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To Bosal or not to Bosal


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#1 Kandie

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Posted 11 July 2007 - 01:42 PM

Yesterday I got some great news. Star is under saddle, doing well and in a few weeks will be ready to hit the trails with me on board.

Now here is where I am running into some questions as to my choices on what I do with my horse.


Star was started in a Bosal. Yes, I wanted her started in a hack/Bosal, with the ability to take a bit if and when needed. If I don't have to shove iron in her mouth I won't. I am getting some gruff from it from some friends, who think she should have been started in a snaffle and then trained in a bosal.


Here's my thoughts on this.

I wanted her trained to a Hack/Bosal. Like shoes I feel Barefoot and a bosal is a better way to go for my, entirely my choice. If I am not showing her why do I need her in a bit?


Did I make the wrong choice?

I will see her tonight and see how well she is doing and how well she is doing under saddle and get some pictures.

I feel the trainer is compedent enough to be able to train her in a bosal, to train me to USE the bosal so we work well together. His daughter will give me lessons on a school horse then lessons on Star before she goes home. As long as star is progressing well. Moving well and is obeying well I don't see the problem.

So I ask, what was so wrong in wanting her trained in a bosal? It's how they did it for years before a french guy came along with the Snaffle.

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#2 Morability Ranch

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Posted 11 July 2007 - 01:53 PM

So I ask, what was so wrong in wanting her trained in a bosal? It's how they did it for years before a french guy came along with the Snaffle.
[/quote]


I am like you Kandie and use a bosal and I ride mostly in a indian hackamore. Not sure if that is right or wrong way of doing thing but it works for me and my horses, my horses can and will ride with a bit but we are all happier with indian hackamore. My horses are also kept barefoot.
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#3 Comstock Lode

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Posted 11 July 2007 - 01:57 PM

I had a couple that were never ridden in anything else . Your horse= your choice :)

#4 hotelyankeefoxtrot

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Posted 11 July 2007 - 02:03 PM

Well, like you, I think all horses (barring a severe injury) should be able to go in a bit (snaffle, curb, whatever). If only for the future - say if you want to sell her and the person wants to make her a show horse, that is a LOT of work to try to introduce a horse to later in life, in my opinion. Plus, if she gets sold and down the line someone else tries to put a bit in her mouth and nothing is working, the person may not think that she's only gone in a bosal before and that could get sticky. That would be a big turnoff to me as a buyer (and even if you say you may never sell her, things do change, never say never! So it would be good for her Also, the bosal is not really meant as a means to an end. The progression is *supposed* to be snaffle > snaffle & bosal > bosal > curb. This training progression, while I'm sure you can deviate from, is the way it is because it worked/works and is successful - not because it didn't work and wasn't successful. You can have a lot finer cues, half halts, etc with a bit than you can a hackamore/bosal.

In addition, I'm not sure I understand the aversion to bits. It's a pretty regular part of horses and handling, and I would hope you wouldn't be shoving anything anywhere, or necessarily using iron. They make HUNDREDS, literally, of different kinds of bits these days, and there is so much more information out there now about different bits and how they work that nobody should be uneducated on their different actions, IMO. Everything is used, from nathe to rubber to aurigan, to sweet iron, to copper, to stainless silver and even leather. I wonder if you haven't had a bad experience with bits and that's why you're swearing them off from the start? If that IS the case, I don't feel that's at all the standard way bits should be used, personally. Properly used they will never ever hurt a horse, or shouldn't anyway. You just have to find the right one for your purposes and your individual horse.

She's your horse and you can do whatever you want with her, though. And you're not training her or having her trained (wasn't clear from your post which) for them, it's for you. And if you're just tooling around and going on trail rides, it may be just fine and it's really none of their business. JMO of course :)

PS - I'm not sure your historical reference is particularly correct. I would guess from historical photos and statues I've seen that the bit and the stirrup both came lonnnnnng before the bosal, at least what we consider a hackamore/bosal today. They can both be equally kind or equally cruel depending on the hands that use them...

#5 maz

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Posted 11 July 2007 - 04:22 PM

the national level trainers i know, like eddie ralston and travis braden use the bosal, a real bosal, never never a mechanical hack or tie down,


but they use it in a progression of training thru a snaffle and curb to a finished bridle horse. doesn't mean you can't ride any horse any time that is trained in a bosal.

