Saturday, February 20, 2021
Monday, February 15, 2021
Thursday, February 4, 2021
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.