Free Instruction on Bit-less Riding Coming Soon!

I have been having so much fun back at my ranch training horses with Kai. We have been training from the ground with tack for preparing a horse to be ridden bit-less. We are working with Honey and Maestro. I want to share with you these lessons.

If you are a new reader and have any questions let me know so you can better understand the lessons on bit-less riding. My method offers a unique approach with horses from the very beginning, working first at liberty in an open field or arena rather than a round pen.

The other unique thing about my method is that the rules I follow training horses are different. Most every method agrees to the same rules in how to approach a horse, but almost all the rules you will be following with my method are different. Here is one way in which they are different.

When a horse looses interest or you hit resistance rather than asking again and again until you get what you want, you change the subject to something that your horse would rather do. You never force your horse to give up his resistance or pay any attention to it. When you find resistance go about getting your horse to relax and follow your lead in something that would create more willingness.

Resistance is  a sign that you need to take another approach. Usually in training it is a sign that you have chosen a program that is not appropriate.

My method of training starts a horse at liberty from the ground and then moves on to riding him without a bit.  Once you have done the Waterhole Ritual training you are far enough along to start your horse with bit-less riding.

My program for bit-less riding is a simple program to follow for anyone and any horse. Training is easy if you take one step at a time and are a natural leader. I believe we all are. The first part of being a good leader is to enjoy being one and knowing how to fit in with a horse while you take a leadership role with him. I find that many times people do not want to be a true leader for their horse. They would like their relationship to be not from training but just from the bond alone. Wouldn’t it be nice if life was that easy?  I would like that too but training adds so much more to you as a person and also to your horses’ life. Horses love training if not pushed to do so.

Being a student of horses while you are taking the leadership role increases your personal power. Training a horse can easily bring you to a greater understanding of life and a peace that is more valuable than what you have taught your horse to do. I like to look at leadership as a choice of the heart and that the connection you seek with a horse is always at your finger tips.  Asking a horse to perform and then waiting for his response the next step will magically appear. You must be strong and gentle in the right places to be a leader of a willing horse. Mistakes are going to happen while learning my method and the good news is that the mistakes will deepen the bond and it will grow your training ability at the same time. When you hit the resistance, if you allow your horse to respond naturally and then wait for the connection to return, the bond will deepen even more than if you didn’t make a mistake.

If you can imagine your horses’ response to your leadership it is a great guide to what to do and not do with your horse.  The only rules set in stone are ones regarding social interactions and keeping your horse polite, respectful and willing.  All other training is to stay flexible. With tack you only train when your horse is willing.  All of this is taught in my online course on the Waterhole Rituals in the spring and fall of every year. It will cover how to interact with your horse as a leader as you are training him to dance with you at liberty.

Why I like a foundation at liberty for horses and humans is that you develop a deep skill in your horsemanship for training a horse with light aids. Light aids can be used on any horse including a naturally heavy horse. You can use light aids with a heavy horse 99.9% of the time with my program.

I want to introduce you to my horse Honey.  Honey has had three months of training in the Waterhole Rituals.  I am now starting him with tack and preparing him to be ridden without a bit. I will share our journey with you on how to create a light horse without a bit using a simple halter. I will show you in my upcoming blogs a video once a month on Honey’s training from the ground for bit-less riding, so stay tuned. You will get to see his progress on the ground all the way through to the transition of being ridden. Honey started out as not being a good riding horse because of his disposition under saddle and being very heavy to the aids.  He can throw big fits as well on occasion. This is how I was able to acquire him and I am now re-schooling him.
You will be able to track his journey with me on the blog. So far I have started Honey on the loop de loo exercise and I have done two of the Uberstreichen Exercises with him. I have also worked him twice with the single lining program. The video I will put up first will show you where I am at this time and what he can do.  If you have trouble following along take what makes sense to you and add it to your existing program. If you like, you could join my online course on the Waterhole Rituals, which will help you better understand the videos I will be posting.  Maybe you have a horse at home that is at the same level as Honey and it will be easy to follow along with his program.

My last few online courses have had such energetic, excited and fun students that have progressed in my method so well that I am offering a new advanced online course that will coincide with Honey’s training. I will offer an online six-month course on bit-less riding along with the free introductory lesson on the blog. If you feel that you and your horse are ready for this next step, to transition from groundwork into bit-less riding, the following are the minimum requirements:

  • Your horse will companion walk with you and need no coxing to do so.
  • Your horse can keep up at your side at the speed you choose – both in walk and trot.
  • He must have a great gas pedal as well as you being able to direct and influence him.

