Tuesday, April 15, 2008

More on the Parelli bitless/bridleless approach

In researching the Parelli approach to horse training, I have found many YouTube videos advocating bareback, bitless horseback riding.

This video is one user's homemade propaganda against the use of bits and spurs:



And this video by the same user is a demonstration of riding a horse bareback and bitless:



I actually agree with the theory that using less force creates a better relationship between you and your horse. I just don't think you have to do it the Parelli way. The bit I use with Panama is nothing more than a flexible rubber bar — no metal goes in his mouth whatsoever. It is the gentlest bit I could use, and I intend to keep it that way.

I also don't believe in using spurs — at all. Panama responds to clucking or verbal commands to walk, trot, etc., so I often don't even bother using my legs at all. And if I do, a barely perceptible squeeze with my calves usually does it.

Personally, I like the idea of keeping the bit there for safety's sake. I can keep Panama's mouth from hurting by using as little pressure as possible on the bit, but if something happens and he panics, I'm going to need that bit in order to bring him back to reality. Maybe when he's older and more experienced, I'll be able to do away with the bit — but right now, he is still young and flighty.

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