Thanksfor the reply and explanation.I too ride all my horses with out a bit in the arena, i don't believe we can yet do a dressage test bitless, there is always the possibility.
i find that relaxing hold on the bit is better than trying to ride when the horse is pushing against it. so if this is submission, not relaxation then it does give us the opportunity to communicate. it works and so does the neck exercise for warm up. i think it must be similar for the horse to me stretching before i ride or do other exercises.
nice reply and thanks for taking time to explain. i too ride with no bit on all my horses in my arena. i don't know if we could show our dressage tests with bitless bridle but maybe in the future.
i know that submission is better than fighting and it allows my horse to relax and listen to my other aids, rather than pushing against my hands. i still find that my animal is more relaxed with the neck warm up practice and i feel it to be like myself stretching.
I left out an explanation that my instructor is Ellin Daum, long-time student of Jean Claude Racinet. I was lucky to have found her, she understood that some methods are not in the best interest of the horse, she suffered with poor trainers too. JCR taught her very well how to get the horse relaxed and we always warm up our horse on the ground before we ride. Relaxation is the key.
I was reading some of the previous discussion and found the references to JCR,
As I was reading it came to my mind that you may have made a point of not liking "flexion of the jaw' but you might have been thinking that it meant something different than how we use it.
I wanted to tell you what it means to me and how Ellin has us use the flexion to relax the horse.
Please know that at no time, ever, would Ellin ask her students to perform Rolkur. She abhors the use of it and showed me her video by Dr. H as soon as she purchased it.
Flexion of the jaw is NOT ROLKUR at all. While on the ground we use the flexion to release the jaw and relax the horse prior to riding. We also flex the neck from side to side to relax the neck muscles. My horses expect and enjoy this little warm up. Michael Shaffer also shows both excercises.
When mounted we use flexion of the jaw to relax the horse. By holding the outside rein in a fixed position as if you were in a walk, collected, and that means at a different place for each horse according to their own ability to hold their body in collection, like a little less collected for a beginner, the with the inside rein you close your hand, like squeezing a sponge, the horse will open the jaw and bend at the poll to allow the release of the bit. This is an action of relaxation as the jaw muscle flexes.
So this is the method I use and it has allowed me to get a very resitant mare to relax her muscles and come into the bit. Now let me explain that the process has taken her months to understand and to trust me. She was very resistant and not trusting and I decided the time was worth the results I would get.
Now the slightest movement of the inside rein, like the easy squeeze of a sponge will get the mare to relax her poll and drop her head.
I hope to hear from you to let me know if I am following your thinking.