This Advanced 6 month Bit-less Riding Online Course will include:

  • Explanation and detailed steps to create the performance that is shown in the blog video
  • A classroom conference call once a month
  • From your videos I am able to develop a personalized program for you and your horse. You will learn allot from the class and all the things that occur with the other riders.  This sharing between the class will help you with your own horse.
  • In addition you will be able to speak to me privately.  You will be allotted one hour broken up into any length segment that would be helpful.
  • Materials included: Carolyn Resnick halter, reins, lead line, single line, double line and whip

This new advanced program is open to ten (10) students.  To qualify for this program you will need to submit a video of your horse’s gas pedal and companion walking at liberty. In appreciation for enthusiastic early birds I want to offer you a Thanksgiving special of 10% off the course and materials. The course and materials are $3,420. If you book before Thanksgiving you will save $342.

The class starts at the beginning of the year so in the meantime you will get to experience the journey with Honey on the blog.  This will help you to decide if you would like to join the course starting in January.  “Whoppie whang joy”!

If you would like to submit your application to join the Bit-less Riding Online Clinic program in 2013 please click here.

Click here to view other training and coaching programs

Look out for new horse and human sightings and may the horse be with you.

Warmly, Carolyn

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Kim Taylor - 3 years ago Reply

Hi Carolyn,

I am amazed when I heard the sound of excitements. Many are looking forward to the coming story of your journey with your sweet honey. I am also one of them, excited to see the coming events to be posted on this website. Your blog is helpful for the beginners and for me. I learned a lot of understanding from it. Thank you for sharing this.


Robyn Bardas, New Zealand EC 2010, BTWHR 2012, IC 2012, Stellar. - 3 years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn,
The bitless course and the opportunity to watch Honey evolve look very exciting. I don’t think Stellar and I have the prerequisites yet!! but the gas pedal’s looking pretty good now after a few days using the wind to get her fired up. We’re using less and less effort now to get a good instant response. I’ll be following closely,

Lea Koch - 3 years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn,
My Name is Lea and I’m 20 years old. I’m reading your book and I’m really impressed, that’s the reason I’m writing you.
I rode for 4 years, not in the “common” way; it was called holistic-riding. But I had to stop because of my school and I do not have any contact with my earlier riding teacher.
I do not own a horse. I’m very interested in having a horse later but now I’d like to learn how to treat a horse properly and I like to see the world before having a horse. That’s the reason I studied many methods a bit by my own, like Philipp Karl and finally found your Book. I really want to learn the language of horses; I want to understand what they’re speaking and why they act like they act. I would like to understand them. I’d like to understand the relationship between horses and Humans. I’d like to be wth them.
But I don’t know how. I thought of an internship or an apprenticeship. But I don’t have any connections to the horse world, or any idea how I would reach my goal.
Could you please give me an advice what I could do?

Thank you very much for your advice and your time!


Desiree, the Netherlands, EC spring 2012, IC summer 2012 with Abby - 3 years ago Reply

Wow, that all sounds VERY exciting! Great stuff again. Can’t wait to read more!

Angela Frey - 3 years ago Reply

Thank you for this post, looking forwards to seeing more. Please remind me where I can find your blogs on Gas Pedal, Uberstrichen Exercises and Loop da Loop?
Much Love

Emily Glidden - 3 years ago Reply

Hi Carolyn,

What a wonderful blog. I just keep learning and learning and it is such a joy. Your class idea sounds wonderful. I just recently found PB’s gas pedal. It came as a total surprise when I was surrendered to just playing with him and having fun (of course). I have been watching and re-watching Panadero’s Journey DVD for inspiration. I think that really helped me to find his energy. I’ve also been having great talks on facebook with friends I’ve met through your classes. Your teachings have led to such a great, supportive community among all your students. It’s great.

I look forward to following your progress with Honey and hopefully Maestro, too, through the blog :).

Thanks and be well,

Hannah - 3 years ago Reply

I have another question, it is sounding from the blog and people who comment that bits are horrible and should never be used.
I come from a family of ranchers and working with working ranch horses and cutters and roping. I will not ride with out a bit, but my horses are just as happy as horses who are ridden with out bits.
There is a very fine art to riding a horse with Spade bits (the goal with my 3 yr old) that is all about getting the horse listening to you and responding to the lightest touch so it is not used for control (and they look awesome).
In my opinion bits are a very useful tool, and of course it can be used in the wrong way, there are pros and cons to either bitless or using a bit.

i prefer bits and usually ride in a snaffle unless i have trained my horse to carry something else.

    Carolyn Resnick
    Carolyn Resnick - 3 years ago Reply

    Dear Hannah,
    When I start riding a horse for the first time if I should hit resistance then I return to the ground and develop the horse’s training further.
    My opinion is that you should do what you know in your heart works for you. I try to stay away from opinions as much as possible when it comes to what a person should do, think, or feel.
    I am about making connections with horses. Opinions point out the differences we all have from one another. I would rather build the connection we share.

Mary Augustine - 3 years ago Reply

Carolyn, can’t wait to see your progress with Honey. I have children who come to my place to ride my horses and ponies. Since going bit-less (yes, even these little kids can do it!) all of my horses are so much happier. All of these kids work on their balance from the beginning. The horses would be a wreck (and were) mentally if they had to put up with a bit and hard hands in their mouths when the kids are learning to balance on their own. I learn something every time I read one of your articles. Thank you so much for your generosity and knowledge.


