Many people turn away from riding with the bit. We all can see much abuse is going on in the today’s world connected with misusage of the bits, pulling and pressure. What is the source of this situation, and do we need bits when riding our horses at all? And if so, what purpose would they need to serve?
This SpotLight Clinic answers SIX MOST IMPORTANT QUESTIONS that horse riders and horse trainers from all around the world have when considering working their horse with the bit.
PURPOSE OF THE BIT:
Every tool has to provide something unique, a function and result which we couldn’t be able to achieve without it. If it doesn’t, it’s simply unnecessary. In this step you will learn about the real purpose of the bit. Many people believe that riding without the bit is better than riding with the bit, because it shows that the rider can stop or turn the horse without pressure, and that the horse still obeys to the rider, even if there is nothing he can fear. In fact, all these manoeuvres don’t require the bit at all, and true obedience, which should be rather called cooperation or two-way understanding — cannot be based on fear. For stopping, turning or creating partnership one doesn’t need a bit at all. So for what do we need the bit?
The main purpose of the bit is to provide possibility for the rider to relax his horse to the deepest possible levels WHILE executing movements which would normally cause tensions and excitement to the horse’s body.
FUNCTION OF THE BIT:
When you know WHY you use bit, you can understand how this tool is functioning. Relaxing of the horse through the bit is not a new concept, in fact it’s a very old concept promoted and mentioned in many horsemanship schools and throughout many centuries. But in order to do this successfully, one needs to understand WHAT IS RELAXATION and HOW RELAXATION WORKS.
Many people want to learn how to relax the horse with the bit. It only shows how important this topic is for them, and how much they want to learn how to do this. This also shows that we all share same goal: a fully relaxed horse at the highest level of balance, working on his own with the biggest engagement. Methods commonly offered to relax the horse on the bit, focus mostly on the flexions of the jaw. In our perspective, this is just touching the surface of Relaxation. In this step you will learn how to release Residual Tensions from your horse’s body with the help of the bit.
Relaxation is based on removing tensions from the muscles. The common understanding of this phenomenon is that whenever you clench the muscle you introduce tension, and whenever you stop clenching the muscle, you provide relaxation.
Unfortunately for us (humans and horse trainers) the moment when the flexion ceases, doesn’t provide full relaxation of the muscle! The muscles are still tensed: even when they are at rest, they are still excited by the electric current going through (only less when compared to the full flexion, and full engagement). This phenomenon and the tensions present in the muscles even when they are inactive are called RESIDUAL TENSIONS.
When you or your horse have Residual Tensions it means that the electric current is flowing through your muscles constantly but in small amounts. This situation ultimately means that the electric current stimulates your or your horse’s Central Nervous System all the time, and makes it not possible to function properly (due to being all the time occupied with these small electric currents which stimulate it). In effect, all the motor, cognitive and emotional functions of your and the horse’s body are disturbed.
Residual tensions stand behind anxiety, stiff movement, lack of energy, unresponsiveness, and many health problems (for example: tensions of the digestive tract, pain of inner organs, under oxygenation of the tissues of the body).
When you understand the purpose and function of the tool, you can learn how to use the tool to engage it’s function. In this step, we are going to share with you our technique of Releasing Residual Tensions from the horse’s body through the bit.
This technique ultimately leads to appearance of THE CONTACT, which is something many riders are in search for, but sadly only some ever find.
SHAPES OF THE BIT:
Shape of the bit is a practical realisation of it’s purpose, function and methods of usage. When you know why and how you are going to use the bit, choosing the shape of the bit is very easy. Many people are deeply confused with all the different shapes of the bit available on the market. In this step I will guide you through the most common, most interesting and most innovative bits available on the market, and will explain you which shape serves which stage of education of your horse, and advancement in the training.
