Bitless recommendations please - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 04-19-2012, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 286
• Horses: 4
Bitless recommendations please

Hi all
I would like to find a bitless bridle for two of our horses. They are our distance riding horses who will be ridden, most days, for at least six or seven hours. No one style of riding, sometimes one hand holding the reins, sometimes two hands, work mostly at the walk.
Why bitless? First of all because it's just more convenient. It means freedom for eating, drinking and yawning. We had halter-bridles which were nice, but the halters got pinched off the horses while they were turned out... I digress. Second, because it's my preference.

So, onto the horses and their riders.

Horse #1.
9 years old, very sensible. Headstrong mare used before for ploughing. She's used to pulling through pressure. Goes fine in anything but stops better in a v. mild curb than in a loose-ring snaffle. Can neck rein. Can be ridden in a halter.
Rider for horse #1.
Novice rider still learning seat and leg aids. Hands on the heavy side when using them but not twitchy or busy when the reins are relaxed. Prefers a thicker rope rein (I don't even know if that's relevant but never mind )

Horse #2.
6 years old, just-bit-more-than-broke mare (she can tie, saddle and bridle-up, w/t and beginning to canter, lunge, turn and stop). Will learn to neck-rein but we have to get her direct-rein cues tidied up. Have tried loose-ring snaffle and a rubber mouthpiece and she doesn't like: looks to escape from even minimal pressure. Rides much, MUCH better in a bog-standard nylon halter than in anything with a bit. For that matter rides better in a leadrope twisted once round her nose. Has been started in a sort-of-bosal-style noseband with just one strap going up cheeks and over the poll, but with the reins attached to each side rather than underneath the noseband. Goes fine in this too.
Rider for horse #2.
Intermediate level. Light hands. No experience riding anything other than English. Seat OK and legs need work.

So, what bitless ideas do you have? The horses are in Chile where the supplies are, let's say, limited, but we have the possibility of buying in Europe or online from the US. I'd like something I could look at first but this isn't a necessity. I have some ideas but would be interested to hear your suggestions - so let's hear them!

AnnaHalford is offline  
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post #2 of 7 Old 04-21-2012, 04:07 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2012
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No ideas?
AnnaHalford is offline  
post #3 of 7 Old 04-23-2012, 07:12 PM
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Toronto
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Hi there,
I'm not sure about your specific situation with your horses, but I bought one of these bridles a few years ago and loved it. The Bitless Bridle by Dr. Robert Cook, FRCVS, Ph.D.
Good luck! Let me know if you have any specific questions about it.
foreveramber is offline  
post #4 of 7 Old 04-23-2012, 07:19 PM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: The woods in the mountains of Appalachia
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For horse #1 i would suggest her to stay in a bitted bridle on the note that she pulls through pressure. Unless you would like to reschool her in any form of bb. Hackamores are usually best, transitioning can take some time. Possibly a side pull may work for her, or an indian hackamore. Its kind of hard to answer directly.

As for horse #2 i think she would just be happy in anything bitless. A simple rope halter even if she is better than broke and responds well to the slightest of cues.

As for the riders, it takes some time to get used to the bb way of handling horses, it does feel weird at first, but if the horse responds well, confidence will come back.
I personally ride in Dr. Cooks cross under bitless bridle, on the simple note that my mare shut down when in a bitted bridle. And after some getting used to she performs beautifully. I haven't had too much experience with bitless bridles, i was always taught to ride in a bitted bridle, so i'm learning as i go too. Each horse is different and may require different types of tack.
Hope this helps some.... :)
Elizabeth Bowers is offline  
post #5 of 7 Old 04-23-2012, 08:04 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
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Not all horses like the way the Dr Cooks bitless bridles apply pressure. When I tried one on my horse he turned into a maniac and I had to emergency dismount. He didn't like the pressure on his head. However, he goes very nicely in a Little S hackamore.

I would try a bitless bridle and a hackamore and see which works out best - assuming you can afford one of each.
DancingArabian is offline  
post #6 of 7 Old 04-24-2012, 12:52 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2012
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Thanks for the replies so far.

Elizabeth, yes, I see how that information would point rather towards keeping her with a bit. Perhaps I should have said that she is capable of pulling through pressure - however, we have been reschooling her to pay attention to it and yield instead. I have read enough about the bitless bridles to know that some reschooling to get used to them will be necessary, but I hope that with the groundwork already done and the time we have before setting off, we'll get far enough down the right track.

I did think about this bridle for her, on the basis that it might make transitioning easier - plus I really like the fact that it can be a headcollar and a lunge cavesson... Welcome to William Micklem's Rambo Multibridle

Anyone got any experience with this bridle? I also looked at the Dr Cook's BB and it looks like a good option - I think that she would do well with whole-head pressure though DancingArabians you're right, I'm sure not all horses like it.

Question - do any of you use a Dr Cook's or a hackamore and ride with the reins in one hand? How is it?
AnnaHalford is offline  
post #7 of 7 Old 04-25-2012, 09:47 AM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: The woods in the mountains of Appalachia
Posts: 767
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When i ride my gelding i ride him in a hackamore, and ride with the reins in one hand. Its not too bad, neck reining really helps. It really doesn't feel any different than riding with a bitted bridle.
Elizabeth Bowers is offline  

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