Yeah... I get what your saying BHC. I ride western, so is a bitless bridle for English? I know the hackamore is more western style, but I heard you had to have the horse brought up on it. ( what do I know, haha) so I guess my other question is... If my horse doesn't follow her head, do I keep the bit or do I try something else?
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Bitless bridles are used for either western or English...as are hackamores. There are also several different types of hackamores (mechanical, side pulls, etc). Hackamores (and I would assume bitless bridles as well) are more severe than bits and, from my understanding, are really best used with neck reining.
That being said, my friend's two arabs (16yo mare and 9yo gelding) will only ride out in hackamores. The mare takes a very mild side pull, while the gelding works best in a Little S hackamore.
Horses don't have to be trained from the start to accept a hackamore or bitless bridle. My friend's mare was started in a snaffle (as far as we know...she was a rescue, but we're assuming she was ridden in a snaffle because she is trained for lower level dressage) and then moved onto a hackamore for endurance and trails. If you're in the arena, she's a dream with a french link snaffle. Out on the trail, you'd better have a hackamore on her or you're asking for a fight. Her gelding won't accept a bit AT ALL, however.
My BO is breaking Aires for me and he wants to eventually put him in a hackamore, but I told him no. Aires has such a soft mouth and I have light hands, so a french link snaffle works perfectly for us. He's used to putting hackamores on his dude string horses so that the trail riders are reefing on their poor mouths (his older horses don't like the hackamores and ride in curbs...the younger horses that he broke take hackamores with no problem and some of them are even used as lesson horses).