#6 Cyclone

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Posted 11 July 2007 - 08:41 PM

I learned much of what I know about training arabs, lo, these 40 yrs. from an black man who told me, any well-trained horse can go well in any bit/headpiece you place upon him. I agree. All about the cues and hands used. I prefer snaffles, but if your mare is accepting of and working fine with a bosal, go for it, Kandie. Each horse/situation is different and if she responds well to one, so be it. She should be able to work well in whatever you want to use - providing you know how to use it in a kind, sensible manner. Enjoy your horse, gf!

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#7 DesertSongArabs

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Posted 11 July 2007 - 08:56 PM

I like the bosal - and find it really useful. However, I do like using a snaffle - moving to a bosal, then to a curb. Many people really don't know how to use a bosal correctly, and I've seen some major train wrecks with "weekend warriors" that feel they know it all, and have no control with a bosal. It got ugly - very, very ugly.
She's your horse Kandie, and you need to decide what's best for her - introducing her to a bit doesn't mean she has to ride in it forever either, but the knowledge is there should she ever be sold. I hate to think of ever selling my horses - I'd do my best to make sure they stay with me - but should they be sold, bit training gives them a safer option, in my opinion, than having a moron with no clue buy them and try to use a bosal with them.
Good luck in your decision :blush:.

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#8 Charlie Dawg

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Posted 11 July 2007 - 09:34 PM

I had my paint mare broke to ride last year and at the end of the 90 days when I went to pick her up I was surprised to watch her go in a hackamore. She'd never had a bit in her mouth and I'm not comfortable with a bosal for what I wanted her broke for (hubby horse). So I asked the trainer to spend another few weeks with her to get her working in a bit. She looked much more comfortable in the hackamore but I'm glad she knows how to go with a bit too. I brought her home and haven't ridden her since. :blush:

#9 Kandie

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 06:23 AM

Let me clarify a bit here.

1) I have no aversion to bits, no bad experiences. It is just a personal preference.

2) I know there are thousands of bits and she has been trained to take one. From a Snaffle, to a mullen Mouth, to a big fat jointed rubber bit. She knows how to pick them up and hold them.

3) She will be ridden in a snaffle before she comes home, So it's not like she won't ever have a bit in her mouth.

4) Upon talking with my trainer last night (Who has done an AMAZING job) His training methods are to start them in a bosal (I learned is pronounced Bosaul) He feels this keeps them from having a dead mouth when he moves into a snaffle. The directions are clear, there is no confusion and they understand what you want done. Having ridden one of his horses last night to feel the difference between a Horse he bought already trained (A lesson horse I was on) and his champion roping horse he trained himself. The difference was astounding! The lesson horses mouth was very heavy, to do the rollbacks I had to pull her head to the direction I wanted to go in. On his horse I had only to flick my wrist and give a bit of inside right leg and outside left and he swung around so fast it was thrilling!

From what I saw last night in Star's progress, His methods are JUST fine with me. I took video and at one point in the riding, Cody his son was riding Star with the reins dropped and ONLY his seat and legs. When he sat deep and said whoa. By god she Whoaed! To say I was impressed is an understatement.

The difference between trainers is Night and Day!

So Bosal to Snaffle and Snaffle to Bosal.. I don't care, Star was amazing.


Now let me get to the tidbit I put about a french guy. (British, Sorry)

The snaffle bit came into play late in the game, in vaquero terms - showing up en mass when the British came onto the scene. Until then, the hackamore ushered most new mounts onto the payroll. It is no mystery to most that horses were started later in life in our not so distant past. Genetics, feed and the rigors of ranch life deemed it so. "Older blooded" horses were colder blooded horses - maturing later both mentally and physically. Feed, at least in many arid regions, fluctuated with the seasons and sparse times, along with long outside winters, held growth in check for many colts. It was not uncommon then for horses to grow substantially, well after their fifth or sixth year on earth.

What seems to stump most folks is the reasoning behind schooling the horse with the absence of a bit. Since the use of a bit is the end result down the road and since the horse has, in most modern day cases, already accepted the snaffle bit in its mouth, why then would we "change up" in mid stream and go to the hackamore? The most basic answers can be found straight from the horses mouth.

