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                               Bitting for Baroque By Trudi Dempsey

The Baroque classes have been running since June last year and it’s been wonderful to witness some great improvements in regular competitors and some new partnerships coming forward to dip their toe in the Baroque water!

The level of the classes is broadly aimed at horses that are in the earlier stages of training but equally we have competitors who are more advanced in their training and they are expected to be more confirmed in their work which is reflected in the marks. For this reason there are horses competing in various bits/bitless combinations from a simple sidepull to a double bridle. It doesn’t mean that the combinations training at a more advanced level will gain more marks, it just means that the judge’s job is a little trickier!

In the Baroque era a ‘finished’ horse would be ridden in quite a severe looking curb but with the lightest contact as in the image below.

Nowadays we have the opportunity to try so many more bit options and many of us are experimenting with bitless set ups which brings with it a whole different set of questions and responses.  Ultimately it is the hand on the rein and not the bit that makes the most difference; if a horse is correctly educated to the bit (or bitless) then we are able to communicate gently and effectively. The idea that a horse is hard mouthed, ignores the bit or rushes through it is incorrect to me; education leads to understanding and a rushed education leads to confusion.

I hope more of you will be inspired to give the Baroque classes a go, gymnastic training is all encompassing regardless of your discipline, breed of horse, level of training or bitting system.