which is better? Dr Cooks bitless bridle or NURTURAL BITLESS BRIDLE?? - Page 2
   

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which is better? Dr Cooks bitless bridle or NURTURAL BITLESS BRIDLE??

This is a discussion on which is better? Dr Cooks bitless bridle or NURTURAL BITLESS BRIDLE?? within the Horse Tack Reviews forums, part of the Horse Tack category
  • Two horse tack bitless bridle
  • Bitless pony bridle review lily

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    03-24-2012, 05:48 PM
  #11
Weanling
I decided on a Nurtural bridle. I got a pony size off ebay. It's what she'll be trained in so hopefully she will respect it. :)
     
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    05-19-2012, 07:53 AM
  #12
Foal
I saw you already made your decision, but anyway.. I got Nurtural bridles both in synthetic and leather version, and a Dr. Cook type bridle, and I'd always go for the Nurtural, because the cheek straps are fixed together and won't interfere with each other. If you pull on the left rein and then on the right rein and try to release the left rein (in case your right cheek strap is crossed over the left cheek strap) it will be stuck under the other strap, completely ruining your release. The Nurtural doesn't have this problem because of the Circle-X (it also doesn't slip because of the rubber on the noseband). I'd also recommend not using a synthetic material as the release is bad, the stuff just doesn't slip.

As for what people are saying about bitless bridles like this not releasing - not true. The only thing that is fixed is the noseband, the other straps are just loosely hanging around the horse's face, until you touch the reins. Once you and your horse are well accustomed to this bridle (and you have soft hands and know to ride with gentle touches instead of hard yanks), you won't need a lot of pressure at all to get the message accross, so there's barely any possibility of the bridle pulling tight and not releasing.

And about the horses not understanding the message because of the pressure at the cheeks - think about it, the cheek straps go through rings on the nose. If you have had your average physics lesson about pulleys, you'd know that with a pulley the pressure is equally divided between both straps, meaning the noseband on that side and the cheek strap get equal pressure when you pull on the rein. The only thing that's different is that your noseband is secured around the nose and won't move, so the cheek strap ends up running through the ring and putting pressure on the opposite side of the face, which makes for a pushing action against the cheek on the other side and a pulling action on the nose. Of course this effect goes away when you pull on both reins, but if you're steering with just your reins, and especially steering with both reins, you should get a few lessons. I only use my bridle to tell my horse where to put his head and use my body to direct the rest of his.
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    05-19-2012, 10:49 AM
  #13
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jierda    
...As for what people are saying about bitless bridles like this not releasing - not true. The only thing that is fixed is the noseband, the other straps are just loosely hanging around the horse's face, until you touch the reins. Once you and your horse are well accustomed to this bridle (and you have soft hands and know to ride with gentle touches instead of hard yanks), you won't need a lot of pressure at all to get the message accross, so there's barely any possibility of the bridle pulling tight and not releasing...
In my experience with my horses, it is true. No, it does not have a vise-like clamp around the horse's face, but it doesn't have the instant release of pressure that a side-pull has. Both horses I used with them became irritable, and were fine when I went back to a cheap side-pull.

It may be different with a different brand or material. The ones I used were made out of marine rope, and maybe biothane or leather gives a faster relief. It could also be that a difference in the horse's face or some other variable gave different results.

I've switched to using a bit on two of my horses because they get excited when cantering, and a bit allows me to calm them at the canter rather than just slow them down. I'm thinking about switching our newest horse from using a bit to bitless because of some training issues with him. As usual, different horses have different responses and needs...
     
    05-19-2012, 11:02 AM
  #14
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms    
In my experience with my horses, it is true. No, it does not have a vise-like clamp around the horse's face, but it doesn't have the instant release of pressure that a side-pull has. Both horses I used with them became irritable, and were fine when I went back to a cheap side-pull.

It may be different with a different brand or material. The ones I used were made out of marine rope, and maybe biothane or leather gives a faster relief. It could also be that a difference in the horse's face or some other variable gave different results.
I think the material definitely has a big part in it, and also the inability with any kind of rope halter to really fit it snugly to your horse's head without it slipping. What also matters is the default tightness of your reins. I can't imagine having no release if you normally ride with your reins in an arc or just very light contact, unless the material is too rough to slide back through the ring smoothly, or somehow moves over your horse's head so it can't move back. I'm not even talking about a horse's responses to it (you're right, those are different), just he biomechanics of the bridle itself.
The size of the head and nose and the size bridle might also be an issue.. It's easy to imagine that the less bend in the strap you're pulling on, the easier the release will come, so logically if the rings on your bridle are more towards the chin, your release will be better.

