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October 2011 LightRider Bitless News

LightRider Video Competition Winners

The LightRider Video competition attracted some lovely entries and it was hard to choose from three out of the top five I had shortlisted.
But the judges finally awarded the prize to Rebecca Hughes from Bendigo, Victoria  because her video showed variety, some nice close-ups of the LightRider Bitless Noseband and we liked the editing and music too.
Beck's Angus is pictured above wearing her prizes - She chose a LightRider Stockhorse Bridle and a Best Bareback Pad, and says " so many non horsey people are astounded you can ride a horse with out a bit , so a fair bit of educating happening too :) ... and thank you for making the Lightrider Bitless me and my horses love it to "bits".. cheers Beck.

The other two videos we awarded highly commended to were entered by Helen at Tashorse in Tasmania – we loved the editing, and from Curtis in Montana, the USA – we loved the scenery and the accolades!

They will both receive a LightRider Bitless Noseband and a copy of the new Bitless Basics Clinic DVD.

In fact I’m going to send a Bitless Basics DVD to all those who entered as a thankyou for the effort they made.
The two other videos that made it into the top 5 were entered by Anita and Ty from Victoria plus Georgia from Australia.
Thanks to everyone who made the effort to enter anc congratulations to all the winners. 

Click here to view the videos.


Benefits of Bitless at Equitana Sydney

In just a little over 4 weeks I will be at Equitana presenting the ‘Benefits of Bitless’ with Suzanne Bellette and her lovely horses in two 45 minute sessions on Thursday 10th at 10.45am and on Saturday 12th November at 3.45pm, both in  Arena 1. You can read more info here http://www.equitana.com.au/presenters#cynthia-cooper
We will be releasing my NEW 'Bitless Riding Basics' DVD during Equitana and giving away copies and discounts to winners in our 'Lucky Straw' competition. Come along to the presentations or visit the Natural Horse World booth (361) to enter. 

My Natural Horse World booth will feature LightRider Bitless Bridles (+ new western style leather bridle),Best Bareback Pads and Slowfeeder Haynets plus lots more from my online store. We will also feature Horse Face Veils new product range with inventor, Kirsten Milic available to answer all your questions about protecting your horse from sunburn and flies. You can find us at booth 361 in the Riverina pavillion. Come along and say hi, and if you purchase or bring in a token from Horse Deals, you can enter the Win a LightRider Bridle lucky draw.


Bitless Riding Basics DVD coming soon 

This is one of the first instructional DVD's dedicated to bitless riding in Australia. 
It's finally happening and has gone to the printers to be ready for release at Equtiana on November 10th! For those that can't make it there, we're taking pre-orders in the online store from November 10th. 

Bitless Riding Basics features 4 hours of footage from a clinic I held in Albury recently. Topics covered include: 
~ Selection and fititng of bitless bridles
~ Teaching methods using positive reinforcement
~ Lateral Flexion (on the ground and in the saddle)
~ The hindquarter yield (ground and riding)
~ The back up (ground and riding)
~ Stopping and going forwards (ground and riding)

Minimal editing of the clinic footage means you get to see the whole learning process as 10 different horses present their individual issues. You will also hear many snippets of my philosphies on teaching horses throughout the DVD. View this clinic as the observers did on the day! 

This double DVD will retail for $49 with a pre-order online special 
of $40 available during the 4 days of Equitana, November 10-13th.

LightRider Bridle Tips

Check the chinstrap: Each time before you ride, is vital to check that the chinstrap buckle is properly secured with the tongue lying flat and all plastic keepers in place to hold it firm. If the buckle comes undone while riding, it will allow the reins to come off the bridle - so just as you would ensure your rein buckles/clips are properly connected, please check your chinstrap buckle every time. 

Stockhorse Bridles in English leather on SALE


Save $30 off the RRP of $129  - The black and dark brown english leather Stockhorse style bridles have tarnished brass buckles so I've discounted them to $99. With a bit of 'Brasso' (metal cleaner) and 10 minutes the hardware will be gleaming again. Better that you save $$ and clean one bridle than me having to clean 50! Click here to visit the store now. 


Damage by the bit proven

When behavioral problems arise with riding horses, owners undoubtedly will search for solutions. But many horse owners don’t think to look their horse in the mouth for an answer. According to recent study results, the bit could be the cause of more behavioral problems and ailments than many owners currently recognize.

W. Robert Cook, FRCVS, PhD, completed a study recently in which he compared 66 domestic horse skulls and 12 wild horse skulls in four U.S. Natural History Museum collections for differences in structure near the point where the bit contacts the skull.

