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Go The Distance 05-18-2009 04:04 PM

Bitless bridles- young horse? pros/cons-need help!!
 
I am currently training my 2 year old arabian filly (pictured in my display pic). she will take a bit, i use a simple loose O ring snaffle on her. (NO. she is NOT being ridden! my boss owns her, and he wants to see more progress under-saddle wise. just getting her acustomed to things.) i have been reading alot about these bitless bridles, but im a bit skeptical. i found one for very cheap on ebay, and i thought i might give it a go.

i ride at an endurance barn, were we always use a bit. my biggest concern is having a horse take off with me when we are at a gallop. :S

my second question is..can these be used to train young horses? would it be wiser to use a bit then switch to these later?

what are your experences? im hearing alot of good things about them...any cons i should be aware of?

thank you very much!

smrobs 05-18-2009 04:34 PM

Some horses really like them and others absolutely hate them. Just to kinda test how she would react to bitless is to use a rope halter instead of buying a bitless bridle that she may hate. One question though, if she is getting along well in the snaffle why are you looking to change it? Are you just wanting something a little softer or is it your goal to have her going bitless?

I don't use them personally but from what I hear, the horse will either love it or hate it. Yes they can be used to train a young horse and the amount of control you have in a certain headstall depends on the quality of training the horse has had.

Vidaloco 05-18-2009 04:59 PM

Funny you should bring this up :lol:
I just dug out my Dr. Cooks bitless bridle that I bought a year or so ago. I tried to use it on my mare when I got it but she had an ear infection and wouldn't let me put it on. I hung it up in the tack barn and forgot about it.
I'm in the process of saddle breaking a couple of 3 year olds. I was thinking about getting a side pull halter to use in conjunction with a bit for their training. I remembered my Dr. Cook and have been using it the last couple of days. I think it is really helping to get the idea across to them more so than just a rope halter and the bit.
I even got up the courage to take my mare out on the trails with it today (I put my bridle and bit in my saddle bag) I did some work with her in the round pen before we took off and she did great. I'm very impressed with the Dr. Cook.
Its the cheaper biothane not the leather. I'm sure they both work the same,

masatisan 05-18-2009 06:04 PM

One thing that irks me is people who think bitless bridles (especially the straps-crossed-under-the-chin-kind) have no stopping power. This is so far from the truth it's unbelivable. Cross-strap designs in fact are VERY STRONG in both turning and stopping ability. They have no limit as to how tightly the straps tighten around the head when the reins are pulled (comparable to a choke-chain on a dog). It also means that it has a very strong effect while turning, the straps push against the entire side of the face and distribute the pressure evenly along it. Also it is important to place the noseband properly for the same reasons as with a hackamore.

As for switching to a bit, I cant really give any advice on that, I can tell you though that my barn owner often puts bitless bridles on new horses he buys that have been on bits, without any problems or training to get them used to it.

My horse doesn't react that well to it, I don't know why but whenever I use it on him he becomes very wiggly in the body.

JustDressageIt 05-18-2009 06:05 PM

Some horses love them, others hate them.
Denny, my OTTB gelding, is one of the horses that HATES them with a passion. I can ride him in a halter no problem, but toss a bitless on and he's a different horse.
The only concern I have with bitless bridles is:
- Resale; if you ever have to sell this horse, people want to be able to put a bit in its mouth - if you're going to be doing this anyways, then it's a moot point
- A lot of people buy a bitless bridle thinking it's kinder to the horse, or the horse has developed a habit that people want to avoid, like head tossing or grinding the teeth; usually this is a problem much grander than a bit, like an ill-fitting saddle or teeth that need work. The misconception that bits are cruel is a big one; in the right hands a bit is absolutely not cruel.

Bottom line is if you want to ride in one, absolutely go for it, just make sure you aren't doing it to cover up for another problem.

I have a suggestion:
- It is a completely different sensation on the horse's face than any other piece of equipment you'll ever use. It's different than a halter and different than a bridle, so introduce it slowly like you are bitting a horse for the first time, because it can take a while for the horse to get used to.

Go The Distance 05-18-2009 09:08 PM

i see i see.
Now masatisan, i suppose you are right! i guess im just being reluctant because its new and unfarmiliar! lol! :D

We just work on stopping and turning from the ground, she chomps (im getting her teeth done soon) and sometimes foams at the mouth with her bit. is this just from her getting used to it?

and i read about horses bolting from pain from the bit, is this true?
i do trail riding, i notice they get excited on the way home, some of the testimonies claimed that "they wouldn't rush home to get that awful thing out of their mouth." i always heard the horses just want to go home, but whatever they want to think :S. is this true as well?

kitten_Val 05-18-2009 09:31 PM

Can you just use side-pull or english hackamore with reins attached? That's what I did when I started my youngsters. However I found out they prefer the bit, especially my paint (and not any bit, she doesn't like Korsteel, for example :) ). Because they don't like pulling on nose in any way. I didn't use bitless bridle on them, but I don't like the idea of it anyway.

JustDressageIt 05-18-2009 10:51 PM

Bolting from pain of the bit? Usually horses that are hurting from a bit will evade it by dropping behind the vertical, tossing their heads, backing or rearing. Some might ignore the pain of a bit when they take off and run, but most will do the opposite.
I do suggest getting teeth looked at regardless of the horse, and get them floated and in good health. Then I suggest starting out with a double jointed snaffle bit as you won't get the crackerjack action of the single jointed snaffle, and go from there.
If the rider's hands are good, there should be no worry of hurting the horse :)

luvs2ride1979 05-19-2009 12:35 AM

I started two horses bitless, first in a plain leather halter, then switched to a cross-under bitless (Dr Cook knock-off), then finally to a bit down the road. My thinking was that the bit was just one more thing for the horse to worry about, why not save it until later?

As for running off, a horse can just as easily run off with a bit, given the right motivation... A bit is a false sense of security. If you work in the arena on giving to pressure and voice commands, as well as sacking out and teaching her the appropriate responses to scary situations, then you will be far less likely to have any problems with her running off on you, no matter what kind of bit or bridle you use.

I have a Nurtural No-Bit Bridle in Biothane now. I use it for trail riding, kids lessons, and if friends come over and want to ride. My horses are also trained for snaffle and curb work, and they response great to all types of head gear ;-).

Vidaloco 05-19-2009 08:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by luvs2ride1979 (Post 309759)
I started two horses bitless, first in a plain leather halter, then switched to a cross-under bitless (Dr Cook knock-off), then finally to a bit down the road. My thinking was that the bit was just one more thing for the horse to worry about, why not save it until later?

As for running off, a horse can just as easily run off with a bit, given the right motivation... A bit is a false sense of security. If you work in the arena on giving to pressure and voice commands, as well as sacking out and teaching her the appropriate responses to scary situations, then you will be far less likely to have any problems with her running off on you, no matter what kind of bit or bridle you use.

I have a Nurtural No-Bit Bridle in Biothane now. I use it for trail riding, kids lessons, and if friends come over and want to ride. My horses are also trained for snaffle and curb work, and they response great to all types of head gear ;-).


Thank you for that! My friend who is helping me train my filly's had me putting the bit in just so they get used to it. I'm just really unhappy about using the bit this early in their training. They seem to be so busy playing with the bit, they aren't paying attention to anything else.

As far as running off with the bitless. A horse can "hold" a bit in their mouth and run through it. With the bitless you have complete control of their head so its easier to do a one rein stop. At least it makes sense in my little brain :lol:


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