I have a recommendation that's not
a Dr. Cook's (but a lot more versatile) Freedom Bridle - Moss Rock Endurance - Your Source for Custom Biothane Competitive Tack
The Freedom Bridle from Moss Rock Endurance. They're all
beta, but you have color choices Dr. Cook's doesn't have. You also have configuration choices Dr. Cook doesn't have. (I got one, I adore it so much I actually put it on Youtube)
I got with the overlay and 7-foot split reins, including shipping, for under $100. The reins are very nice, very sturdy, with a good weight to them. They don't get slippery when wet and they lack the heavy metal ring that can cause the reins to swing and annoy some 'fussy' horses (especially gaited ones).
The Freedom can be:
1. A halter. There's a ring on the bottom to permit you to use it just like a halter. Good for trail riding, so you don't have to carry a halter and
2. A regular bitted bridle. Easy-to-change conway buckles secure the bit. I recently went on a 10-mile ride and after trailering over with it as a halter, put one side of the bit on, pulled it around, and buckled it right on the other side without any trouble.
3. A plain sidepull. Self explanatory.
4. A "combo". A good middle-stage for horses to go bitless (especially if "fast" changes tend to fluster the horse like they do my silly guy). The reins do not pass through the rings on the noseband, they pass through the bit. So the horse gets the familiar (slightly reduced) bit-related cues he knows along with the "nudge" from the cross-under action to help him learn.
5. A cross-under bitless.
If I sound like I'm raving... I am. I absolutely adore
this bridle. The halter ring makes longeing a cinch (I hated longeing with a bit). It's extremely adjustable, easy to take care of, and it looks wonderful.
If you want any more information (or more raving!), absolutely feel free to PM me.