Hehehe well I used to ride banjo in rope halter , bareback too and that was along roads and beaches. I don't have paddocks that are rideable in so can only trail ride/ road ride.
I had galloped banjo with the rope halter bridle to ( saddle too tho not bareback ) down the beach and stuff.And this was literally a rope halter I found in my shed and attached reins to....wasnt one of those bought ropehalter bridles instores now...and my boy was fine for me, my mum and 9yr old cousin ( and he's by far not even a bombproof horse).
But yea.....i did have a small test ride before going on a big ride in it. I have since switched to a hackamore on him tho, as the ropehalter tended to slide up his face a little sometimes, and as a precaution for such experiences as you described ( he used to be a bolter when he got a fright :roll: ).
But yea as far as keeping control, going bitless is the same as if you were testing out a bit, there are a few to choose from, so while a ropehalter may not work for your horse hackamores or bosals or whatever may do and they should be tested in a safe place first