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kathyk 05-03-2011 10:30 AM

bitless bridles questions
Hi everyone, I am considering a bitless bridle for a morgan/belgium cross that is a rescue. She was with a 'trainer' that used a twisted snaffle on her and the one time I bitted her, (mullen mouth bit) she was very anxious. I think she has been hurt quite a lot and might benefit from the bitless bridle. I only know what I have read about it...and would like to hear from someone who has experience with one. Thanks

ErikaLynn 05-03-2011 10:37 AM

You mean a hackamore? Hackamores are pretty strong, they put pressure on the pole and on the nose. I think hackamores only work on certain horses, I dont think it's the answer for horse that don't necessarily like bits in their mouth.

Maybe try a loose ring snaffle instead and ride on a loose rein for a little bit, and if she gets anxious, just ride her out of it. If you're relaxed the horse should relax with you. If she knows everything is OK with a bit in her mouth then she will be fine.

ArabianLover2456 05-03-2011 11:01 AM

The Bitless Bridle by Dr. Robert Cook, FRCVS, Ph.D.
this ones are great! there is
lots of information on the site :)

kathyk 05-03-2011 11:06 AM

No, I don't mean a hackamore...this is Dr. Cook's Bitless Bridle, it functions, from what I can understand, like hugging the horse's head..and uses pressure for turning and stopping. I am not sure about it, but this mare gets really upset if you try to bit her..and she is a big girl - don't want her to get too upset!

bellagris 05-03-2011 11:23 AM

I've used one a few times on my mare, she's a TWH and I had fairly good results with it, although once her wolfteeth were removed, she went better with a bit. In the bitless when she spooked, I was still able to remain in control.

I think if you are a confident rider it's worth a shot as they are functional. If i had to choose i would choose a bit, but thats a personal preference for me individually, i see nothing wrong with bitless. I am a firm believer in going with what works best with the horse always. If he works better bitless, then go for it.

Alwaysbehind 05-03-2011 11:30 AM


Originally Posted by kathyk (Post 1021760)
it functions, from what I can understand, like hugging the horse's head..and uses pressure for turning and stopping.

Hugging is such a warm and fuzzy word for pressure.

It puts pressure in places that pressure is uncomfortable so the horse reacts.

Nothing wrong with trying bitless. Lots of people do it. From what I understand horses who do not have brakes or control bitted certainly do not grow brakes and control bitless.

bellagris 05-03-2011 11:34 AM

yes, a couple of the mares at our barn were switched to bitless because they were extremely sensitive to the bit. Their motors grew, not their brakes, so they were switched back to the bit and are now after some time comfortable with it!

My mare, even for 3, is calm and more push than anything so with bitless she was okay. There is some draft in this horse so it may be an easy transition. But definitely research and be aware of what it does and doesnt do.

Snowkicker 05-03-2011 11:40 AM

I use a side pull on my gelding. He is a quiet easy going fine boned horse. My husband has a very spirited Belgian/Morab cross. I could not imagine trying the side pull on him. His neck is so huge and strong if he decided he wanted to do something he would ignore it. He rides him in a simple snaffle and he does great with that.

kathyk 05-03-2011 12:15 PM

that's a good point about the neck, this mare is very think and strong. And she has had some bad experiences. I am trying to decide (a) whether I should foster her, (b) should I try to change the bit experience since it is such a stressor for her, or (c) try a gentle snaffle. She has been checked by the vet and her teeth floated. This mare has perfect ground mannners..she is very gentle, but under saddle and bit, she is a different horse. I am not that experienced to think I can stay on if she starts really bucking (which she has done)..I was hoping a gentler approach might work.

Alwaysbehind 05-03-2011 12:19 PM

So she is simply not a well behaved creature under saddle?

Why are you assuming the issue is the bit and not improper saddle fit, etc?

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