What do you all think of bitless bridles? Some people swear by them and don't use anything else. Are they better for a horse? Less painful? Can any horse use them? Will any horse respond to them? Are the cues different?
I bought a Dr. Cook bitless bridle this last spring. I tried it once and felt I just didn't have the control I needed. This was at a time when I had just recovered from a horse related injury. Vida and I had both pretty much had the winter off, and my confidence was nill. I need to get it back out and give it another try. I think it depends on how well your horse responds to all the cues. I really like the idea of them.
Any new piece of equipment will need a period of adjustment for your horse. I've heard the same things about horses that like or dislike the bridle but sometimes that is just a matter of conditioning.
Personally I prefer a bit. It gives a much more precise signal to a horse and as any horseman will tell you, a bit is only as severe as the hands on the reins.
The only way I would use a "bitless" bridle would be in place of riding a horse in his halter - but that's a personal thing. I've never seen a trainer, showman, or clinician use one so that tells me something too.
I think it depends on horse a lot. My qh goes fine bitless (although I don't have enough control to stop her from grazing), but my paint doesn't like it because of the pressure on nose and poll. She prefers bit.
BTW, search for topics. I remember there was ocean of topics on bitless bridles and different variations of it. :)
I think the bitless bridle is still in its invention stage. I know it's been around for like 25 years, but every couple years they keep improving it. I have seen a lot of show jumpers use it, the criss cross on the bottom allows for more nose and pole pressure. I believe it is better than anything else similar to it, such as side pulls and even mechanical hacks (although you don't have the leverage). A person who has heavy hands can seriously injure a horse in a bitless bridle, as there is a lot of nose pressure. I am breaking my horse in one, and he is doing just beautifully.
Thanks for the info guys. I'm going to stick with a regular bit because Jubilee's so used to it. Plus, I notice when I ride in a halter and lead, she's always fishing around for a bit that ain't there! Lol. I was just curious though. If I had a younger horse I might consider it.
My trainer has a bitless bridle but mostly she uses them in lessons with kids who don't know how to hold their hands steady and are always jerking on the reins. Once you are over that stage, she has you use bits.