I have just acquired a wester style bitless bridle. I would like to try it on my 7y/o Rocky Mountain gelding, who absolutely hates bits, and is using an English hackamore right now. He does wonderful in it but I believe it may be too harsh for him because he is beginning to throw his head when I stop him. I got it for 35$ at a peddlers mall(I know) and it looks a bit like this one, except the nose band is just flat leather. Anyone know anything about them?
Which one does it look like? No link or pictures came through.
If he's tossing his head with a bitless, you might want to have your vet look him over. When was the last time his teeth were done? And did a vet do it? Sharp points on the teeth can cause discomfort if they're on the outside edges near where the bitless brilde rests on the face. He could also have some other issue like a tooth abcess, inner ear issue, or anything else troubling him where the bridle sits, on/near his poll, or behind the jaw.
This is just my personal opinion, but I feel that just because a horse doesn't like bits doesn't mean you should go out and buy a bitless bridle. I don't of course know you, but most of the time horses go bad in a bit because riders are all hands. What bit were you using on him? Was it the right size and was the bridle fitted correctly? Did you get a professional to ride him and assess him? Has he had his teeh done?
Yeah the link got messed up.
Anyway, I think the tossing is just him being a brat. I checked all where the bridle goes on his head, and there are no signs of any discomfort. And luvs, he recently had his teeth done. He is young and sound, and full of himself. Gidji, I understand your point. No offense taken, but long before I made the decision to use a hackamore, I studied up on it and heard plenty of horror stories on horses having their nose bones broken, so I always keep in mind that pressure on his face. But you have a good point to bring it up. I think it might clear things up to hear his story.
(I apologize for the length)
Got him as a weanling. He was to be nothing more than a field companion for my beloved welsh pony. At my age I was, to put, naive, I thought he was the best thing in the world(the pony). I now look back and wonder how I didn't get killed. But anyway. Slim. He was supposed to be no good, just an ugly little mountain horse. (The same person I got him from asks me today to buy him each time she sees him) When he was ready to be trained, we sent him to a Tennessee Walking horse guy. Long story short, he almost ruined him, if it wern't for the fact that he is so good natured. He came back to us with huge sores on the corners of his mouth, and every time you put his bridle on, he just got worked up into a huge lather. Well we got him out of that, and he hardly listens to the bit. He was just so.. tense. I rode him a couple of times with a halter, and someone suggested a hackamore. I tried it, and it worked better.
And now, on a whim, I bought this bridle. It looks brand new. And I figured if it doesnt work out for him, I can use it on another horse for $35.
I have the exact same bridle! I love it! I was using just a halter on him before. He is really bad with bits like tossed his head and tries to bite you and Gizmo is not a horse that gets aggressive. I think he was really abusing with the bit. But I love going bit less actually. This gives great control and stop. Gizmo is really good with it. He really likes it. Before I got Gizmo though, I didn't really believe in it all that much. But I figure, if he stops him, and I have control and he respects it then it works and that is all he needs. Here is a side view picture of it. I don't have any front views, only really far away ones.
My mare hates bits, and behaves beautifully with a bitless bridle. She'll accept a bit in her mouth, but tosses her head and acts irritated the entire ride...and yes, her teeth have been checked and are fine. We were told the previous owner used a harsher bit in an attempt to deal with lack of control issues, and a harsher bit didn't solve the problem - so she sent the mare back to the charity, and I was able to buy her.
My gelding seems to feel more secure when using a bit. He gets worried when he doesn't know what you expect of him, and the bit helps him to understand.
The mare I recently sold was ridden bitless by me, and with a bit by my daughter, with no difference that I could see.
The way I figure it, if your horse will obey you happily without a bit, why use one? But if your horse WANTS or needs a bit, why not?