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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 9:53 pm 
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This topic was split from Tamarack's diary.

Karen wrote:
Volker the bridle I am using is this one:
http://www.victorycanter.com/product.ph ... 751&page=1

A very, very simple noseband on a hanger. A side pull.
Very simple is good - I like simplistic tools :). Is this what you prefer? Do you use it predominantly, or do you also use other bridles for other riding work?

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 Post subject: Re: Tamarack
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 10:15 pm 
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It's the only one I use. I used to have a cross under style that I used with my last boy, Cisco, but I ended up removing the cross under and putting a regular throat strap on it, and just used it as a sidepull. So far, I prefer the action of the direct side pull.

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 Post subject: Re: Tamarack
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 11:47 pm 
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Karen wrote:
Thank you everyone!!! :kiss: :kiss: :kiss: You have made me feel so good! I have got a lot of compliments on my seat which is something I've never really had before so it really encourages me to keep working on it. It's not always nice and I catch myself constantly in old positions. It's not habit yet, but I'll keep working at it until it is. I can say that I've at least got things to a point where my back doesn't hurt the next day...so it's getting better all the time. :cheers:

In the photos you certainly appear comfortable and secure. Not only that, pretty too. There is something so attractive about such as seat as you showed there. I doubt I could do as well.

Karen wrote:
Volker the bridle I am using is this one:
http://www.victorycanter.com/product.ph ... 751&page=1

A very, very simple noseband on a hanger. A side pull.


Now THAT is elegant. I may have to consider this for Altea, and one day Bonnie if I'm her owner when she's backed. At present, when I don't use my hackamore I ride her with just an old softly worn nylon halter I've put side rings on. She seems happiest in it. I'm fond of it. If I get her a new halter one day I'll have to throw it in her and Bonnie's water tank for a month or so. 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Tamarack
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 7:53 am 
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Karen wrote:
It's the only one I use. I used to have a cross under style that I used with my last boy, Cisco, but I ended up removing the cross under and putting a regular throat strap on it, and just used it as a sidepull. So far, I prefer the action of the direct side pull.
I´m not yet in the situation to really try out a sidepull, but I like the simplicity of it very much. Whereas I always looked doubtful on the cross under bridles. Don´t know why exactly, maybe I don´t like things that tighten around the horses head... Right now, my preferences are strictly gut feelings, but I will come back to this topic rather sooner than later, I warn you! :green:

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 Post subject: Re: Tamarack
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 2:02 pm 
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:love: :love: :love:
Looooove the pictures :D you guys look amazing... Tam looks so strong and pretty!

Love the bridle as well.. :yes: I did what you did with your cross under, as Diego was fighting the jaw straps alot and relaxed better with just the nose pressure. Been wanting to find the pieces to make my own version of this side pull in biothane and pad the nose alittle more.

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 Post subject: Re: Tamarack
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 4:23 pm 
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Funny, the first time I tried a crossunder a few years ago my horses also hated it. But this time I've transitioned Brodie, Footprint, Sunrise and Harlequin all to it in just a couple of sessions and they're all responding really well. I think the first time, they fought the pressure, and I gave up. This time, perhaps my feel has got better, but I think I just allowed them to find the release from it, and now they understand how it works. They don't pull into it at all, even Footprint who can be a bit of a puller. And Harlequin and Brodie, who are afraid of constriction, are feeling really comfortable. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Tamarack
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 4:58 pm 
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windhorsesue wrote:
But this time I've transitioned Brodie, Footprint, Sunrise and Harlequin all to it in just a couple of sessions and they're all responding really well.
Do you think it´s better than a simple sidepull? If so, what are the benefits? And I always wondered, if it would easily release the pressure again after a pull on the reins. I experienced the so called "Dually Halter" of Monty Roberts once, and it would never release the pressure properly, although that was exactly what was advertised :ieks:. Instead it would tighten more and more after longer use. Not that I want to compare the Dually Halter with Cook´s Bitless Bridle, but leather crossed over leather running through a thick winter coat maybe, is bound to create some friction.