StephanieMorse - 3 years ago Reply


Thank you so much for including a once a month video of Honey’s progress. Looking forward to watching those.

And watching more of your method at work!!

Lisa Hill - 3 years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn, great blog. As usual I got some good nuggets out of it. Thank you that you will be sharing your progress with Honey with us, can’t wait! Blessings~Lisa & Magnum

Marja van Run - 3 years ago Reply

I’m looking forward to following your bitless journey with Honey, Carolyn :-)!
I have been riding my girls bitless for several years now and we wouldn’t want to ride any other way.


Regina Walter - 3 years ago Reply

Thank you for sharing your infinite knowledge.


Erica Dixon - 3 years ago Reply

Love this whole idea Carolyn. I’ve been riding bitless (& sometimes bridleless) for 12.5 years – previous to this for many years I refused to use a metal bit & often tried head collars. It was easy for me to ditch the bit, but for others the full understanding of how, what, why etc has not hit home. Many people make a mistake of not staying extremely light when bitless & they say they can’t get the lightness, but it is possible. I tried very hard for years to do this. The point is that over the years ‘I tried’ too hard & there was a reason for that. Your work has been waking me up to the understanding that its about a path to ease, where we are not over trying, because of the bond & relationship put in place first. We are an empty vessel open to what the horse is saying to us, that nature is saying to us.
When you have said before that we should be a guest on our horse’s back & only ever correct or ‘train’ from the ground (with the bond in place) – & to never work with the resistance – everything else fell into place for me. Why I am on this journey. Why my very expressive mare got so cross with me when I got on her a few years ago. I have gone more into empty vessel mode than every before just recently. I will say though that my previous knowledge of bitless makes me very glad you of all people are putting this out there into the world!
I love the Uberstreichen exercises – they are gold dust… they really work so beautifully as long as done right with the bond in place. I also use a little head tilt that comes from the poll – it relaxes the whole spine & horse in one simple move.
Honey is one lucky horse & I think he knows it! He looks full of self esteem in that photo.
Best wishes

Hannah - 3 years ago Reply

I was thinking about the part it talks about “hitting resistance” aren’t you going to hit it regardless the method you use?
I have a 3 year old gelding i have had for 2 years when i got him he knew practically nothing, i started riding him last year and he is doing really good one of my favorite horses to ride. I have used some of Carolyn’s method and it has helped.
Shortly after i started riding him i think it was the fourth or fifth ride i worked him on the ground and then got on him and he pinned his ears, swished his tail and backed up and refused to go forward or do anything i asked, the saddle wasn’t hurting him so it was attitude. My mom helped me and we worked with him until he would do anything i asked. We worked him some on the ground. But most of it had to be dealt with when i was on him he was completely compliant on the ground but on him was different. So i rode him through his little episode (right thing easy wrong thing hard) and he finally worked through it so i could do almost anything with him in the arena. After that he would do anything asked in the arena. The next time i tried to ride him out by himself on the trails we dealt with it, but it is getting better he now barely gives me a problem.
Right now i am working on improving our playing at liberty, i try to play with him at liberty before i ride him and he always does better. I like Carolyn’s method and use it as much as possible.

Hannah, and Emmett (3 yr old) and Kickapoo (15 yr old morgan mare)

linda j salinas North Carolina IC Spring 2011 EC Fall of 2012 BTWHR Spring of 2012 & IC Summer 2012 Working with Bella, Shadow & Sampson - 3 years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn,

You never cease to amaze me! Your teachings continue to get better and better with incorporating new ideas in your program. I can’t wait for all the new and exciting things to come out. The gas pedal DVD, the bitless bridle, and more blogs to keep your students hopping. You do such a good job feeding your WHR addicts! Thank you so much for not letting us suffer from withdrawals!!!

You are amazing.

Big hug,


Linda - 3 years ago Reply

Horses would be sooo thankful if they could be ridden bitless!

CarolynBourchier - 3 years ago Reply

I am also looking forward to seeing more of Honey. The journey continues.
Much warmth
Carolyn B x

Jannie Smit (IC Spring and Summer 2012) - 3 years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn,

This is very exciting and I would love to do the course, I just have to save some money (or win lotto) and I am in. It would be perfect for me and Paradox as I have not ridden her for over one year now and would love to start riding her again. She does have all the requirements. I am going to make a video of it and start saving, hopefully I can make it.

Just for the non Americans, when is Thanks Giving, so I can set my goal.


Susan Smith - 3 years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn,

The bitless riding clinic looks really fantastic. It will be fun to see your progression with Honey.


Ruella Yates, Carolyn Resnick Certified Trainer, Oklahoma - 3 years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn,
Your new class sounds exciting! I look forward to Honey’s videos as you develop him, and I’m happy your blog readers will be part of the process.

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