MARCH 1995 BACK ISSUE
Part of Horse Previews Magazine website. Posted on 3/1/95; 10:00:00 AM.
Bits & Bitting Manual - Book Review
by William G. Langdon, Jr.Langdon Enterprises, P.O. Box 201, Colbert, WA 99005
Copyright 1989, 114 pages, $29.95
This is the first book Bill printed out of the series of four he has out. His fifth is a coming attraction in progress. These yellow and black notebooks with the plastic spiral binding lie real flat on the desk when you open them up for study. They are storehouses of equine information. You could say this one lays a foundation for the others: The glossary of terms is 17 pages long. I was more interested in his first one because the wife told me I should read it first. She has the whole series of his books. Plus, I've observed her lessons up at Chick and Bill's ranch so the book provided a connection to his instruction technique.
Bill illustrates the books up in the loft of his home in Colbert, Washington. I especially like the polo pictures he intersperses through the book as relief from the textual density of information. His working illustrations are integral to the understanding of his presentation. Here is what Brad Schwartz, the graphics artist at Exchange Publishing, had to say about Bill's artistry:
"The artwork and illustrations in this volume have been presented in a clear and informative manner. The graphics in the book consist of technical drawings and illustrations drawn in pen and ink. Most of the technical drawings in the book are very precise. The drawings also give detailed information on the bits, reins and bridles discussed throughout the book, and they clearly illustrate the proper methods for fitting bits and bridles. The other illustrations found throughout the book are somewhat less structured but seem to have an architectural, linear quality. These are drawings of horses running, being ridden, etc. The lines are drawn in a fast and energy filled manner and give life to the scenes which they depict."
There is just way more material than I could understand at one reading. As Bill repeats in his book, you have to read it over to get the complete picture. So really, you get 228 pages for the price! And a guy like me could really cut expenses by reading it three times.
When I read the 9 pages on hackamores, however, it didn't take much study to figure out I've been using it all the wrong way. The "Poor to Nothing Turner" part on page 49 was no news to me after the breakneck speed spill I took off Venus last fall. I was using a mechanical hackamore (actually a non-hackamore device called a Brockamore) all wrong. My seat is shaky and, no seat no hands, so, as Bill says, "...it takes good hands to operate a hackamore properly." Now I'd been using what I thought was proper to make Venus work. I was careful so she wouldn't get hurt, so her Tennessee Walking Horse gait could be free and fluid, and so she could easily graze. That changed some after reading Bill's book. Venus is in a bit now.
- Bob Howdy, The Exchange
Bits & Bitting Manual - Copyright1989, 114 pages
Bits, Patterns & Reining - Copyright 1990, 158 pages
Training With Bits - Copyright 1992, 102 pages
Ride Right - Copyright 1993, 124 pages