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 Post subject: Re: Tamarack
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 3:01 am 
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Quote:
Do you think it´s better than a simple sidepull? If so, what are the benefits?


I do like a simple sidepull! I've been using them made out of cheap leather halters for years and been happy enough.
I got the crossunder originally for Red because I've noticed that traditionally trained dressage horses often seem to understand the action of it very well and will collect on contact, whereas he was poking his nose out and feeling lost in the sidepull. (And because it LOOKS so smart! :D )

Now that the other horses are used to it as well, I do feel that there is more sensitivity possible with it when I ride with any contact. The sidepulls tend to flop around on their faces a little, and rides up the nose on contact, whereas the crossunder hugs and stays in place. I find it much more refined for positioning the head, both laterally and vertically, if they need that, and the horses, Sunrise in particular, is showing me that she really likes the smoother feel it gives her.
I still use the sidepull, and I really like it for riding on a loose rein, neckreining and indirect action. She feels the swing.

Harlequin occasionally puts his head down and runs away in the sidepull. He bolted with me recently so I haven't been riding him out until we sort this. This is a habit that he learned from babyhood, shouldering away when lead and running off. It's almost trained out of him, but still pops up sometimes. I'm working on the problem mostly with CT but I also want to be able to stop him physically in the moment that it happens. The sidepull isn't conducive to that. However, he has found that he can't pull through the crossunder, and with R+ for his discovery I think we've made another leap in progress. :)

As for the crossunders jamming in the rings. Yes, the first one we tried (spirit bridle) years ago most definitely did. It was a very poor quality piece of equipment. I"ve heard reports that some of the original DR Cooks do too but haven't tried one. These ones (Easytrek) Don't! The ring is very big and smooth and the leather is fairly thick and the setup releases immediately. I also like that this brand is designed slightly differently in that the crossunder straps come from the same piece of leather as the crown piece so pressure is distributed across a much wider area. In many other brands the crossunders are on a split crown piece of narrow leather strap that sits under the crown piece of the bridle. I think this probably helps with them not tightening up with use too.
:)

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I have not sought the horse of bits, bridles, saddles and shackles,

But the horse of the wind, the horse of freedom, the horse of the dream. [Robert Vavra]


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 Post subject: Re: Tamarack
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 9:21 am 
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Thank you Sue for your assessment! Really helps me a lot. I´m currently trying to get my bearings amongst all those different possibilities of tack :(. Don´t know if I can ever decide on what saddle to buy for Mucki...

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 Post subject: Re: Tamarack
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:21 am 
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:funny: Know the feeling. At least where you are you can try things out can't you? I have to buy things (second hand but still!) to decide I don't like them! :sad:

I'm betting that with your style, you'd probably really enjoying riding in the Barefoot/Torsion design saddles, because you like the closer contact and bareback feel.

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I have not sought the horse of bits, bridles, saddles and shackles,

But the horse of the wind, the horse of freedom, the horse of the dream. [Robert Vavra]


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 Post subject: Re: Tamarack
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 1:56 pm 
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Quote:
Now that the other horses are used to it as well, I do feel that there is more sensitivity possible with it when I ride with any contact. The sidepulls tend to flop around on their faces a little, and rides up the nose on contact, whereas the crossunder hugs and stays in place.


I like the sidepull better than the crossunder because I felt I had more sensitivity with it! :funny:

I used the crossunder on Cisco for about a year, so I didn't just give it a short trial (thought I should say that) but it was neither a Dr. Cook or Spirit or anything else you'll ever hear of because it was made by a local tack maker and made of lovely english bridle leather (it really was beautiful). When I began having such nice reactions from Tam with the sidepull type, I converted Cisco's to a crossunder as well.

