Driving Miss Consuelo

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MBENES

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After confirmation that Consuelo was NOT pregnant, I set to work on training, with a goal of reducing her enormous belly and getting her in better conditionfirst day with cart.jpg . First we started lunging for 8-10 minutes once or twice a day. Then she progressed to a cavesson and surcingle, and comfortable yacht lines for ground driving. She navigates 16 weave poles set just a few inches wider than her girth, and I ground drive her for 1-2 miles every day around the pastures and through the woods.

Yesterday she stood patiently, with the help of low cal treats, while I struggled with the new harness and cart, but after pulling the empty cart with no stress, my son led her for about a quarter mile with me in the cart. I still need advice on what kind of bit to use as we don't have one yet. She is so responsive, I want something gentle and comfortable for her.
 

Kelly

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She is just beautiful! And standing so patiently. Sounds like she is getting into great shape. I love your NEW harness & cart. It sure does take time getting everything adjusted ever so perfectly.… it’s a work in progress 😍

I’m not loving my current bit and would like to get another one, so I’ll be interested in what others have to say.
 

Marsha Cassada

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Your family will really enjoy that nice girl!
I like the french link. But one of my horses prefers the butterfly arch. The correct bit and headstall fit is so important. Kudos to you for taking the trouble to find what's best for your pretty girl.
 

Taz

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What a wonderful girl 😍. I don't drive so I'm not sure if anyone actually does this but I only ride bitless. If she's very responsive and quiet can you go without a bit? It takes a bit (no pun intended) of time to get the persons mind around not having 'control' but mine are much happier and softer without, absolutely no loss of control.
 

Kelly

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Taz! OMG, I was just thinking about that this morning. I was wondering if I should drive Stormy in just his halter??!! And no bit. He is so laid back and so chill. Does anyone else drive in just a halter?? Do you ride in a bit less bridle Or just a halter? Stormy doesn’t move very fast so I don’t need brakes LOL🤣
 

Marsha Cassada

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I read an article in The Horse magazine recently about bitless bridles. They are not as benign as people think. The pressure points affected can actually be more uncomfortable than a nice bit. I think any serious driving with just a halter would be dangerous, no matter how chill the equine is.
 

Abby P

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I have definitely seen some people driving minis bitless - mostly in just a halter. I would not do this with Rowan because he's young and forward and respects the bridle a lot more than the halter, but I can see that it could be fine for some horses.

Also in a bitless setup it's much harder to have contact/connection - it often turns to pulling or just total slack, as opposed to correct contact via a bit where you can have a very gentle give and take happening all the time. The Dr. Cook's type of "bitless bridle" can often have an issue of not releasing the pressure when you release the rein because the lines don't always slide easily enough through the rings. Add even more rings on the harness - it's not something I would drive in.

I rode my Arab for many years in a rope halter or sidepull and ultimately switched to a bit because it was all 1s and 0s with the bitless options and he needed subtleties. :)
 

Kelly

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Yall are so brave! I’m a big ole chicken, I would have never rode my oldie in a halter, he could be a bully at times.… and he is HUGE! I use to ride him in a snaffle bit.

Maybe I’ll get Storms a snaffle bit. I agree about it depending on the horse and the safety aspect of driving in a halter, but to putz around the ranch we’d probably be fine in just a halter.
 

Taz

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This isn't directed towards anyone here, I just have to say it or I'll explode. Just my opinion. I have seen over many years(a lot, I'm getting old and have been doing this most of my life,haha) horses being hurt by the softest bits and bitless bridles by people with hard, uncaring and uneducated hands. I have also seen horse ridden softly and beautifully in very severe bits. Side pulls are what I'm now happy using and what both my horses prefer, one had her mouth abused and never relaxed completely with a bit, the other was behind the bit no matter how little I used it. You can ride with a soft feeling contact and do anything. My horses are round, over their backs, relaxed, bending, super soft and responding to a thought when doing advanced dressage. It's about training for both horse and human, not what you put in their mouth.
Sorry about the rant.....
OMG I wish I had more time and energy to ride......
 

Taz

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I read an article in The Horse magazine recently about bitless bridles. They are not as benign as people think. The pressure points affected can actually be more uncomfortable than a nice bit. I think any serious driving with just a halter would be dangerous, no matter how chill the equine is.
Yes, bitless bridles can cause as much pain as bits when used hard.
 

Abby P

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Taz, if I could like your post more than once I would. :)

Marsha, a sidepull is basically a bridle-y looking halter:


There are ones that use stiff lariat rope nosebands or have metal cores in the nose and those can be harsh. The ones that are just leather or biothane are mild. Some people will also refer to it as a "jumping hackamore", distinguished from a regular/mechanical hackamore because it has no leverage action. The sidepull doesn't tighten around the horse's head like the Dr. Cook's style bitless bridles do, it's nose pressure only.
 

Kelly

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You can ride with a soft feeling contact and do anything. My horses are round, over their backs, relaxed, bending, super soft and responding to a thought when doing advanced dressage. It's about training for both horse and human, not what you put in their mouth.

This! This is how my oldie was! He would respond to just my thought!! It was beautiful!! Years and years of lessons with him really paid off. I would just think something and he would do it… we weren’t advanced dressage, like you Taz, but we did have a great time at the lower levels. Hopefully I’ll be able to get my sweet minis there one of these days.…driving that is. 😍

I never heard of the side pulls either….that is very interesting. It looks kinda like a halter, what’s the difference between this and a halter? The nose pressure?
 

Taz

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This! This is how my oldie was! He would respond to just my thought!! It was beautiful!! Years and years of lessons with him really paid off. I would just think something and he would do it… we weren’t advanced dressage, like you Taz, but we did have a great time at the lower levels. Hopefully I’ll be able to get my sweet minis there one of these days.…driving that is. 😍

I never heard of the side pulls either….that is very interesting. It looks kinda like a halter, what’s the difference between this and a halter? The nose pressure?
You can get side pulls as Abby said with hard nosebands, leather, biothane or rope(stronger/harder is no better different that stronger harder bits). I made mine. They are just a rope halter made to fit with paracord wrapped onto the nosebands. They are really soft and cushy. The bought side pulls normally have a buckle that you can tighten so the noseband doesn't shift to the side if you use one rein, I don't find they shift much when you have soft hands and it doesn't bother me or my horses if it does shift a bit. If you want to play with a side pull to see if you/they might like using one you can use a halter.....and keep using it if you/they like it ;)
 

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