Bits and Bridles: The Essentials of Education

Children and horses have – for the most part – always had an otherworldly connection. Many studies have shown the therapeutic benefits for children when working with and riding horses. This is especially true of children who suffer from mental illness. However, what many people tend to overlookis the power of using the proper horse riding gear.

The hidden purpose

To many people, especially children, the bit and bridle are merely part of a steering system. Their importance is far greater than just that. A properly fitted bit – which is held in place by the bridle – helps to control the horse’s physical movements and mental state.

The peaceful bit

It may sound strange, but having a bit such as a Halsverlangerer Neck Stretcher helps to keep the horse calm. A horse’s basic instinct when frightened is to stick its head up, stiffen its neck and look for a means to escape. On the other hand, when the horse is calmits head is down and its back is round – also known as a round frame. The neck stretcher bit helps to keep the horse in this frame, keeping its head down and relaxed.

Keeping the horse placid like this is essential to teaching children to ride, mainly because it keeps them safe. The primary concern is always the safety of both the horse and the rider. A skittish and frightened horse is never safe for an overexcited child.

The conditioning bit

Aside from the mental benefits bestowed by proper horse riding gear, as mentioned, there are also physical benefits. When the horse takes a walk with a rounded frame it uses and conditions its top line muscles over its croup, back and neck. This helps to improve the horse’s posture and to develop those muscles involved evenly and without any excessive stress. In fact, an improvement in muscling can often be seen within as little as a week, along with enhanced flexibility and suppleness.

This improvement in muscling, posture and movement has benefits for children learning to ride as well. If the coach/trainer takes the reins and leads while the child sits in the saddle, the child can then get a good sense for how the horse should feel under them while walking correctly. As an added bonus, the horse will move more smoothly which makes for a more pleasant ride.

There is definitely a lot more to learning to ride, for both the horse and rider, than simply using the correct bit and bridle. But proper horse riding gear is the only place to start this journey.

Comments are closed.