What does a bitless bridle do, compared to an average bridle? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 40 Old 06-11-2013, 08:29 PM
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I use a rope halter. I don't know if I'm missing out on something by not using a bit, but so far I have had no issues with just a halter. They're really easy to tie as well. I took out the fiador knot because I preferred to pull further up near the cheek/lip instead of under the chin, and when I was attaching rope to the side of the halter just above the fiador the knot kept coming undone and the halter would loosen up so much it was literally falling off.

Plus you can get a custom size you prefer and any other fancy stuff you want. The last one I made I really like so far. It has no chin knot and of course no fiador knot. The nose band is more open, "bigger circle", and it ties directly to the throat latch knot. I also tied in some side pulls. Super simple to do.

A little tip if you tie your own, keep track of the measurements so if you want to change something you have a starting point.

Here's a link to tying your own rope halter. Tie Your Own Simple Rope Halter - Natural Horse Supply

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post #12 of 40 Old 06-11-2013, 08:40 PM
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I haven't used a bit in about 1 1/2 yrs - rope reins attached to my mare's halters work beautifully, not to mention their noticeable comfort. Living in a wilderness setting permits me to be casual in that manner, and it's sheer bliss for the three of us! :)
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post #13 of 40 Old 06-11-2013, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by waresbear View Post
A bosal is allowed in western shows for a horse 5 and under after that they have to be bridled. In English, as far as I know, for flat classes & hunter, no bitless bridles, as for jumpers, I haven't checked the rules but I will & get back. This would be for Equine Canada sanctioned competitions. The reason bitless bridles are not permitted in English is because a horse must be on bit and collected, something not achieved bitless.
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A lot of people would argue that you can achieve a horse that is 'on the bit' and collected with no bit. Albeit it requires more time and training- but it can be done :)
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post #14 of 40 Old 06-12-2013, 04:29 AM
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The halter is the literider bitless. Australian design

Very easy on the horse a strap goes under the chin and reins attached really simple. Works on pressure on the pole the nose strap and the side pull under the chin.

My horse Stella had never been bitless and had not been ridden for 4 months so it was a leap of faith.

Took her out with three other horses she was as high as could be and I expected her to explode, well, she didn't. Stella spent 10 minutes getting used to the feel of the side pull as against the pull of a bit then settled down to her work. She gave me total control and no arguing. This design doubles as a halter.
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post #15 of 40 Old 06-12-2013, 05:21 AM
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I agree with disastercupcake!
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post #16 of 40 Old 06-12-2013, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by disastercupcake View Post
A lot of people would argue that you can achieve a horse that is 'on the bit' and collected with no bit. Albeit it requires more time and training- but it can be done :)
or bridleless


this is a bitless one
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post #17 of 40 Old 06-12-2013, 10:03 AM
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Horses have a vote. Bitless works pretty good with Trooper, although we usually use a bit. I may try switching Cowboy to bitless. He is a former lesson horse, and I think some of his problems (all in an arena - does fine on a trail) are caused by beginning riders teaching him bits mean pain instead of bits mean communication. Mia does not do well bitless...having ridden her that way for several years. She is very focused about everything, to the point of being a bit anal. 'Relax' isn't in her vocabulary.

Just as there are a lot of bits, there are also a lot of bitless designs. We used a rope sidepull. It is a very simple design, but a horse who didn't do well in it might do well in the Lightrider mentioned above, or a Dr Cook (although I despise the guy so I wouldn't buy one of his products) or even a leather sidepull designed to prevent it from riding up the horse's face.

Mia is currently in a western curb bit, and doing very well. I'll continue using it for at least another year, but may then try her in a simple hackamore.

Originally Posted by disastercupcake View Post
A lot of people would argue that you can achieve a horse that is 'on the bit' and collected with no bit. Albeit it requires more time and training- but it can be done :)
For show purposes, that is irrelevant. Shows set up rules based on the more poorly trained competitors, since they don't want people or horses to get hurt. The rules are about 'what could go wrong', not 'what might go right'.

For non-show purposes, that depends on how you define 'on the bit' and how much 'collection' you desire. In many cases, some training with a bit would be required. That was why we first put Trooper into a bit...he was unbalanced in turns, falling in with the shoulder and tipping his head to the outside for balance. A rope halter won't fix that. You need more control of the tip of the nose. I suppose we could have spent months trying to teach him, but it was much kinder to Trooper to stick a bit in his mouth and teach him in a couple of rides.

Bits are for communication, not pain. When you are trying to teach a horse something new, communication is a good thing. I don't desire to ride our horses 'on the bit', but it would be hard on the horse to teach them more advanced collection without using a bit. It would be like using Shakespeare to teach a young child how to read. Not impossible, perhaps, but not fair either.

"Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing...well, ignore it mostly."
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post #18 of 40 Old 06-12-2013, 11:02 AM
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If you're going to do it on a long term basis then a properly designed bitless bridle is generally going to fit better and get a better response than a halter/headcollar that IMO is designed for leading a horse in
I wouldn't splash out until you've tried riding in a halter that you can attach reins to on either side - not from the centre point at the back where you attach a lead rope as that's going to confuse a horse that's not trained to neck rein
We had an OTTB that had no brakes at all in any bit - other than to use something really ferocious that was likely to sore his mouth and stop him going forwards over jumps. He was perfect in an English hackamore
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post #19 of 40 Old 06-12-2013, 11:39 AM
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Things that people do bitless - its all in the training - but safety should always come first
Dressage in a Dr Cook - the horse gets behind the vertical at times which proves its not the hands on a bit causing pain that will make a horse do that
more bitless dressage
And lastly the Bridleless not Brainless Team chase group - cross country racing we have in the UK. Sadly I think insurance companies forced competition sites to stop them doing it yet they never had an accident in many years
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post #20 of 40 Old 06-12-2013, 02:19 PM
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I figured that pictures were easier to understand than me trying to explain it. Here's the one I tied recently. I like it so far and I'm sure I'll find a couple things with it that I want to change on the next one I tie. Such as removing the nose knots, and going with a thicker rope. And I'll also make sure to measure the rope before I start tying. I thought it was the correct length but it was twice as long as needed and the rope twisted so much from pulling it through all those knots...then there won't be all those twists in the halter.
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Truth passes through three stages. First it is ridiculed. Second it is violently opposed. Third it is accepted as self evident.

Last edited by totalfreedom; 06-12-2013 at 02:23 PM.
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