Bridles, bits and head collars
Tribal riders in the Sunda Islands of the South Pacific. Click on photo to enlarge.
Long Rider Comments
best bit of equipment we had were undoubtedly bridles I discovered in
Costa Rica. At US$2 for the bridle (the clip on soft rope reins cost
another $6) it was the best thing since sliced bread for us. Lightweight,
durable and almost unbreakable. I used that on its own, although
Ingrid also used a halter under them. I found it doubled well as a halter
when fitted loosely, I could tie the horse easily, he could eat and I
could even stop from a flat gallop! I am a hackamore fan anyway from years
of endurance riding, but these are in a class of their own.
|Here is a useful gadget for
measuring the correct size of bit for a horse!
- I used a
leather Queensland station bridle, made by Les Wilkins in Hawarden, New
Zealand. It came with a rope halter underneath and a long lead-rope
knotted around the neck. I recommend putting clips on the end of the
reins so they can be easily removed when grazing, managing gates, etc.
A hackamore is the best thing for travel of this type because the horse can eat and drink more freely. (A horse covering travel miles will need to graze at least six hours each day, and this needs to be scattered throughout the day, not all in one lump.) For Cacho a bosal worked great, but Shawnee didn't respond well to it. I had only recently put her under saddle, and she is easily distracted, so I needed some leverage to get her attention from time to time in dangerous situations, for example, around traffic. Unfortunately the long shank on most hackamores inhibited her already nervous grazing. I found a quick-stop that worked just great for her.
Bridles. Nylon or leather endurance bridles with removable bits. Woven webbing reins (which give grip in the rain) and clips to remove them from the bit always.
Headcollars: A nylon headcollar, the cheapest, worked very well for six months and is easily repaired. There are straps so you can attach the bit directly onto it.
bridles and halters are usually made of dried, but unprocessed, leather -
they don't last longer than maybe a year or two. We were always
carrying bits and pieces of leather with us to repair the hobbles (tschodor),
whips (taschoor) and the leather ropes on the saddle. Once we had a
bigger problem with the saddle straps, and the Mongolians helped us.
They are extremely clever and resourceful in repairing things.
I use webbing bridles. Saves time not having to oil them, and they
are easy to scrub when there is a bit of water around.
headcollar, bridle, reins and leading ropes I use simply 3" diameter
Kevlar, seven metres long, with a mountaineering security snap. (I
have used these daily for three years without any maintenance.)
Items of Interest
|This Australian halter-bridle looks ideal for Long Riders. It is available from hue-hott.de, catalogue number AZ04.|
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