A five-point grading scale was used to document bit-induced bone spurs on the bars of the mouth (grade 1 being normal and grade 5 the most abnormal). Bone spurs are outgrowths on the bars of the mouth, akin to splints on the cannon bone. The first cheek teeth in the lower jaw are the first to be damaged due to their close proximity to the bit, so the frequency of dental damage was based on these.

Key findings of the study included:

  • 62% of the domestic horse skulls had bone spurs on the bars of the mouth;
  • 61% of the domestic horse skulls exhibited erosion of the first lower cheek tooth;
  • 88% of the domestic horse skulls showed evidence of either bone or dental damage;As the grade of bone spur formation increased from 1 to 5, so did the frequency of dental damage;
  • and No bone spurs or dental damage was found in any of the 12 wild horses skulls.

Cook suggests that if behavioral problems arise in riding horses, owners and trainers should consider the bit as a cause along with other possibilities. He added that a veterinarian or equine dentist can check for evidence of bit damage in a horse’s mouth.

Cook, who developed and patented the crossunder Bitless Bridle, noted, “There is a simple way for an owner to find out whether any particular behavioral problem (could be) caused by the bit: Try a nonbitted bridle and see if the horse’s behavior improves.”

The study, “Damage by the bit to the equine interdental space and second lower premolar,” was published in February 2011 in Equine Veterinary Education. The article can be viewed online here.


Did you know? ....LightRider Bitless Bridles are on Facebook Like LightRider Bitless News on Facebook  Send LightRider Bitless News to friends on Facebook Click here to visit our page. 

“We now have 5 of your Bitless Bridles and are so happy with them, the boys go beautifully with them and they are just so easy. I have attached a photo of our 4 boys to show how they look. We are at Ron’s Horse Riding Farmstay in Maryvale Qld, the terrain is rugged and interesting and they just responded brilliantly. It won’t be long and we will have our pack saddles made and we will be riding one each and leading one each using only our Bitless. Thank you so much for making our change from Bits to Bitless awesome. Cheers Maree & Warrick”.
‘Here is a pic of Oso Star of Trieste (barn name is Nimbus). He does wonderfully in the LightRider Bitless Noseband, he’s very light in it. I have always ridden him bitless and I love that I can now use my western headstall with something other than a hackamore.” Teresa in the USA.
“I just wanted to contribute my own feed-back for your LightRider Bitless bridle. I initially used a cross-under bridle which gave my horse a sore so I gave it to my cow!. I purchased the LightRider with some doubt, but after my horse understood the new cues he took to it like a dream! I’m so impressed. In a bit he would toss his head, with the LightRider he is calm and responsive. I’ve even started to get him to collect in it. Thank you!” Melanie V. USA

Congratulations

Team Penning winner: Grace and her pony Mharli have won a fabulous belt buckle for being the fastest team of the year with a time of 26 seconds to pen 3 cows. Grace rides both Mharli and Leo (pictured) in a LightRider Natural Bitless Bridle at the team penning events she attends on the North Coast of NSW. 
“Just wanted to let you know how much my horse and I love the LightRider noseband. I added it to a custom-made Beta headstall that matches his breastplate. My horse, Ferrari, began his endurance career in March of this year and has now completed 2 Limited Distance rides (25-30 miles) and four Endurance races (50 miles each), finishing all of them in the “top 10.” At the start of his first races, he was very excited and tossing his nose/head for the first 10 miles or so. So I used a running martingale to handle that. I have since eliminated the running martingale on his last three races and he has been calm and manageable. He handles as well or better than any of the horses with a bit. I love it that I can rate him at the start of the races and not be pulling on his mouth and I don’t have to remove a bit in order for him to eat and drink. I also love it that the headstall is a built-in halter, so I never need to remove it from the time we leave home until the time we return.” Terry B. USA.
“Hi Cynthia, we finally got our bridles on Friday. We love them! In particular, Monique’s horse was totally transformed!  He has always had issues with the bit, when she first got him she couldn’t put it in his mouth without a terrific struggle. She managed to convince him to accept the bit but he would chew on it and wreck them where possible. She tried the cross-under style and he hated that.  Yesterday we went for a short hack out….and he was so calm, and was walking out well whereas before he was a real slug at the walk and just wouldn’t step out or go faster, yesterday he was great!
We love the biothane, so soft and supple!” Susan G. Italy.

Big thanks!

Just emailing  to say thank you so much for the bitless clinic and for making the LightRider Bridle.  Have now had two amazing rides on my horse with it and can't believe I actually feel I have more control with less contact and my horse is more relaxed than ever before. Big thank you from  my horse and I. Linda M. 
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