Here's a bit of info.
As for the sequence for California method, vaquero-style bridle-horse training, it's actually very sensible. The horses were traditionally started at three or four, and using the bosal let the horses learn to balance under a rider without ever getting heavy in the hand. Starting them in the bosal rather than the snaffle made, and still makes, good sense, because very young horses - under the age of five - are always teething and experiencing constant changes in their dentition. The snaffle wasn't introduced until the horses knew how to balance under and obey the rider, and at that time it could be used for its real purpose: lateral control.

In the case of vaquero-style bridle-horse training, the snaffle was often dispensed with entirely, the horse going directly from the bosal to the spade. Keep in mind, though, that the previous sentence encompasses a lot of different pieces of equipment over many years of training. "The bosal", in this context, doesn't mean a single piece of equipment, but a series of bosals (each correctly bent for that indivual horse, and each with correctly-fastened and tied mecate and fiador) used in sequence as the horse progessed through its training. Some old-style trainers would use three or four bosals of different thickness on the same horse during the course of its training, and while each bosal was in use, it would be adjusted and readjusted several times to fit that particular horse. Other trainers would use as many as seven or eight bosals in the first stages of a horse's training. The first bosal in the sequence was usually thick and wide, the last one was pencil-thin.

The reason that you read a lot about the fiador in one book and saw just a brief mention of it in the other is probably because one of the books was more concerned with the early stages of training. The fiador, which goes over the poll, is connected to the headstall by a browband, and then is fastened to the heel knot of the mecate, just under the horse's chin, serves as a stabilizer for the bosal. It is usually used just in the earliest stages of the young horse's training, because it limits the movement of the bosal. Once the horse is comfortable in the bosal, the fiador is removed, because the trainer will now need an increasing amount of finesse, which isn't possible unless the bosal can be moved easily.

As for which sequence is correct - I would say that the answer is "It depends". Your reading has already made you aware that there are strong opinions about this matter. Some trainers feel very strongly about the importance of using a snaffle first, then the bosal, then the spade; others go from bosal to snaffle to spade, or from bosal to spade without even using a snaffle. In general, a horse that is destined to work in a curb will be started in a snaffle, and the only "bosal" it will see is not an actual bosal but a cable tie-down! For a horse destined to work in a spade bit, the progression is different - but wherever you go, you're likely to find at least one person who insists that one progression is the "right" one, and someone else who has equally compelling reasons for insisting that the other progression is correct.

My own preference is for the California, vaquero-style progression that begins with the bosal and may omit the snaffle entirely. I've always thought that it was very silly to start two-year-old or three-year-old horses with any kind of a bit in its mouth. Why should horses' first experience with bits come at a time when they are not only extremely immature physically (and with a body balance that changes almost from day to day) but also most likely to find any bit annoying, irritating, and quite possibly painful? I don't do spade-bit training myself, so I begin with some form of bitless bridle and then progress through a series of snaffle bits, but I can certainly understand and appreciate the logical progression of bosal to snaffle to spade - or bosal to spade.

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Renegade Spirit DCA - Rennie
TR Supergirl - Gigi
Elvis Press Lee - Elvis
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#10 Cyclone

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 06:31 AM

Let me clarify a bit here.

1) I have no aversion to bits, no bad experiences. It is just a personal preference.

2) I know there are thousands of bits and she has been trained to take one. From a Snaffle, to a mullen Mouth, to a big fat jointed rubber bit. She knows how to pick them up and hold them.

3) She will be ridden in a snaffle before she comes home, So it's not like she won't ever have a bit in her mouth.

4) Upon talking with my trainer last night (Who has done an AMAZING job) His training methods are to start them in a bosal (I learned is pronounced Bosaul) He feels this keeps them from having a dead mouth when he moves into a snaffle. The directions are clear, there is no confusion and they understand what you want done. Having ridden one of his horses last night to feel the difference between a Horse he bought already trained (A lesson horse I was on) and his champion roping horse he trained himself. The difference was astounding! The lesson horses mouth was very heavy, to do the rollbacks I had to pull her head to the direction I wanted to go in. On his horse I had only to flick my wrist and give a bit of inside right leg and outside left and he swung around so fast it was thrilling!

From what I saw last night in Star's progress, His methods are JUST fine with me. I took video and at one point in the riding, Cody his son was riding Star with the reins dropped and ONLY his seat and legs. When he sat deep and said whoa. By god she Whoaed! To say I was impressed is an understatement.

The difference between trainers is Night and Day!