Thing is, I have tried riding my horse in a sidepull (the noseband of my Dr. Cook type bridle without the cheek straps with reins attached to the rings on the noseband) and the problem is that one-rein half halts just don't seem to come through to where I want them. Also my horse has the tendency to hang on the reins, and the only result of hanging on a bridle with running straps is that he will it tighter himself. Since we've been using the Nurtural he has completely stopped dropping his head's weight into my hands, until I tried it with that sidepull.

Are you sure it's the release that made your horse's agitated, and not the multitude of signals a cross-over bridle can give? Pressure on the nose, on the cheek and on the poll for just one cue can be confusing for some horses, and some also just don't like the sensation of something hugging their head.
     
    05-19-2012, 12:03 PM
  #15
Trained
Various bitless were the only thing Mia was ridden in for 3 years. I used them about 50% of the time with Trooper over about 2 years. Normal was slack in the reins.

I can't be certain WHY they didn't like it. I just know they behaved much better and responded more willingly with the side-pulls. However, looking at it from the ground, I could duplicate where there was not a full release of pressure with the cross-under design I used. I only tried the one design, but since they were already doing much better in a side-pull I didn't keep trying.

Trooper loves to canter. He behaves good during the canter, but afterward he gets very wound up in anticipation of cantering again. The good news is that I can just say "Go!" and he'll explode into a canter. The bad news is that if I don't want to canter again, he becomes difficult to control. Anything he views as pulling back is cause for a fight. But with a snaffle, if I milk the reins a little with my little finger, not saying 'no' but 'not so much', he'll calm down enough for a decent trot. Mia does something similar, but during the canter or on a trail for no visible reason that I know of. Again, anything she views as a 'no' results in a fight and greater excitement. With the bit, I can communicate, 'Not QUITE that fast' and she'll slow.

Our newest horse is a former lesson horse. He pulls so hard at the bit that I may go bitless with him. If he decides to run, we'll just run. He seems to have picked up the idea that a bit is something to fight against rather than a tool for communication. It may be that riding bitless will help him listen more to the seat and legs - cues he knows, but ignores when he fights with the bit.

That is one of the reasons I'm reading the bitless threads - to see if a different design might work with him. He can't fight a bit if he doesn't have one, and I'm willing to ride him at a gallop as many times around the arena as it takes for him to want to slow down.
     
    05-19-2012, 02:40 PM
  #16
Foal
Well, I wish I could lend you one of my Nurturals to try out, lol. As I said, my horse quit pulling because of the closing effect of the bridle, which you will completely lack with a sidepull.. It might just work with yours. Either way I think leather is the best material to go with, as long as you keep oiling it regularly so it will stay smooth. I've been thinking of modifying one of my bridles to put the ring the cheek straps go through back towards the jaw to loosen the bend in the straps, and possibly with an elastic piece in between to lessen the yanking effect of a half halt and smoothen our communication even more. If you want I'll keep you updated.. I might just make a nice thread with all the types of bitless bridles for info, if it isn't there yet.

Something you could also very easily try with your new horse, ride him in a snug fitting rope halter and a noseband-less bitted bridle, and two sets of reins. If you are looking to ride him in a bit at the end, you can start with using the rope halter to communicate, and eventually go back more and more to the bit once he has learned to be responsive to you on the halter. This way you can always fall back on the halter when he decides to fight. I think it would be possible to make the same bitless/bitted combination with sidepull if you can fix them together some way, if he turns out to react better to a sidepull.
     
    05-19-2012, 07:00 PM
  #17
Weanling
Since the thread was revived I figured I would talk about my experience thus far. Lily has been getting trained in the Nurtural for the last month and half. The trainer started off with long reining with a surcingle in the round pen. He was amazed with how well she responded to the bridle considering it gives a muted signal compared to a bit. She is being ridden now. I was able to ride her for the first time last week and it was amazing to me the difference between riding her green,in that bridle and riding the bitted, well-trained, Arabian I had been in lessons. The reins felt tight the whole time, like I was hauling on her even though I wasn't and she was not showing any signs of being upset. It was difficult to keep the reins where they should be on my body while keeping them short enough for her to feel it when I was suppling her. Also, he was asking me to reinforce moving a direction with leg contact so she will move off leg pressure. It was so much to remember and do, but it was a thrill to be on my horse and riding. Such a difference, however, to Medley whom does anything at the lightest touch of my hands and my legs. Lol
     

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