Thursday, August 27, 2009


For anyone curious, this is the Parelli cradle bit. It has been featured in the comments of Shame in the Horse Show Ring (a good blog to consider reading if you want to be aware of what goes on in the ring). For anyone actually interested in reading about it rather than just guessing at its use and effectiveness via photos, check out the bit on the actual Parelli website. It was devised and created by the Parelli's in conjunction with Myler. Essentially it is kind of similar to a Baucher. For basic flat work, you attach the rein to the primary ring. For refinement - collection, higher-level lateral work, etc, you attach the rein to the smaller ring, which provides a little leverage action. Sort of like using a curb, at the appropriate time in your horse's training, for subtler communication. A soft but knotted chin strap sits beneath the jaw, and a knotted nose strap sits right below the noseband; a string attaches to the nosepiece and ties to the browband, keeping the nosepiece from dropping too low. The knots provide something uncomfortable for the horse to lean against and work much the same as the knots in a rope halter. The bit itself is a basic snaffle with sweet iron and a low port (no hard pallet action, but providing some tongue relief), that locks and won't collapse on the horse's tongue. It is a very mild bit but has the ability to be used for refinement work as well. Personally, I currently use it on three of my english horses and have had great success with it. The horses seem to love it and they are happy to engage their behind as the work progresses and encourages it of them. Unlike a lot of the bits out there, this bit was not designed for control a.k.a. torture. It was designed to suit particular horses and to help horse and rider communicate effectively and efficiently. Is it expensive? Heck yea, but, so are a great many quality bits. Do you have to purchase the much-too-expensive-for-my-taste (but really nice!) headstall with it? Nope, the bit goes on any headstall (I actually do not own the Parelli headstalls).

As noted in prior blog entries, you do not NEED any equipment, but certain tools will help you with certain jobs.

So, on to the topic at hand I very briefly wanted to discuss today: stallions. Until I have worked with every single stallion in the world, I will never profess to know all there is about them. Since that is highly unlikely, I will have to say that I will always be learning about them (as goes with all horses). In the mean time, I will admit that my work with stallions so far has been very limited and due to my limited exposure to riding and working with stallions, I cannot propose to hand out advise except to warn and really impress upon people that stallions are not like your typical gelding or mare. I have had stallions sneak in on me when my back was turned, then boom, they are right there, in your face when you turn around - and you are left unable read their expression or intentions. You would never have known what hit you. They will challenge your authority - even the mild-mannered ones, they are meant to do so. They are a huge challenge to your horsemanship to tackle, so please please please, if you are considering raising or keeping a stallion, take a look first at your skills. Gain some experience around a few other stallions first. Stallions should be well-mannered, docile creatures, but just as some geldings and mares are very high energy, so are some stallions. Some have assertive horsenalities or some other factor that will play a role in the management and skill required to keep such an animal well-mannered and docile. Exercise is key, along with as natural a lifestyle as possible and a relationship composed of a high high level of respect coupled with trust. If you can't maintain that respect at a sufficient level, you're going to find yourself in trouble. Trouble is, how do you know what level of respect is "sufficient"? Which is where experience comes in to play. If you haven't got the horse (and preferably, stallion) experience, stay away from stallions and breed to outside studs.

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