a day of reckoning: bitless

Tonight I tried once again to ride bitless on Melness. Scripture says, We put bits in the horses mouths, that they may obey us and we turn about their whole bodies. So is the tongue a little member that boasteth great things…So what happens when a 10 year career racehorse goes bitless?

I’d had tried once before and Splendid High was splendidly lost–quite adrift without the guidance of the bridle. He stumbled quite severely as he was looking all around and not paying much attention–seemingly looking for more direction. It was not a failure then but rather a challenge to see if I could work on teaching him more self-carriage to steady him in the tiny indoor ring we are confined to in winter months. The corners were very sharp and he needed to be in better balance to navigate properly. He tended to want to be counter-bent around the corners, especially going to the left.

We have been working on corners and bending around my inside leg for sometime. I am very happy to say that tonight we were in much better balance with the Lindell bitless bridle, which Mel’s favorite farrier calls a “leather halter.”

I made sure to close the door in the ring since no one else was at the barn, and if I came off, I wanted him not to go too far. Well, the added precaution was not really necessary because Mel seemed to enjoy himself and did not try to qualify as a rodeo bronc. He liked to stretch his head down and his neck out, which was fine. I wanted to see if he liked the Lindell, as I have to return it to its owner.

I would say he really did enjoy it and it is worth learning to ride in one if only to have something else to ride in when it is below zero and the metal bit must be quite frigid in his mouth. I know I had to not wear metal rimmed glasses when skiing because they froze my face, so I can only imagine what a metal bit might feel like when the temperature drops to sub-zero degrees in a Montana winter. Last year, I rode in 0 degrees and 100 degrees in the same year and Mel was game during these extremes. It is my desire to make him as comfortable as possible though during our adventures. Tonight’s experiment points to our hopefully having a Lindell of our own in the future. “Lord, hear our prayer…”



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