite posts sidebar. Pie and I are using a nice sidepull right now - and it's got a stabilizing jowl strap, which makes all the difference.

  2. I can't help with the first question, I ride in a leather noseband sidepull and it doesn't seem to bother Coriander's nose at all.

    What an awesome opportunity to go to Africa for research!

    If I were you trying to lease him I'd look for someone who had a background in clicker training or was really interested in learning it. Bodhi might have issues going from a clicker trainer to a "traditional" trainer. Other than that, probably a more recreational rider would be good, someone who'd like to trail ride and do some fun shows on the side. Of course it will probably come down to who you feel most comfortable leaving your horse with, no matter what they want to do.

  3. My experience with the Nurtural-style bitless bridles is that some horses do great with them, and others can't stand them. They do displace some of the pressure on the nose, but in the process they tend to put the horse's head in a clamp... the pressure is at his pole, nose, and jaw.

    Very cool that you're going to Africa! Since you're only gone for 6 months... my suggestion would be to try to find someone who is in-between horses, or has a horse on temporary retirement, or someone who is looking for a fun project for the summer, etc..... who is perhaps looking for something ride in the meantime, and won't mind giving him back when you get home!

  4. Glad you like the Nuratural.
    First of all the Nurtural exhibits very little poll pressure if any at all. I had my 4-H group test this theory that cross under worked on poll pressure and they concluded there was little to zero poll pressure on a horse flexed at the poll with the rider actively placing pressure on the reins in their day study we had them do with different bridles. The reasoning for this is the nurtural has a solid crown piece and if you get a beta it's actually somewhat padded. Other bitless that have a separate rein strap (dr.cooks, amish etc) that does tighten as well as come uneven.
    Secondly there is no pressure under the chin, like a curb strap would create on the mental nerve, which is the nerve of note that you would be worried about. The pressure is on the nose and cheeks. I always like to point out about the cheek pieces when adjusted properly they are actually sitting on one of several acupressure points for calming a nervous horse.
    I ride with contact all the time, especially now that I have been doing some dressage with Indigo. A horse needs to learn to flex to the bridle, bitless or bitted or they are going to be hanging on your hands the whole time because they are bracing against the pressure instead of giving to it. A good relaxed head/mouth there should be a little bit of play in the reins, not a continuous tight line. As I mentioned in my last post about bitless, collection should come from the hind end, the headset/contact plays a part but if you have the rest of the horse going properly there shouldn't be a lot of tension on the reins or the horse is just leaning on your hands for support, not carrying himself. See what I mean?

  5. I'm just wondering why go bitless if he doesn't have issues with his teeth, or something preventing a bit (maybe he does?)? I'm thinking it might limit your leasing options and a smooth transition to another rider. If you want him shown would bitless be an option? I know it isn't an option for dressage shows (unfortunately).

  6. thanks everybody for the comments! I do hope I find someone compatible for Bodhi while I am away. If all else fails he can sit in the pasture for 6 months, but it would be so much more productive if he is getting work.

    Thanks Sydeny for easing my worries about the Nutural.

    Carol- No he has no physical issue to keep him from being happy in a bit. I am enjoying the challenge of bitless riding, and since it is winter time I am sure Bodhi thanks me (I am in Winterpeg with no indoor) He rides very quietly in a snaffle with no issues, and I have gone back and forth between bit and bitless since I first started riding him, so a leaser riding him in a bit will not be an issue for him, provided they want to use a snaffle and they are kind.

  7. Man I would think finding someone to lease your horse is about as easy as finding a reliable trustworthy baby sitter for my kids. I don't envy that decision but I also don't know alot of horse people around here so if I knew people I could trust it would probably be different. Good luck on your search and it is awesome that you get to go to Africa

  8. Going to Africa is amazing! I know that's something you just can't turn down! :) I agree with Amy - I don't envy you finding someone to trust Bohdi with! Good luck!