The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 1:16 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:23 pm
Posts: 3
I am rather new to this forum and after searching the a lot of fora's I have not found an answer to my question: is it possible to drive your horse in a more friendly way? I drive my fjordhorses regularly. They both excel in dressage at liberty and groundwork. My youngest one (12 years) is very good in groundwork and loves it, by the way. After a very long and difficult period (most of all with myself) I decided to stop ride him. He has clearly shown that he loathes being ridden (he bucks very terribly and violently (doing a 'courbette' with me on his back :sad: ). I have never forced him, hurt him, but done my utmost to try to find a solution for this behaviour, since he performs wonderfully when driven or in groundwork. My oldest one (20 years) can be ridden bareback on a cordeo (and I never stop being amazed about it :clap: ). But, when driving on the road here in Holland there is no sense in riding bitless. It would be dangerous, not because of the horses, but because of the horrific traffic sometimes. Horses are (nearly) always driven on a liverpool shank. I also use the Liverpool but with the plastic mouthpiece and a loose chain. Sorry for all this explaining, but the real question is: can I use the neckreining technique when driving? As explained by Miriam on another thread shanks are not really meant for steering. Is there another way to drive safely on the road (amidst traffic)? Both horses like driving, by the way.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 1:35 pm 
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Location: Dresden, Germany
I am not driving with my horses (yet), but here is a link to some threads that might be of interest for you. Maybe we will open a separate driving section in the forum soon. :smile:

Bitless driving
Bitless driving Henry
Bitless driving videos of Molly

...and in Shannan´s diary there has been some discussion about this recently (starting with the 11th post on this page).


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 1:36 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:02 pm
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Location: UK Worcester/Hereford border
I am sure Romy will be along to point which topics hold the answers for you.
In the meantime have a look at the reply from Josepha( riding rather than driving based) around page 57 of Tamarack's diary, also read Gold like Honey, Inge has driving ponies and saddlecharriot Simon can also give lots of advice.
If your horses can longrein in a halter or bitless bridle, or from a cordeo, then they can equally drive bitless.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 1:37 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:02 pm
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Location: UK Worcester/Hereford border
HaHa, telepathy, I was writing as Romy posted!

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 1:38 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:23 pm
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Thanks for your replies. I will look up the threads.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 1:39 pm 
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Location: Dresden, Germany
PiePony wrote:
I am sure Romy will be along to point which topics hold the answers for you.

:funny: :funny: :funny: Telepathy indeed. Or maybe it´s just that I am becoming awfully predictable! :funny:


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 8:17 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 17, 2007 11:57 am
Posts: 1983
Location: provincie Utrecht
were do you live in the Netherlands??
i know some of people who drive bitless incl. myself, but they have written this already :-)
there are now i think 50 till 300 people who drive bitless in the netherlands from those whom i know personaly or through story from people who know some.
But most of them dont make big advertisement because people think it is dangerous and they dont want to argue all the times.

They do it because several reasons, and ride for funn those who do training at home bitless and drive competition with a bit, dont even make it world wide....it is a jury sport so it can be bad for your reputation ;-)


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 10:50 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:50 am
Posts: 321
Hi! And welcome!

I honestly think two basic things related to this...

1) a bit is not going to give you control over an out of control horse, no matter what kind of bit. In many cases it could just make the problem worse by giving the horse something to 'fight' against.
2) a horse that 'needs' a bit to be driven in traffic is probably not a horse I would want to drive.

Now, I have yet to test my thoughts/beliefs with my own horse - but I'm working on it! We've only just started out, but my goal is to be able to drive on our quite busy roads here without using a bit. It may take us a while to get there (but that has more to do with me, and the person teaching me, than with whether the horse will be OK or not) but that's my ultimate goal.

I know there are other people out there driving bitless, and I expect that there will be more and more of us - but if anything, the driving 'community' is even more traditional and holding on to 'old-fashioned' beliefs than dressage or any of the other disciplines.

And just out of interest, have you had your horses' back checked? If he reacts that strongly to being ridden, it sounds as if there might be pain at the root of the behaviour...

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