Even with one refusal and two rails, which dropped them to 24th in the placings, Melanie Ferrio-Wise  was delighted with her performance at the Washington International. She rode the course with a neck rope instead of a bridle!

She describes her horse as a tough horse unable to handle the stress of his previous life in competitive dressage. “He doesn’t like when I put a bridle on and micromanage him. Learning that made me be a better rider for him.”

There is no rule that says jumpers must be wearing a full bridle, and options like hackamores and bitless bridles are accepted. Melanie had shown at smaller local venues without a bridle and said the decision to let an exhibitor show comes down to safety. “The first time I showed bridleless I asked permission to ride without a bridle, and the steward there said there’s no rule that says you have to have a bridle,” she said. “But if the stewards feel it’s dangerous then it’s time to be done. I never felt dangerous out there.”

So what do you think? Is there a bigger story than an “anti-bit “ story? As I see it, Melanie simply chose a “communication system” that worked best for her horse.

I think I’ll write next about how much I admire the system Melanie privately shaped in her horse – so that she could trust him so publicly!

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