Originally Posted by snazzydandy
Does anyone ride Bitless. I am curious. I ride alot with just the halter and wondered how much of a differance there is??
I ride all of my client horses bitless now. But I'll go to a bit if they want me to. No biggy.
I use a Nutural Bridle (but I turned it into a Dr Cook's by tearing off that thingy that holds the reins at the bottom. I like them to be freed up)
, perhaps the horses were not given a fair chance to get used to the Dr Cook's bitless? I found one horse who was frustrated by it the first ride. He would throw his head hard. Then the second ride he threw his head less. By the third ride and all the rides after that, he was just as fine as if he were being ridden in the 6" shank bit he came with**
There's a big difference (I found) between riding with a halter and a bitless of the type I mentioned.
A halter doesn't close around the horse's head. You have the leverage at the bottom and when you pick up the left rein, your horse feels the pressure all over his face. There's no "definite" spot of pressure, I mean.
The Dr Cook or Nutural (without the thingy at the bottom): you pick up on the left rein and the pressure is applied to the right side of his face and to his poll, all pushing him to turn his face to the left. You can apply a lot of pressure and you're just hugging that part of his head more. It doesn't have any harsh pressure points, regardless of how you use it. At least none that I have ever noticed.
Also, with a Bitless (Dr cook/nutural) you pick up on both reins and you ask for vertical give and the horse feels the pressure on the poll and the nose. Yes, some horses (at first) will fight this pressure, because like anything else in training, they need to get used to the feel, they can't escape it and for some, it can frustrate them especially if they're used to blowing through the rider's cues....but given a couple of rides, they get used to it and respond just fine.
I ride a quarter horse, a spotted saddle horse, a couple of fox trotters, an arabian, a couple of rocky mountain gaited horses all in the same Dr Cook Bitless.
I have taught the horse owners to ride in the bitless and they do just fine, too.
I really like it because you can bring the two rings together and voila you've got a halter.
Also, I've retrained horses that had very bad bit experiences (cracked tooth that lead to bucking and bolting, another the bit was way overused as a torture device, another had ulcers in her mouth and made ugly faces when bitted up once her mouth healed)...... with the bitless I found a very obvious change for the better in all of these horses.
They much preferred the bitless. Just yielded to pressure a heck of a lot easier and just seemed calmer and more willing. Yes, I gave the bits a fair shake with them at first, but chose to go bitless and it's really made a major difference with them, enough that I try to ride bitless all the time with every client, offering it as an alternative (if they choose to stick with the bit, I ride with the bit, no problem).
Long answer to a short question.