Cisco seemed perfectly content with the crossunder...it wasn't any difficulty for him that caused me to alter the bridle. Rather, it was me and the feel it had for me. I found the lateral flexions very difficult in the crossunder with Cisco. It tended to cause him to tip his nose. When I converted it, it was much easier to convey a more level-headed flexion to him and he seemed to understand better. That said, Sue's flexions with Sunny are so much nicer than my own with Tam, but there could be other reasons for it, because it doesn't matter if I have a bridle, cordeo, or nothing at all on Tam, for a level, correct flexion, he can't do it as well as he used to and I wonder if it's because of the increased muscle in his neck?

So my point is, I think ;) , that everyone is different...FEEL is different. If one takes the steps needed to ensure the horse is willing and able to respond to the bridle as we expect they should (through ground work and patience) then really, it matters not what style you use. It's more about the finesse in your hands than the style of the bridle. Once a person is riding, if the time has been taken on the ground first (of course with the exception of those occasional issues that rehab horse WILL have!), the touch on the reins is always light and never forceful or restraining. Some say that one problem with the sidepull is that it can twist on the horse's face...well, if you pull on one rein hard enough, and the horse has it's nose stuck straight our while you're pulling, then yes...it will twist. But as with Sue and Sunny and Tam and I and many others here, if one doesn't really need a bridle at all (like Sue's flexions with Sunny) to convey an idea to the horse, then twisting doesn't occur, or where, exactly the tack touches the horse doesn't really matter. Tam's sidepull has never ridden up on his nose. I'm extremely mindful though, that I've yet to find what I consider the perfect construction of the noseband of the sidepull and I've liked more, the pliability of the nosebands I've seen on a few crossunders (usually the biothane ones). So I'm still seeking someone who will complete my vision of the perfect sidepull noseband which will be light but not too narrow, and buttery soft in feel so it hugs around the nose of the horse in a gentle embrace. It will not be built to withstand a fight with a horse, but built to be a refined communication point. Delicate and inviting.

My current reasoning for the use of the sidepull is that to me, it is more closely related to the cavesson in action (the side rings) and Tam understood it easily, and for discussing the actions of rein effects and flexions with traditional riders, I have so far found that this direct action of the sidepull translated almost perfectly from someone discussing the same actions while using a snaffle or other non-curb bit.

Now here is Sue saying that she likes the crossunder for almost the exact same reasons that I don't (or so far haven't) liked them! :funny: :funny:

So I guess the suggestion is to try both and see what works for you and Mucki!

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 Post subject: Re: Tamarack
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 3:15 pm 
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Karen wrote:
I like the sidepull better than the crossunder because I felt I had more sensitivity with it! :funny:


Throwing my hat into the BB sharing as well 8) I'm coming from the same place as Karen. I love the very subtle rein flicks I can use on the noseband of the bridle directly - and how Diego just instantly knows what I mean. :D Obviously every rider is going to have a slightly different feels to their hands... arms... etc (just like with saddles! Hah!). And oddly what felt like contact to me in the Dr Cooks, felt like more pressure than Diego wanted in a relaxed state. I probably would have continued though had I not had an epiphany - I was holding the reins back one day while on the ground and Diego yanked on them. Out of curiosity I slid my finger under the cross section and started testing pressures. No matter how lightly I used the reins it still felt way too "heavy" on his chin. Shortly after I noticed grey hairs growing on his chin. I don't know if it really meant something or not (white/grey hairs due to constant pressure is common with bad saddle fit) considering he's getting older and greying slightly - but it freaked me out. Even though I'm not heavy handed I just felt it was way too much time spent with those straps tighter than I wanted.

But that was my experience. Riding the way I ride now I probably would not have this problem. Now it's just personal preference (the dangly rings on the reins bug me! :funny: :roll: ). And horse... Diego always responded immediately and more amiably with less "noise" to simple nose pressure. But as Sue pointed out alot of traditionally trained horses love the cross under style... lol. So it really depends. Then again Mucki is starting anew... We have a horse at our barn that has never been ridden (13yo mustang) and her owner is currently going through the same process you are, wondering what type of bitless bridle she (the horse) would prefer. :yes: The great thing about cross unders is they can quite easily be temporarily converted to a side pull so you can try both options! ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Tamarack
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 9:32 pm 
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Colinde~ wrote:
The great thing about cross unders is they can quite easily be temporarily converted to a side pull so you can try both options! ;)

That´s what I was thinking too ;) - 2 for 1 :cheers:. I was even thinking if I try doing one by myself :ieks:. I always wanted to further my leather working skills, and a sidepull is rather easy to make... then I could also add a chin strap to prevent pulling it into the eyes... :study:

Anyway thanks a lot for all your tips and thoughts about the BBs - really helped me a lot!

