Thoughts/Expiriences with Bitless Riding? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 02-16-2014, 04:38 AM Thread Starter
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Thoughts/Expiriences with Bitless Riding?

Hi everyone,

I've recently purchased a young quarter horse. He's still green, and currently rides in a loose ring snaffle, but I'm considering training him to a bitless bridle over time. My reason for this essentially is that he's a very high energy, high strung horse. He's sensible, but he has a very soft mouth and a real motor on him. I have very soft hands (years of expirience), but I think he would be happiest bitless in the long run, even though no problems have arised so far in the bit.

Does anyone have opinions or experiences with bitless riding they'd like to share?

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 6 Old 02-16-2014, 04:23 PM
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I have a high energy, soft mouthed, git up n go horse and soft hands but have never had any problems with a French link eggbutt. Tried him in a style of bitless and he was tense and unhappy in it.

I've never had an issue keeping his soft mouth even despite his tendency to want to rush because I ride him through that and keep him underneath me mostly by using seat and leg and lots of bending.

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
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post #3 of 6 Old 02-16-2014, 09:24 PM
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I guess it just depends on what your goals are.

If you show, your horse has to ride in a bit, and the proper one at that.

If you don't, anything that your horse accepts without pain, discomfort or apprehension is fine. Your imagination is the limit. Take into account the practicality of it too; do you want finesse or a trail buddy?
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post #4 of 6 Old 02-20-2014, 09:41 AM
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I don't know if any horse is "happy" to have a bit in their mouth. Some accept it better than others. Maybe some do because they enjoy their work. Yes, we want to make them comfortable or not cause them pain, but to most horses, running free and eating makes them happy. Not much that we do with them make them happy. Except feed and treats.

I trained our TWH mare bitless from the beginning. I did it for several reasons, one not being to show off that I did it.

We got her at 6 weeks old. I did a lot of flexing with her while waiting to train her to ride. She didn't get trained to ride until she was at least 3 because she had issues with her legs before we got her. By the time I did start to ride her, she was very soft in giving her head to pressure.

I never planned on showing her and she would be mainly a pasture ornament and seldom rode. I saw no reason to have her in a bit. She will get arthritis younger than most horses because of the injuries to her legs the vet told us. If we showed or worked her hard, it would set in sooner.

We only trail ride. As long as she stays responsive without the bit, she won't have one, but that does mean keeping her responsive. Granted, I haven't been doing that in the last few years and she is 8 this year, I rode her once last year and she did well.
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post #5 of 6 Old 03-01-2014, 05:00 PM
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If a horse figures out that by raising his nose he can run thro it and do what he wants.....good luck.
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post #6 of 6 Old 03-02-2014, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by disastercupcake View Post
I guess it just depends on what your goals are.

If you show, your horse has to ride in a bit, and the proper one at that.

If you don't, anything that your horse accepts without pain, discomfort or apprehension is fine. Your imagination is the limit. Take into account the practicality of it too; do you want finesse or a trail buddy?


Though it is technically possible to do very fine movements just with a collar, not everyone is able to do it. Youtube is full of videos of people who ride with nothing on the horse's head, doing amazing stuff, what we don't see is all the people who tried and failed

"Bitless" is like "with a bit" in this regard: different options might be uncomfortable to some horses. There are horses who'll even prefer a plain snaffle over a bitless option that hurts their face.

So if you decide that you want to go bitless, decide what to buy with the same care that you would use when choosing a bit, the "ehy it's bitless so it's always good" is absolute crap, there are some very harsh bitless options out there.
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