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ESI Q and A Forums > ESI Q and A Forum > Questions and discussions for the ESI Q and A Forum > Use of the reins when riding in a cavesson and bit

Use of the reins when riding in a cavesson and bit
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KevinLnds
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 Posted: Mon Feb 17th, 2014 12:11 pm
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On pages 124 and 125 of the Conquerors you show two horses in the bit and cavesson. Figure 9.18 shows a horse in a curb bit and cavesson, and figure 9.19 shows one in a full cheek snaffle and cavesson.

If I recall another thread correctly, the horse starts in the cavesson only, then the cavesson and snaffle, then the cavesson and curb, and then the curb only.

How does the rider use the cavesson reins? Does he use them as "helper" reins to assist the horse to twirl his head if he doesn't do it in response to the bit? Does he use the bit and cavesson reins at the same time, or initiate contact with cavesson followed by the bit. If it is the latter, does he slowly shift priority to the bit, eventually using the bit only (unless he needs to help the horse with the cavesson)?

Thank you,

Kevin

DrDeb
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 Posted: Mon Feb 17th, 2014 01:06 pm
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Yes, essentially, on all points; but you need to be clear that the cavesson and/or snaffle bit vs. the bridle-bit have totally different designs or "engineering", and thus totally separate functions....they cannot and do not produce the same effects.

The bridle-bit, whether it has a rigid, one-piece or more flexible two- or three-piece mouthpiece, is a lousy tool by which to either turn the horse or twirl its head. By the time the horse is "straight up in the bridle", by the traditional (and the only correct) thinking, he had better be turning not primarily from the rein at all, but rather from the untracking of the hindquarter, which causes the whole-body bend, and which is the true root of what is called a "neck" rein. Thus the horse in bridle-bit "neck reins" -- we know it doesn't really mean he turns because the rein touches his neck, but instead because the neck touches the rein, and there finds its home and its guide.

The cavesson, like the snaffle bit, is the tool for turning and/or twirling the head. It is the tool that you use to communicate to the horse that you want him to bend the joints of his jaws, throat, and neck; that you want him to release muscular tension there so that he can bend them. As the green horse usually has a good deal of tension in the neck to begin with, we normally begin the training in either cavesson or snaffle, and we may continue to use either or both, alternating; or alternatively the cavesson alone, as some do, never using the snaffle bit at all. In competent hands, either way will work.

While the horse wears both cavesson and/or snaffle + bridle-bit, then that is the period where he is gradually taught to understand the bridle-bit: to understand that it isn't there to hurt him; that the rider is literally never going to pull on it; to pay closer and closer attention to the seat and leg, and to go to that outside rein willingly and fluidly and respectfully, so that he stops and turns ever more lightly, ever more softly, until he may be brought to the point where he would depart canter from a halt at a mere touch; where he will turn in full career without losing his balance, overflexing his neck at the base, or stiffening up; and where he will soft-passage or piaffe, deeply lowering his quarters.

Of course, all these things can also be taught to the horse in snaffle alone, or in cavesson alone, depending upon the skill and the particular desires of the rider; so that even after a horse is educated in the bridle-bit, it is good periodically to return to the cavesson and/or snaffle just to check to see that no falseness has crept into the connection between rider and horse, no space or 'bubble' in which the horse may reserve for himself a place where he does not tell the rider everything.

My Oliver has in the last few months begun to offer piaffe, and it is lovely; and I have never had him in the bridle-bit, having no need to do so. This does not make someone else's desire to ride in the bridle-bit wrong, or in any way a lesser accomplishment. -- Dr. Deb

 

KevinLnds
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 Posted: Thu Feb 20th, 2014 11:18 pm
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How does riding in cavesson and bridle bit differ from riding in a double bridle? It seems to me that they are equivalent, with the snaffle bit performing the same role as the cavesson.

Is the double bridle another "end" point of a training progression that starts with the cavesson, or does it start with a snaffle? With a finished horse, is the rider using the bridle reins alone (or principally) or is he using both?

I'm not interested in using a double bridle. My goal is to ride in a bridle bit (you may remember him from your clinic where I rode him in a snaffle bit). With your help and Harry's, I think he (and I) is ready to start working toward the bridle bit.

I'm also curious about the rein use with a double bridle because I took lessons on a horse outfitted with a double bridle, and I never was told how to use the reins, just how to hold them.

Kevin

AdamTill
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 Posted: Thu Feb 20th, 2014 11:50 pm
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Riding auf blanker Kandare reiten (or on the curb only) would be the logical follow-on from the english double, but very few try.

Jacquie
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 Posted: Tue Mar 18th, 2014 11:41 pm
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Interesting posts!
I have been following a training programme for the last 4 years known as "Academic Art of Riding", and also known as "Straightness Training" which aims to train horses in ground work, in hand, ridden and at liberty using a cavesson for all except the liberty work but as the horse becomes more experienced also a curb bit is used in combination with the cavesson. Some of my horses really need the curb bit at some points - and others don't - or at least they don't for most of the time. None of my horses are currently working off the seat quite enough to drop completely the cavesson rein and be ridden from the curb alone, but this is the ultimate aim.

Obviously I am not an expert yet in this form of training after a mere 4 years of study, but it has been very interesting taking it to so many different horses and discovering how it affects each of their various mental and physical types.

Basically the cavesson rein acts in a similar way to the snaffle bit but the two main advantages of using a cavesson instead of the snaffle bit are that there is less in the horses mouth, and the delicate mouth tissue can be preserved by not using a bit until the need for more collected work arises.

Last edited on Tue Mar 18th, 2014 11:43 pm by Jacquie


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