Although riding with bit contact and learning to do so well IS not only an important part of our development as riders/trainers, AND our performance horse’s education, unfortunately it’s all too common for our horse’s athletic abilities to be DEPENDENT on that contact.
I had some first hand experience with this recently as I set out to master BRIDLELESS flying lead changes with my barrel horse.
Although I’d had quick and easy success with flying lead changes with other horses in the past, performing them with him initially had been a challenge for us both.
Eventually we mastered flying changes, and he’s been going beautifully bridleless, so I didn’t quite expect that combining the two would be so difficult.
BUT, where there is challenge, there is change, and I was committed to persevering through what it would take to achieve my goal, having faith that there would be some valuable lessons on the other side.
What I realized right off the bat, was that when I didn’t gather Pistol up with the reins and support his collected frame with my hands, his body “fell flat,” and all hopes of performing bridleless flying changes fell with it. Read more