MATERIALS OF THE BIT:
Choosing the right material of the bit is based on supporting the purpose and making a safe and usable tool for you and your horse. In this step I will discuss all the materials (rubber, synthetic, leather, metal, metal mixes) and what purpose they serve. I see there is a lot of misconception, with many people believing the leather or synthetic bits are the ones which are most soft. Actually, the flexibility and instability of the material doesn’t allow proper release of the Residual Tensions, and is the effect of not understanding of the purpose of the bit.
TYPES OF THE BIT:
On the market there are many types of bits, and I know from the messages sent to me from all over the world that the variety and all the different types of bits confuse many riders. People don’t know which type of the bit serves which purpose, and how to chose them, and know if they are using the right one for their horse.
In this step you are going to learn about the most common, and most interesting wide variety of types of the bits.
WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO LEARN?
During this SpotLight Clinic you will learn HOW TO:
✅ SOLVE MOUTH PROBLEMS with Relaxation on the bit:
- pulling out the tongue,
- biting of the bit,
- clenching of the jaw with the bit,
- heaviness on the bit,
- pulling on the bit,
- stiffness of one or both sides of the body,
- tilting at the poll,
- stiffness of the pelvis and hind legs,
- lack of movement through the back,
- overdevelopment of the under-neck muscles,
- swelling of the parotid glands,
- dead mouth.
✅ HOW GOOD CONTACT BETTERS THE SEAT OF THE RIDER
✅ HOW TO PROVIDE RESIDUAL TENSIONS RELAXATION with the bit
✅ HOW RELAXATION OF THE RESIDUAL TENSIONS CAN CHANGE YOUR HORSE
Testimonies of Students:
“Today was incredible. I was riding for the first time since staring RTRT 2 weeks ago (…) After these 2 weeks passed I decided to ride today.
I cannot believe how much has changed (even though I am far away from doing RTRT “perfect” but it seems like wanting to start and deciding to go on this journey with all my openness is enough ❤️ )
Crossby always (since I got him when he was 5 years old) had this tendency to go behind the vertikal whenever I was flexing the reins. Today he was moving onto the bit in all gaits. For the first time I understood what this nice contact between riders hands and horses mouth really means.
It was soo lovely as in all different positions of the head while moving (upwards, low, medium) he was all the time seeking this contact with me and I was seeking the contact to him.
This wasn’t all. All gaits improved sooo much. Especially canter became so super smooth and flowing. Really moving trough the body, trough the back.
And I for the first time since owning Crossby could sit and really move with him together. DAMN Anna Marciniak you didn’t tell the secret that RTRT will be pure magic to improve riders sit in such an amazing way :O
I could feel the movement trough his body and trough my body, without having this stiffness in my upper body. Without feeling the need to control my shoulders, arms and hands.
Everything was working together so beautifully. Today felt like so many puzzle pieces connected and I could see the bigger picture. It was this feeling that I love riding, love my horse to the moon and back and love to move in this togetherness.
I didn’t record today but for sure will do that in the next day + try to find videos from the past to show you all comparison and how much has changed!
Thank you Anna for this powerful technique 🙏😍😊”
— Valerie, Germany
“Another day and a little more progress with Felix. We can walk without chomping now for many steps. I changed sides to try standing and walking with him on his other side. Chomping began again. We stood and we relaxed together and the chomping stopped.
I don’t really know what I’m doing and I’m certainly not experienced in this RTR Training at all – but it’s definitely working.
I wrapped my arms around his body and he sighed a deep sigh. He did not want to leave the arena.”
“Nobody knows so much they can’t learn more. Nobody knows all there is to know even if they are very experienced indeed. Everyone needs to open up to doing things differently even if they’re doing very well already. If you haven’t met a horse who is exceptionally challenging, then you probably haven’t met enough horses.
I work with horses who come to me for training and they are traumatised animals. Schizophrenic approaches to training and handling and after 8 years of these complex traumas they want me to mend their horses in 8 weeks. I can only go as fast as the horse can go. I am trained in Advanced Animal Behaviour, The Equine Touch, and Academic Art of Riding – and I try to look at your RTRTraining why? Because of the horses. They need help.”
— Jacquie, UK