Bitless on trail
 
 

       The Horse Forum > Riding Horses > Trail Riding

Bitless on trail

This is a discussion on Bitless on trail within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Which is the best bitless bridle for trail riding
  • Trail riding in a bitless bridle

 
LinkBack Thread Tools
    10-24-2010, 10:28 AM
  #1
Weanling
Bitless on trail

Does anyone else go bitless on trail? Be it in a hackamore or something else?

Normally when I ride I use the dr. Cooks bitless bridle and I used it on trail last week. My horse is normally very good when using this bridle, he relaxes and is quite a plodder when he's at home. I found that when we were on trail and he got a little fast I couldn't stop him with it, i'd put pressure on and sit and do all the things I usually do when were at home but he either shook his head a lot or just didn't listen. I had to use the horse in front a few times to stop him charging off (luckily the owner and the horse didn't mind and had already said we could do this).

I'm thinking for trail I might need something a little stronger, I was thinking snaffle bit since that's what he used to be in before I bought him. The reason I stopped using a bit is when he had his wolf teeth pulled (when he was 6) one of them basically crumbled when the vet tried to pull it out; then when I rode him the week after he started to turn in tiny circles and I thought the bit was bothering him so switched to a bitless.

What does everyone else use? Do you feel like you have enough control when a bad situation comes up or your horse gets a bit excited?
     
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
    10-24-2010, 03:34 PM
  #2
Foal
Sure , both me and my cousin hack out our stallions on a leather halter. We found it's easier to control them around mares and stuff without anything hurting to add to the excitement, call us crazy but it just works better, LOL! Plus a snug halter gives better steering power then a Dr. Cook, although it's not as good for breaks. Anyway, since they're sortta bomb-proof, they never run off so...

Here's a couple'o shots of our "kids" bitless (one is 3.5 years old, the other is 5 years old)

http://public.bay.livefilestore.com/...457.JPG?psid=1

http://public.bay.livefilestore.com/...462.JPG?psid=1
     
    10-24-2010, 04:39 PM
  #3
Weanling
Wow, you hack in a halter.. I admire your bombproof horses. Oh, and I can't see your photos for some reason.

I rode today, just in the small riding field we have and any time I put the least bit of pressure on to slow him down he arched his back like he was going to try and buck me off. I think I might have to start looking into a different bridle for this horse. He's not bad, he just doesn't listen too well.
     
    10-24-2010, 05:41 PM
  #4
Showing
There are a ton of variables in play with your question. I started all of our horses in a Dr. Cooks, but I never had any intention of keeping them in it. We ride western and the ultimate end product is to have a horse that will indirect rein.
That aside, if you have a horse you trust not to run off under any circumstances, then sure ride in a piece of string. There aren't many horses like that, so ride in what you are comfortable with and what you feel safe in. On a trail, anything can happen. You need to be able to control your horse.
I would never go off on a lone unfamiliar trail ride in one of my Dr. Cooks. Some will say that your horse just isn't trained properly. I say come home safe and in one piece Humane, pain free, bit-less head gear can stay in the tack barn.
     
    10-24-2010, 05:59 PM
  #5
Foal
Oh that's ok, my colt used to do the same, it's just that he's not accepting the aids as cues but as some sort of punishment or intrusion. Can't you take some time to train him to the reins in-hand? Use treats if need be just till he understands pressure on the reins is nothing to worry about. When he's happy in-hand try the same under saddle in a safe area and when that's settled, go out. But if you aren't sure, take someone on foot with you that you trust. My colt whent out hacking on his 3rd ridden lesson but I put a trusted friend on him and I whent on foot to help out if needed (like get him away from a car or something). If you can, also hack him in-hand. ~
I feel safe on a halter because I've done everything else with him from the ground (including hacking out) on a halter. He actually likes it better when I'm on top cos that means he doesn't have to move so slow, LOL!
My cousin's stallion was trained on a snaffle but when she found she could control him on a loose lead rope and halter from the ground she also started riding on a halter and it worked as well as with mine who never saw a bit. So I'm thinking what matters is mainly groundwork.

