Hi, I'm thinking about starting my horse in a bitless bridle. I was owndering what the difference of an english hackamore and a Dr. Cooks bitless bridle? Or any other good bitless bridles that work well with a young horse. Thanks! Nicfish
I have been interested in getting a bitless bridle too. Rope halters were definitely not designed to ride in, and slip around and pull up to their eyes. That's not to say I haven't done it, but it seems like a bitless bridle or hackamore would provide clearer communication.
I really only ride in a little s hack or a snaffle. I really don't have a use for "bigger" bits. Occasionally I will use a short shanked bit with a broken mouth piece and/or a small gag action such as a jr cow horse or an argentine snaffle, but that's about it.
IMO, a little s hack is the way to go. I also like the Jim Warner hack, but I don't own one.
My mare is going to be 11, I got her at 3 and she was trained with a bite.....I worked with her in the round pen with just her halter and she responded excellent! I rode her 3yrs. With just the halter on trail rides and I did finally get a biteless bridle which I have been using the last couple of years. A biteless bridle gives pressure on certain spots like a rope halter does......
I love the Dr. Cook bitless bridle! The bitless bridle is much easier to transition a horse into from a regular bitted bridle than a halter, plus the bitless gives more control because of the "squeezing" action. I teach a lot of beginner riders and I switched all my lesson horses to the bitless. It still provides riders with control, but relieves the horses of punishing novice hands.
I have tried a few other brands of bitless and hackamores, but Dr. Cook's is my favorite. Great customer service from the company too!
For just getting a young horse started under saddle, I would want the simplest option available. After all, you wouldn't start a horse in a curb bit (nobody with any sense anyway), so why would you start a horse in a bitless bridle that has a dozen pressure points like those Dr Cooks types or any kind of mechanical hack (which includes a little s)?
I would go with something like a leather nose sidepull bridle if it was me. That is the bitless equivalent to a simple snaffle bit. Mild, clear cues, immediate release of pressure, etc.