Dr Cooks Bitless Bridle? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 22 Old 08-07-2018, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by bsms View Post
In defense of the Dr Cooks, I've used 3 different types of sidepulls, a Zilco Flower Hackamore and a jumping cavesson on Bandit, and he does best in the Cook's. He's also been in a wide a variety of snaffles and curbs. When things get dicey, I'd rate my control of him in the Dr Cook's as better than anything else. It may depend in part on one's riding style. Most of my riding is with one hand. I'd as soon be emasculated as give a half-halt. When Bandit gets very tense, he just listens better in the Dr Cook's.

Certainly not true for everyone. I rode Bandit the other day in a Billy Allen curb and he did fine. But in a tight spot, I'd prefer the Dr Cook's on him.
I am also a one-handed trail rider, so that may be some of the difference.

My long three year old was shedding caps and not liking a bit. I put the Dr. Cook's on him, took him two trips around the three acre side pasture and it was enough to know he was happier in the Dr. Cooks than than wearing a bit. So I took him down the road -- two miles all down hill with hairpin turns and you often hear the big trucks rumbling long before you see them.

He was great -- his only mis-steps were things he would have have done anyway -- long three year olds are still pretty green. I miss that young lad. He was a genious. Had I not lost him to a freak pasture accident a few months later, he would be 16 this year --- RIP Sultan (Jewel Thief's Black Gold).

Ok sorry -- back to the Dr. Cook's -- Tennessee Walker Sultan loved it. Somewhere I have a picture of him, at the bottom of our road, wearing it on one of our last rides.

Not the best pic as its third generation:(. This is the leather Dr. Cooks but those are NOT Dr. Cook's reins. They are mine because I wasn't paying the money he wanted for his reins. This was near the end of my road, two miles all down hill. Sultan was looking at the Angus--- it's obvious there was no stress on him from fighting the bridle; he was a happy kid in that bridle.

But as BSMS commented, we are one handed riders, so that may be some of the difference.
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Last edited by walkinthewalk; 08-07-2018 at 09:07 PM.
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post #12 of 22 Old 08-08-2018, 12:15 AM
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my2geldings. "counter productive," "confuses the horse," "does not encourage proper aids," "not intuitive," "really confuses the horses every time I've seen it used on different horses." Did you read my post? Your experience is completely different than mine on 5 horses (4 presently) over several years and over a thousand of trail miles, at least a third of them solo.
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post #13 of 22 Old 08-08-2018, 12:56 PM
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Keep an eye on ebay and get a used one.
Mine was nylon. I tried it with my trail horse. I prefer a bit for some of the reasons previously given.

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post #14 of 22 Old 08-09-2018, 01:03 PM
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Since at the beginning of this thread morrggg asked for those who have experience with Dr. Cooks bitless bridles and opinions on the subject have been all over the place, I decided to see what exactly is my experience with this sort of bridle. I began using Cook's bitless bridles in 2014. But I didn't start tracking my trail miles until the following year. So whatever I did in 2014, I'm not taking credit for it. It's my loss. Beginning in 2015 until yesterday, my wife and I, riding the 4 Arabians we have, have done 1,982.38 miles using Dr. Cooks, or similar type of bridles. I've done 63% of those miles. We have never encountered the negative issues I've read about in here. Maybe they don't release pressure as quickly as other types of control. But it has been quickly enough because that has never been an issue with our horses. As far as the more extreme problems mentioned here, like the bridles being counter productive, confusing the horse, not intuitive, etc., I can only guess (without having been present) that the bridle was set too tight around the muzzle. And based on my experience, it's much better to be way loose around the muzzle than a little tight. I hope this helps morrggg.
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post #15 of 22 Old 08-09-2018, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by charrorider View Post
my2geldings. "counter productive," "confuses the horse," "does not encourage proper aids," "not intuitive," "really confuses the horses every time I've seen it used on different horses." Did you read my post? Your experience is completely different than mine on 5 horses (4 presently) over several years and over a thousand of trail miles, at least a third of them solo.
I did read your post. This is based strictly in a IMO view, so please only take it as that. I have no doubt that some riders feel that it works great for them, all power to them. I myself don't find it beneficial in the uses I would need them in. We cross country event as well as do things that are more high paced with head strong horses and quite frankly in THOSE settings that type of bit does not work. I can ride those same horses on a quiet trail ride in the mountains in a halter, but for those activities that I ride in full time-that doesn't work.
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post #16 of 22 Old 08-10-2018, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by charrorider View Post
I have experience with them. We have four riding horses, Arabians. They all used them and have been using them for several years. I don't have any issues with them not releasing pressure. And what's more, not one of my horses needed a minute to adjust to them. They took to them like fish to water. Seriously, I'm not exaggerating. I put the bridle on them and we hit the trail.
We did exactly the same when my then 17 year old son used one on his mare because she had an ulcer in her mouth, she was perfectly OK in it and no trouble controlling her even jumping a few fallen trees but she did show a tendency to lift her head away from the pressure under her jaw which wasn't a habit we wanted her to develop. She was much better in the Stubben hackamore, I'd actually say she was also better just ridden in a nylon halter with reins attached to the side rings.
None of our other horses liked it at all, they didn't misbehave but they did do some head shaking and also tended to move away from the pressure under the jaw even riding on a loose rein or 1 handed made no difference to that

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post #17 of 22 Old 08-10-2018, 09:38 PM
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my2geldings. I can guarantee you that I don't "feel" that the Dr. Cooks or cross under type of bridle works for me. Arabians are not exactly dead heads. And I don't ride in what are basically manicured and groomed lawns. The trails are ride are primitive with rocks and fallen timber going up and down hills, where anything from a squirrel to a deer can jump out of a bush at the last second as the rider is going by. What I do feel is that if a fellow riders asks for help of the members of this group, we have an obligation to provide the most objective, forthcoming assistance possible. If you wanted to say you don't think those type of bridles are helpful in cross country riding, like you said that would've been your opinion, and that's fine. But you certainly didn't leave that impression. The impression you left was that the cross under type of bridle, or Dr. Cooks, just didn't work for general riding, but worse may even be dangerous (depending on how one interpreted "counter productive).
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post #18 of 22 Old 08-10-2018, 09:47 PM
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jaydee. The only time one of my horses was throwing his head around, was the one time I set the adjustment around his muzzle too tight. It is way better to be way loose than a little tight. In fact, a few times I have even forgotten to buckle the darn thing and didn't notice it until I was taking it off. lol.
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post #19 of 22 Old 08-10-2018, 10:35 PM
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Hondo hated the bit. Bought a Cook's and he's been happy ever since.

There's been lots of discussions on the Cook's and many don't like the release. My standard question is, "If a horse can feel a fly land on his rump in a 40 MPH wind storm, then why can't he feel the tiniest bit of slack given to the reins on a Cook's bitless?"
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post #20 of 22 Old 08-11-2018, 01:51 AM
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For release: They don't go SLACK, but they do have a definite change in pressure. That is based off of putting my fingers under the bridle, applying varying amounts of pressure, and feeling the release. Of course, a bit always weighs something too.
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