One thing on the Dr. Cook though: some horses get a tad confused with the crossover action (wich puts pressure on the cheeck from the oposite side) plus it has some leverage action. Practice in hand. If he gets used to it (should take no more than a week) fine, if not, try other bitless models, there many. Personally I preffer the snug fitting halter but it's best to try and see what works best on each horse.
And for safety reasons, practice the emergecy breaks (one rein halt). I've learnt to distrust any piece of tack that suposedly works as breaks since I found myself on a panicked horse with a double bridle that stressed even worse the more pressure I put on the reins! Eventually he was running nose-to-chest full speed not even seeing where he was going! So from then on, I rely on a sturdy halter and a sturdy reins I made myself that I can use to put that head werever I wish without inficting pain but giving the horse no option of escape. One broken arm is enough... (this happened with my mare, she's afraid of everything)

Oh, try and copy paste the links. Maybe the server doesn't allow direct link, I dunno...
     
    10-24-2010, 06:09 PM
  #6
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by phoenix    
Wow, you hack in a halter.. I admire your bombproof horses. Oh, and I can't see your photos for some reason.

I rode today, just in the small riding field we have and any time I put the least bit of pressure on to slow him down he arched his back like he was going to try and buck me off. I think I might have to start looking into a different bridle for this horse. He's not bad, he just doesn't listen too well.
If I remember right, the Dr. Cooks is meant to be used with one rein only not with both at the same time. If you are working on stopping, do a left/right pulling motion not straight back with both reins. Also make sure you are not just relying on the head. Use your voice "whoa", your legs and seat first then if no response use your hands.
Its been several years since my girls were at that stage so I may be wrong. You might go to their web site and check it out.
     
    10-24-2010, 06:13 PM
  #7
Showing
Nope I was wrong once again.
From the cooks site-
Quote:
Braking:
A squeeze on both reins hugs the whole of the head and triggers a ‘submit’ response. This applies more effective brakes than that provided by a bit. The Bitless Bridle™ provides communication by applying painless pressure across the poll, behind the ears (a region of particular responsiveness), down the side of the face, under the chin and across the nose.

ETA
I guess not totally
Quote:
If, when using the Bitless Bridle™, a horse should ever show signs of bolting, the rider can regain control by steering the horse into a circle. If this is not possible because of the surroundings then the rider can “saw” the reins to bring the horse back into control. Unlike the situation when using a bit, this rapid alternate traction on left and right rein (also referred to as “rattling” or “shaking” the reins) can be practiced without hurting the horse. Apply this aid vigorously and with authority, to get your horse’s attention. Remember also to sit back, deep in the saddle. Finally, all horses should be trained to respond to a verbal “WHOA!”
     
    10-24-2010, 06:36 PM
  #8
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vidaloco    
Finally, all horses should be trained to respond to a verbal “WHOA!”

Good one! I started with that one. I do have the time and understand some people don't. My horse is my big dog and I don't have any aims apart from teaching him new stuff and improving on what he already knows. In any case, it's worth the time. I gained a big fear of galloping outside after I shattered my arm but now that I have horse that slows down or halts without reins, be it because of mares, spooky stuff or watever, I can finally enjoy a good sprint with a careless smile on my face! Obviously I always use reins! I'm not completely nuts, but it's good to know they're only a safety precaution. My horse actually gets pissed off if I don't speak first and use the reins to start with, it's almost like him saying: rude person! I'd do it if you'd asked! LOL! Cos if he's ignoring me on purpouse, he'll accept the reins with no fuss.
     
    10-24-2010, 06:41 PM
  #9
Weanling
I used to use a hackamore but have since switched to a mild snaffle for trail riding. I find a bit more assuring than a hackamore, but that's just personal preference. I know many very experienced and competent trail riders that use hackamores and are quite happy with them.

Use what you feel safest with and what you can reliably control your horse with in a bad situation. I concur completely with Vida's come home safely and in one piece.

As far as neck reining, it's a very important skill for a trail horse to master. All of our horses neck rein, even our Icelandic with a classical dressage background. There is too much going on at times to have both hands on the reins.
     
