Sunday, February 28, 2021

Friday, February 26, 2021




Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Friday, February 19, 2021

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Starry and Dante

  Starry and Dante

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Monday, February 15, 2021

Cole and I were out playing in the snow

  Cole and I were out playing in the snow

Friday, February 12, 2021

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Monday, February 8, 2021

Friday, February 5, 2021

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Going Bitless

 Going Bitless

I wanted to buy something with my last stimulus check that not only would I like to have but it would help stimulate the economy.  Buying something made in China doesn't really stimulate the economy enough--I appreciated the check, and I wanted to do something good with it.  I decided to buy a bitless bridle from Two Horse Tack.

I love this company.  They make custom-made synthetic tack right down in Kentucky.  The quality is amazing, the service it terrific and the prices are reasonable.  Ellen, Kevin and I all use bridles and stirrup leathers that we bought from them.  I also got Cole's halter from them.

The only problem with their products is that they don't wear out.  I have been in horses long enough that I suffer from having too many things--not enough.  So if I want to buy something that isn't redundant, I have to do something different than what I usually use.

So that is why I decided to try bitless.  There was one other reason--I don't like having to warm a bit up on cold, winter days.  

In the past, I have always purchased their Biothane products, but they have a new material that sounded intriguing.  They call it Better Than Leather.  It only comes in black and brown; unlike the Biothane that comes in many colors.  I ordered a black one.

It really is better than leather.  It looks and feels like leather, but it is synthetic.  I really like the material.

I didn't know how Cole would be with a bitless bridle.  The kind I bought is similar to the Dr. Cook style.  My intention was to just use it in the arena, so I had to wait until the weather was bad enough to ride in there. 

On my first ride, I had Ellen help me adjust it.  She has been riding bitless in the arena--on both Dante and Ranger--for years.  Cole seemed to accept the odd-feeling apparatus on his head.  I hopped on, walked a little and asked for a stop.  It worked, I clicked and gave him a treat.  We then reviewed a bunch of walk/stop transitions, and all went well.  I added some trot/stop transitions, and he took them in stride.  

The thing that did feel different in the beginning was bending.  He didn't understand how to bend with the outside rein, and I had to use more inside leg to push him into it, but after a while, that went well, too.  He just had to learn a different feel.  Soon, we were doing shoulder-in, and he was holding the bend perfectly.

It was when I asked him to back up, that I realized the strength of the bitless.  I think that I was wrong in assuming it was milder than the full cheek snaffle bit that I usually use.  He is always very slow to take the first step backwards with the bit--not so with the bitless.  He steps back immediately.  It was then that I realized I needed to be softer with the bitless than I am used to.

We tried spooking in it, and I was able to spin him to keep him from bolting across the arena, so that was good, too.

After about a dozen arena rides, I decided to try it on the trail.  I never planned to use it for trail riding, but it was a cold day, and I didn't want to warm the bit.  We were only going on the hill, so it was a great ride to introduce it.

He was perfect.  We mostly walked on the ride because of the winter footing, but there was a good, but short, section of the trail that I tried trotting on--just to see how he did.  He was great; stopping right when I asked.

Since then, I have used it on most of my rides--though we have yet to do a real ride across the river; since it is forming ice.  I haven't had any problems, though I do think I pulled it too hard a couple times because he threw up his head.  

I think I will probably be back in the bridle when we go on our regular rides--because the bridle has bling--and Cole looks so good in bling.  I don't know which he prefers.  He never seemed bothered by a bit, in fact, he seems to love to play with the metal in his mouth--unless that means he doesn't like it.  It is hard to say.  He listens well when I ride in a bit--as well as the bitless.

I am very happy with my purchase, and I foresee me using it for many winters to come.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Tuesday, February 2, 2021