For in-hand and liberty competitions
We must presume that those who wish to compete in Concordia events online will always put the needs of their equine first, but the one thing that we can ask in online competitions to ascertain this is that the handler takes their horse or pony directly to the camera at the end of the test and demonstrates that their bridle is fitted in accordance with the rules.
Bridle Fitting Rationale
Concordia encourages handlers to be considerate of the horse’s comfort and to listen to the horse. It’s the hands of the handler that carry the most influence on a horse whether it is bitted or bit-free.
Sensitive handling and bridle fitting must take into account:
- The lack of padding around the bones of the skull.
- The fragile nature of the nasal bone.
- The proliferation of sensory facial nerves.
- The sensitive tissues of the tongue and lips, the bars of the mouth and at the base of the molar teeth.
The type of bridle and bits allowed in Concordia competitions are a reflection of the fact that the bit or bitless bridle should be for communication and not control and that Concordia Fine Contact competitions are held in a regulated environment. To keep the rules as simple as possible only a simple snaffle bridle or bitless bridle may be used.
A simple snaffle bridle with no nose-band, or a correctly fitted cavesson nose-band, or a correctly fitted Micklem bridle, or a mild bitless bridle.
Mild bit-free bridles that exert no poll pressure or only a very small degree of poll pressure.
NO shanked hackamores.
NO chains or covered chains as any part of the bridle.
If a nose-band is worn, then it must be correctly fitted to enable the horse to softly open his mouth and move his jaw.
The tightness of the nose-band should be measured at the nasal mid-line where there should be room for at least two average adult sized fingers.
For fairness and objectivity, it is recommended that organisers use an ISES taper gauge to check looseness.
For Micklem and bit-less bridles care must be taken to ensure the bridle is well away from the narrow, delicate end of the nose bone.
A correctly fitted Micklem should have absolutely no pressure on the horse’s head around the mouth or jaw.
The brow band on all bridles must allow the horse comfort around the base of the ears and the poll.
Padding under the head-piece of the bridle is recommended to give the poll some protection.
In order to give clear aids, bitless bridles should offer an instant release of pressure.
Online competitors must video the bridle close up at the end of the video and demonstrate that the bridle is correctly fitted.
Lunging Cavessons and Headcollars
Horses may wear a correctly fitted lunge-cavesson or headcollar instead of a bridle (see relevant points above).
Horses may only compete in rope-halters if they are free of pressure knots and the handler is holding the lead-rope at all times.
Rope-halters may not be worn when the horse is a liberty; this is because if a horse catches a rope halter on a fence the rope will not break and could injure the horse.
Horses competing at liberty may either wear nothing on their head or a well fitting lunge-cavesson or headcollar.
Protective boots may be worn in all competitions.
Correctly fitted hoof boots may be worn in all competitions.
Are not allowed in the in-hand or liberty competitions purely because it can slip down the neck and may not then be safe.
Training devices including side-reins or anything that keeps the horse in an outline are not allowed.