Monday, 18 June 2012

Making the Connection

source: horsemagazine
The Scales of Training section of our wiki is now complete, though we will still add relevant content. One of our members posted a video of a GP Dressage horse working in a bitless bridle, which made me ponder: is it possible to demonstrate 'Contact' without a bit?

If we take a literal defnition of contact to be 'the soft, steady connection between the rider's hand and the horse's mouth', then this would be difficult without a bit. But if we are looking more at the overall  back-to-front connection then maybe this is possible?

The issue of whether the FEI should allow riders to compete in bitless bridles was discussed at the 2011 Global Dressage Forum and you can read the report by Eurodressage here: Bitless or Not, it's about Having the Choice.

The Ridden Horse Behaviour project is focussed on assessing and describing the observable behaviour of ridden horses rather than training methods, so we are sitting on the fence with this one! Do feel free to post your own opinions below though, but watch the video first!

(It is not possible to embed this video, so please click on the link)

Uta Gräf riding bitless: video


  1. I cant see a problem at higher levels but i can just see the potential damage lesser riders doing - why not have the option at advanced etc.. I would hate to think of the ramifications trickling down to the unaffiliated and often less skilled rider. Welfare and correct training wise I would welcome the change.

  2. By all means please do in the higher levels as said in the previous post! and let's do it on a very soft rein . Let's debunk the modern on the bit myth!

  3. Not into the competition thing here, but I am all about the happy in a horse :o) Would love to see dressage go bitless!

    FYI: Your feed on Feedburner is not completely set up, so I was unable to "Follow by Email" (and I would very much like to).

  4. Since the objective of dressage is collection, which can be achieved without any equipment on the horse's head (as many great horsemen have proved time and time again), it is my opinion, that it should not matter what kind of headgear the horse has on, as long as it is collected. So I am all for bitless in dressage competitions.