    10-24-2010, 06:45 PM
  #10
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vidaloco    
There are a ton of variables in play with your question. I started all of our horses in a Dr. Cooks, but I never had any intention of keeping them in it. We ride western and the ultimate end product is to have a horse that will indirect rein.
That aside, if you have a horse you trust not to run off under any circumstances, then sure ride in a piece of string. There aren't many horses like that, so ride in what you are comfortable with and what you feel safe in. On a trail, anything can happen. You need to be able to control your horse.
I would never go off on a lone unfamiliar trail ride in one of my Dr. Cooks. Some will say that your horse just isn't trained properly. I say come home safe and in one piece Humane, pain free, bit-less head gear can stay in the tack barn.
He was absolutely fine when I first started using the bitless, a bit confused about the different pressure but completely fine. He was even getting to the point where he would put his head down, relax and go in search of the pressure. But how, it's like that one bad experience has ruined it all. I figure I might get a bit, something easy on his mouth and see how it goes. I would really like to not feel as if at any moment he could so running off all because I don't have control. I had other people with me and one very green horse and I didn't want to cause them any harm either. To be honest, I just didn't feel all that safe the whole ride.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Belbe    
Oh that's ok, my colt used to do the same, it's just that he's not accepting the aids as cues but as some sort of punishment or intrusion. Can't you take some time to train him to the reins in-hand? Use treats if need be just till he understands pressure on the reins is nothing to worry about. When he's happy in-hand try the same under saddle in a safe area and when that's settled, go out. But if you aren't sure, take someone on foot with you that you trust. My colt whent out hacking on his 3rd ridden lesson but I put a trusted friend on him and I whent on foot to help out if needed (like get him away from a car or something). If you can, also hack him in-hand. ~
I feel safe on a halter because I've done everything else with him from the ground (including hacking out) on a halter. He actually likes it better when I'm on top cos that means he doesn't have to move so slow, LOL!
My cousin's stallion was trained on a snaffle but when she found she could control him on a loose lead rope and halter from the ground she also started riding on a halter and it worked as well as with mine who never saw a bit. So I'm thinking what matters is mainly groundwork.

One thing on the Dr. Cook though: some horses get a tad confused with the crossover action (wich puts pressure on the cheeck from the oposite side) plus it has some leverage action. Practice in hand. If he gets used to it (should take no more than a week) fine, if not, try other bitless models, there many. Personally I preffer the snug fitting halter but it's best to try and see what works best on each horse.
And for safety reasons, practice the emergecy breaks (one rein halt). I've learnt to distrust any piece of tack that suposedly works as breaks since I found myself on a panicked horse with a double bridle that stressed even worse the more pressure I put on the reins! Eventually he was running nose-to-chest full speed not even seeing where he was going! So from then on, I rely on a sturdy halter and a sturdy reins I made myself that I can use to put that head werever I wish without inficting pain but giving the horse no option of escape. One broken arm is enough... (this happened with my mare, she's afraid of everything)

Oh, try and copy paste the links. Maybe the server doesn't allow direct link, I dunno...
i've been using it for over a year and he was accepting it perfectly fine. He's all of a sudden just decided he hates it. I've been long lining him in it, to build his confidence and change up his routine and he was doing okay, not so great with the steering as he tends to get distracted by anything shiny.

I really wanted to take him out in hand but there were other people/horses there and I didn't want to inconvenience everyone. He has an emergency stop noise that works really well. I just want to be able to feel like I have a little more control of him when i'm riding, not only on trail but in the arena too. He gets bored really easily and stops listening. So I circle and do transitions. All well and good in the arena but trying to circle on trail while his buddies are getting away just leads to madness.

I'm either going to look into a bitted bridle or check out some of the other bitless models.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vidaloco    
If I remember right, the Dr. Cooks is meant to be used with one rein only not with both at the same time. If you are working on stopping, do a left/right pulling motion not straight back with both reins. Also make sure you are not just relying on the head. Use your voice "whoa", your legs and seat first then if no response use your hands.
Its been several years since my girls were at that stage so I may be wrong. You might go to their web site and check it out.

I did all that and more. The two rein stop is a lie, he just shook his head and pulled me around until he started to jig again. I tried the one rein after another, I tried sitting really deep, I was even throwing half halts in every few steps. I was saying "whoa" and "easy" and still I felt like I had no control. He jigged so much I couldn't walk the next day (i have scoliosis and am seeing a chiropractor) all because I couldn't get him under control.
     

Quick Reply
Please help keep the Horse Forum enjoyable by reporting rude posts.
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.


Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Bitless ?? snazzydandy Natural Horsemanship 63 07-31-2011 05:18 PM
Bitless ? AztecBaby Natural Horsemanship 97 02-17-2011 11:23 AM
tell me about bitless LuvsArabella Natural Horsemanship 48 09-07-2010 12:19 PM
Bitless?? Equuestriaan Horse Tack and Equipment 24 11-27-2008 09:40 AM
Going Bitless.... Leggs Lady Horse Tack and Equipment 24 03-27-2008 12:34 AM



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:12 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0