So Bosal to Snaffle and Snaffle to Bosal.. I don't care, Star was amazing.
Now let me get to the tidbit I put about a french guy. (British, Sorry)

The snaffle bit came into play late in the game, in vaquero terms - showing up en mass when the British came onto the scene. Until then, the hackamore ushered most new mounts onto the payroll. It is no mystery to most that horses were started later in life in our not so distant past. Genetics, feed and the rigors of ranch life deemed it so. "Older blooded" horses were colder blooded horses - maturing later both mentally and physically. Feed, at least in many arid regions, fluctuated with the seasons and sparse times, along with long outside winters, held growth in check for many colts. It was not uncommon then for horses to grow substantially, well after their fifth or sixth year on earth.

What seems to stump most folks is the reasoning behind schooling the horse with the absence of a bit. Since the use of a bit is the end result down the road and since the horse has, in most modern day cases, already accepted the snaffle bit in its mouth, why then would we "change up" in mid stream and go to the hackamore? The most basic answers can be found straight from the horses mouth.

Here's a bit of info.
As for the sequence for California method, vaquero-style bridle-horse training, it's actually very sensible. The horses were traditionally started at three or four, and using the bosal let the horses learn to balance under a rider without ever getting heavy in the hand. Starting them in the bosal rather than the snaffle made, and still makes, good sense, because very young horses - under the age of five - are always teething and experiencing constant changes in their dentition. The snaffle wasn't introduced until the horses knew how to balance under and obey the rider, and at that time it could be used for its real purpose: lateral control.

In the case of vaquero-style bridle-horse training, the snaffle was often dispensed with entirely, the horse going directly from the bosal to the spade. Keep in mind, though, that the previous sentence encompasses a lot of different pieces of equipment over many years of training. "The bosal", in this context, doesn't mean a single piece of equipment, but a series of bosals (each correctly bent for that indivual horse, and each with correctly-fastened and tied mecate and fiador) used in sequence as the horse progessed through its training. Some old-style trainers would use three or four bosals of different thickness on the same horse during the course of its training, and while each bosal was in use, it would be adjusted and readjusted several times to fit that particular horse. Other trainers would use as many as seven or eight bosals in the first stages of a horse's training. The first bosal in the sequence was usually thick and wide, the last one was pencil-thin.

The reason that you read a lot about the fiador in one book and saw just a brief mention of it in the other is probably because one of the books was more concerned with the early stages of training. The fiador, which goes over the poll, is connected to the headstall by a browband, and then is fastened to the heel knot of the mecate, just under the horse's chin, serves as a stabilizer for the bosal. It is usually used just in the earliest stages of the young horse's training, because it limits the movement of the bosal. Once the horse is comfortable in the bosal, the fiador is removed, because the trainer will now need an increasing amount of finesse, which isn't possible unless the bosal can be moved easily.

As for which sequence is correct - I would say that the answer is "It depends". Your reading has already made you aware that there are strong opinions about this matter. Some trainers feel very strongly about the importance of using a snaffle first, then the bosal, then the spade; others go from bosal to snaffle to spade, or from bosal to spade without even using a snaffle. In general, a horse that is destined to work in a curb will be started in a snaffle, and the only "bosal" it will see is not an actual bosal but a cable tie-down! For a horse destined to work in a spade bit, the progression is different - but wherever you go, you're likely to find at least one person who insists that one progression is the "right" one, and someone else who has equally compelling reasons for insisting that the other progression is correct.

My own preference is for the California, vaquero-style progression that begins with the bosal and may omit the snaffle entirely. I've always thought that it was very silly to start two-year-old or three-year-old horses with any kind of a bit in its mouth. Why should horses' first experience with bits come at a time when they are not only extremely immature physically (and with a body balance that changes almost from day to day) but also most likely to find any bit annoying, irritating, and quite possibly painful? I don't do spade-bit training myself, so I begin with some form of bitless bridle and then progress through a series of snaffle bits, but I can certainly understand and appreciate the logical progression of bosal to snaffle to spade - or bosal to spade.



AH LUV IT!! lmao, thanks much, Kandie....learn something every day!

LIT........ER...........A.............CY
Beannacht Arabian Ranch

Pure Polish working western and sport horse prospects

Home of Pure Polish stallion, Vezanka (*Veza X *Suzanka)

www.beannachtarabianranch.net

Bronntanas - Animal Communicator