Sunday, April 10, 2016

Going Bitless with the Dually Halter

I read Joe Camp's blog post Why Bitless? a couple of weeks ago and this really caught my attention:

"Metal on bone. Think about it. Picture a couple of your teeth missing on both sides and a metal bar resting on the remaining bone. A horse has a bunch of nerve endings running through that part of his mouth and a bit just resting there must be terribly uncomfortable at best, painful at worst. Now picture the way many folks jerk around on the reins. Pain-induced compliance. Instead of teaching. I can only blame fear for my resistance to removing the bit. Fear that if my horse ran off with me, no matter how much I cared for him and wanted to do right by him, I wanted to be sure I was able to stop him."

and this
"When anything goes into a horse’s mouth (anything!), it triggers a “food-is-coming” reaction in the brain causing the brain to open the flap between the lungs and the stomach so the “food” it thinks is coming will go to the stomach, not the lungs. Thus a horse with a bit is in his mouth is not getting the full load of oxygen that he would be getting if the flap were fully open to the lungs. And, of course, the bit is usually present when the horse is exercising, often heavily, and he needs that oxygen. Have you ever seen a horse running with the herd, without any tack on? Was his mouth ever open?"
Since Thor has had such serious issues in the mouth and has always been more running through the bit rather than being soft and relaxed I felt that I wanted to try something different with him. I have been riding and even jumping him with a bitless bridle but it seemed a bit too slow to release the pressure and I wasn't that impressed. In the summer when he was really relaxed I rode him in a halter and I thought many times that I should try Monty Robert's Dually Halter on him. 
You always know that the summer is arriving when finding this old fellow near our cottage. #thegrassisgreenerontheotherside

Today I threw on our furry saddle and the Dually Halter and headed of to the field. We just walked and made a lot of walk-halt-walk transitions, some shoulder-in and circles. It went really well and I really didn't miss the bridle at all. I do feel that I have the same control as with a bit only it is so much softer and much more comfortable for Thor. It is however good to remember that it does put a lot of pressure on the horse muzzle if you pull tight with reins so it is important to keep this in mind when using this kind of halter. 
I am not planning on going completely bitless and I am not saying that this is the only way to go. I do however recommend getting acquainted with The Bitless Bridle website. As with everything else all knowledge we can have as horse riders or horse owners about this majestic animal is only for the good of the horse. If nothing else it might make us think twice before pulling on that rein hard the next time we ride. 


  1. Kiitos Kia taas kerran ajatuksia herättävästä postauksesta ja hyvästä linkkivinkistä!

    Kuuntelin Tampereen hevosmessuilla osan nuoren naiseläinlääkärin (nimeä en saa mieleeni juuri nyt, M.M. - Miettinen?) esityksestä, joka koski hevosen suun hyvinvointia ja kuolaimia. Itselleni jäi erityisesti mieleen se, että jokaiselle hevoselle tekisi hyvää olla ainakin yksi kuolaimeton päivä viikossa. Lisäksi olisi suositeltavaa vaihdella kolmea eri kuolainta ihan harrastehevosellakin vaikkei mitään erityisiä suuongelmia hevosella olisikaan. Oikeinkin sovitettu kuolain saattaa aiheuttaa pienen pieniä vaurioita hevosen suussa, jolloin kuolaimen vaihtaminen sekä kuolaimeton päivä antavat näille vaurioille aikaa parantua.

    Hevosen ikääntyessä myös hevosen suu muuttuu joten on tärkeää tarkistaa kuolainten sopivuus sekä huolehtia hampaiden kunnosta.

    1. Hei, olimme Thorin kanssa mukana Mirjami Miettisen ja Robert Menzien toteuttamassa kliinisessä tutkimuksessa. Tässä lisäinfoa:

      Todella mielenkiintoista luettavaa. Yritänkin Thorin kanssa pitää mahdollisimman paljon kuolaimettomia päiviä.:)