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 Post subject: Re: Tamarack
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:51 am 
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[img]
Quote:
If one takes the steps needed to ensure the horse is willing and able to respond to the bridle as we expect they should (through ground work and patience) then really, it matters not what style you use. It's more about the finesse in your hands than the style of the bridle.


Totally totally agree with that! :yes: :yes: :yes: :yes:

I also should have said that for my own personal feel, I would always start a horse in a sidepull, not a crossunder, for exactly the reasons you stated Karen. It's soooo easily understood, and you can marry it in with other cues to get really nice flexions and stops.

I think the reason that the crossunder is working for me now is that with horses who have already been trained with sidepull and other cues, I work much more from the outside rein, so don't get the confusion issue of the horse tipping his nose up in response to the under jaw pressure. :)

This is what I use for my sidepulls, and like much better than sidepulls I've bought as sidepulls, because the cheek strap stays much further away from eyes on a halter construction. (And it's strong and padded). I just add a ring and a slobber strap - my personal preference for lightness. :) ) But I think it's not as soft and pliable as you're imagining Karen. You'll have to make one yourself! :D
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I have not sought the horse of bits, bridles, saddles and shackles,

But the horse of the wind, the horse of freedom, the horse of the dream. [Robert Vavra]


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 Post subject: Re: Tamarack
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 10:30 am 

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Volker,
I am sure I have seen you using a simple rope halter? You can start the ridden work with this, at least for just getting used to you being on top and just walking around etc. This was how I started Morgan...he already knew to bend and give to the rein and it stopped me from holding two reins at once, only bending to a stop, so no learning to lean on anything. From there I made a plan with a regular bridle without the bit. So I bought some strong keyrings (hard ware shop have all kinds of cheap metal rings) and attached the cheek pieces directly to the nose band and then added the rings either side of where it was attached so the reins didn't slide and rode with that for a while. This created a simple sidepull and got him used to wearing a full leather bridle. Eventually I settled on having the tack shop just sell me the sidepull noseband (vey inexpensive) which had the rings sewn in and attached to my regular bridle. He is very happy with this set up and it looks great. It has also come in handy as a leather halter when I have arrived somewhere and need to let him be free. I can just take off the reins and he has a halter. He can eat on route when we ride and the nose band is very loose so just making contact with the rein means he then feels the noseband and reacts accordingly.

I did find out through all this trial and error (I can almost feel where you are right now!!!!) that he hated anything hugging his head. I tried a cross over and a hackamore (very soft/leather etc) and he walked to the nearest bush with both and tried to yank them off his head! :funny: One ride resulted with me undoing the bridle and riding home on the cordeo.....

Speaking of which, I always had a cordeo (soft plaited cotton lead rope) wrapped around his neck whenever I rode him and used this first before picking up the reins. It also helped as a balnace strap and gave me something to hang onto should he stumble or spook. Not that I am paranoid about hauling on him!!!! :funny: :funny: :funny:

So...I guess what I am saying is that the tack is important (they need to feel relaxed and not constricted), but you can make a plan fo now playing with what you have until you figure out what works for both of you long term. You can easily make a sidepull noseband, or possibly adapt an existing noseband by adding rings. In the meantime, your rope halter will work well too and make sure you give clear open handed direction........

I await the mounted pics!!!!!!!!! :D

Here is a pic of morgan with his bridle:
http://i327.photobucket.com/albums/k454/AnnetteMorgan/DSCF2937.jpg

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