Dr Cooks Bitless Bridle - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 06-04-2013, 01:07 AM Thread Starter
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Dr Cooks Bitless Bridle

Has anybody tried using Dr Cooks bitless bridles? I currently have my gelding in a copper snaffle and he doesn't like it at all. He has a very soft mouth, stops and turns with the slightest touch. Lately he has been tossing his head around, sticking his tongue out and is obviously in discomfort. I have had his teeth checked and they are perfect. Because of his head movement, I've been riding in a halter, and he has been a dream. So, instead of trying another bit, I would love to try a bitless bridle. I don't compete or anything, I just trail ride, and I want him to be as comfortable and happy as possible.
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post #2 of 20 Old 06-04-2013, 06:11 AM
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I tried one and hated it-my horse was so intimidated by the pressure he would not move. I prefer a rope halter if I am going bitless.....but obviously you cannot use that in every situation. Perhaps one of those happy mouth bits?

I do know there are folks who swear by the Dr. Cooks.....it seems to me that there is no in between. Folks either love or hate them. Good luck!

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post #3 of 20 Old 06-04-2013, 08:59 AM
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We have the Dr Cook bitless bridles and quite happy with them - there are better designs coming on the market all the time but I find the action of this style doesn't put pressure on the nose which is what you get with a halter or a hackamore. They stay put and don't slide around which I also like
The only way you'd get enough pressure to intimidate I'd think would be if the horse was pulling against your hands in which case I don't think a bitless bridle of any sort would be what you'd want
I also use Happy Mouth bits - you have to check for signs of chewing on them but I've not had a problem with it. I like the shaped mullen mouth one the best.
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post #4 of 20 Old 06-04-2013, 09:54 AM
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I expect to continue riding using bits, but some horses do great bitless. The rope halter style I used could go way up on their face, and that wasn't good. The Dr Cook would worry me (without having tried one - just looking at the design) because it might not give a release very fast.

If I ever go back to bitless, this is what I'd like to try. It can be bought with a jowl strap to keep the sidepull attachment closer to the end of the face:



Buckaroo Leather - SidePull Bitless Headstall Old West Silver

"People can teach us the rules, but only horses can teach us the art of riding."
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post #5 of 20 Old 06-04-2013, 10:33 AM
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^^^ I do like the look of these - I've said it to you before, I really must look to getting one this summer
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post #6 of 20 Old 06-05-2013, 09:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaydee View Post
We have the Dr Cook bitless bridles and quite happy with them - there are better designs coming on the market all the time but I find the action of this style doesn't put pressure on the nose which is what you get with a halter or a hackamore. They stay put and don't slide around which I also like
The only way you'd get enough pressure to intimidate I'd think would be if the horse was pulling against your hands in which case I don't think a bitless bridle of any sort would be what you'd want
I also use Happy Mouth bits - you have to check for signs of chewing on them but I've not had a problem with it. I like the shaped mullen mouth one the best.
No, not actually. My horse would not move in it from the first step, so I had not been pulling at all. They do not, in fact, give the release quickly enough to reward the horse, IMO. Some horses respond poorly to poll pressure, which is what this works on.

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post #7 of 20 Old 06-05-2013, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by franknbeans View Post
No, not actually. My horse would not move in it from the first step, so I had not been pulling at all. They do not, in fact, give the release quickly enough to reward the horse, IMO. Some horses respond poorly to poll pressure, which is what this works on.
Different horses respond better to different things. I cant honestly say that we have to put enough force on them to put any pressure on the poll as the lightest touch is enough to have effect
You really have to go with whatever works best for you with anything
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post #8 of 20 Old 06-05-2013, 12:47 PM
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Just want to add that Dr. Cook's are not the only bitless bridles; I only use bitless with my QHXMorgan and with my TWH, but each of them uses a different style of bitless; the QH/Morgan mare likes the Nurtural Horse bridle and the TWH uses a LightRider Bitless Bridle (you can find both online ); the TWH let me know that she didn't like the Nurtural Horse bridle, but the LightRider works very well for her; each bridle creates pressure in different places, but minimal cueing is required if seat and leg cues are clear and understood by the horse; in the past I have often found that it wasn't the equipment, but my lack of connection to the horse that created problems when in the saddle; nothing beats ground work to raise that level of understanding between rider and horse; when you have that, equipment is a secondary consideration, wouldn't you agree?
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post #9 of 20 Old 06-05-2013, 01:05 PM
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No, I don't agree that equipment is secondary to a level of understanding raised by groundwork. I think equipment can be critical. Use the wrong bit and your horse may become a pissed off horse. Go bitless, and it may work great...or not.

I believe in training, which usually involves a habitual response to a cue inputted to the horse via some tack, repeated until it seems instinctive. I have a gelding who doesn't like me, but he is well trained and is obedient. My mare likes me fine, but she isn't well trained so her responses are a lot more problematic.

I do strongly agree that a horse might respond well to one bitless bridle, and hate another - just as they have different responses to different bits.

"People can teach us the rules, but only horses can teach us the art of riding."
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post #10 of 20 Old 06-05-2013, 01:10 PM
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Im not into bitless personally, never had a horse that seemed like they would work well in it. But after hearing concern of slow release with Dr. Cooks, couldnt one just add a small amount of weight to the under jaw straps to increase the speed of release and prevent the rein straps from holding pressure on the poll to clarify cues? Seems like a simple solution to me.

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