The Bitless Bridle! - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 47 Old 01-02-2008, 01:07 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
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Well, I guess I'm not strong enough. Lol! If she lowers her head to the grass I can't get her head back up if I'm in saddle. So from bitless I switched to french link to ride outside the pen.

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post #22 of 47 Old 01-04-2008, 04:50 AM
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Re: The Bitless Bridle!

Well, I think they work really well, depending on how strong your horse is. My horse is pretty headstrong, but the bitless bridle works well. On my old pony I used it and she saw a tasty piece if grass under lows tree branches and scraped me off (OUCH*)

But luckily, if you have a draft type, he/she isn't short enough to try that! lol! Good luck!

I like them!
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post #23 of 47 Old 01-05-2008, 02:57 AM
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A bitless bridle and a halter/lead are very different. The halter can be compared to a hackamore- but even still holds no weight of comparison... The pressure is on the nose, and its pretty weak.. The whole idea is trust, the control you have is maintained by the bond you have. (if your horse wanted to take off with you and all you had was a halter and leadrope, there is no stopping him).

In a bitless bridle, there is control. I've never ridden in one, but they use them at the therepeutic riding center where I volunteer. (You can ride in a bit only if you are advanced enough, so whenever I ride there I use a bit).. The children who use them always have enough control to turn and stop, and I would think its just as effective (and saves the horse's mouth from beginners with unsteady hands) as a bridle and bit.

I will say that a bit is only as harmful as the hands that hold the reins. (I think that applies to almost any bit..) A lot depends on the horse too. Hot blooded Arabians and Thoroughbreds tend to be more sensitive to bit... other horses it just depends... I would think its a nice alternative to a horse who is either difficult to bit or super sensitive in the mouth area.
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post #24 of 47 Old 01-05-2008, 11:37 AM
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Please keep us posted on your results with the big girl, Feathers. I am interested as we have one gelding who chews constantly and we want to ride him English. I have considered bitless or side pull, so any future experience is well worth posting for us with the couriousity. Thanks.
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post #25 of 47 Old 01-06-2008, 03:26 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, I'll let you know how it works for me! Hopefully, I'll have it by the end of the month.

I can see how grazing would be a problem, even with a bit, it's hard to pull my horse's head up from grazing.

But for my horse, a simple 'wack' with a crop would suffice.
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post #26 of 47 Old 01-06-2008, 08:19 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Hatton Vale, QLD, Australia
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Originally Posted by tim
Not to rain on your parade or anything...

But about these bridles. I dont know if it was Mr. Cook or someone else, but a "trainer" came through and did a "clinic" at a barn where I used to board. It was complete rubbish. He claimed he was going to train this horse that we had. It was a georgous, black arab 3 y.o. and it was completely nutts. He failed. Miserably. Then he tried to play it off like it was someone elses fault.

The next day, he performed the "participation" portion of his clinic. It consisted of all the participants lining their horses up nose to tail on the rail of the indoor arena. They walked them around in circles and he showed them how stomping your foot before making them stop will teach them that stomping = stopping. Yea... I'm watching the whole thing (viewing was free, the only thing that was :roll: ) and thinking to myself, this guy's a crock. They also did backing exercises and some bareback riding. None of it was any good.

Well the next morning, he was still around and getting ready to leave. Some of his clinic participants were also around so they all decided to sit dowm and have some lunch together and chat. Well the chat turned into a rather casual schooling session in which we learned several facts about this man. As it turned out, he was either in his mid 50's or 40's but he had only been "training" horses for five years. Five years. He apparently had some wonderful moment when all this great Natural Horsemanship training knowledge had been laid on him and he decided to hit the road and spread the faith.

He also took the opportunity to give his participants some really "good" advice about the health of their horses.

Here it is, see what you think:
-Bits are the worst things for horses.
-After bits are shoes. Never shoe your horse. If they are wearing them now, remove them immediatly.

he was advocating several products and one of them was the bitless bridle. After that clinic, everyone wanted a bitless bridle. Everyone got one and in about two weeks, the wiser ones (in my opinion) gave them up and went back to bits.

The more gullible ones even had the shoes taken off, despite our farriers insistance that it would turn their horses lame. Well after the horses had gone lame and some had developed thrush, the shoes went back on. I guess they didn't realize that a horse that has been shoed all its life will not respond well to such a dramatic change.

Maybe it's just me, but I can't bring myself to trust any of the products that clinician was selling. I have ridden a friends horse in the bitless bridle, and if you ask me, its no good. I could have gotten better response from that horse if I'd tied its lead rope to each side and ridden in a halter.

Of course, it's up to you.
i have to say i disagree on both parts here. the shoeing thing is quite plausible. where people often go wrong when they get their horses shoes taken off is that they allow their normal farrier to do the trimming. when a normal farrier does it, he trims the feet in the same shape as they would when shoeing. this isnt ideal for obvious reasons. if you take your horses shoes off and want to go barefoot, you need to use a proper barefoot farrier and then the benefits are seen. their feet need to be trimmed in the shape that their feet would appear in the wild which is very different to the way farriers cut them when they are being shod. all normal farriers are taught this way and its only the barefoot guys who truly understand the concept of barefoot.

with regards to bitless bridles, they also are invaluable if a) you get a good one (not one of those horrible mechanical ones) and b) you decide that yanking around a large piece of metal in your horses mouth is really as cruel as it sounds.

ive seen a few horses now who are ridden only in bitless and they behave better than most of the horses i see in bits, including my own. the control shown in also as good if not better than with a bit.

dodgy people marketing dodgy products do more harm than good for some things and i think both subjects mentioned so far are a prime example of this. not every bitless bridle out there is good the same as not every barefoot farrier is. it requires research etc to find the right one that works

just my opinion anyways
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post #27 of 47 Old 01-07-2008, 08:37 AM
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I agree it really depends on horse. My paint didn't like to go in even flat halter. She has very sensitive nose she doesn't like much to be touched (doesn't mind to be pet, but I always have to brush her head with hand, no brushes (even softest)). So when I moved from halter-type bitless bridle to french link bit she behaved much better.

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post #28 of 47 Old 01-11-2008, 07:02 AM
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I say good on you for atleast trying it. I ride both my horses bitless, on in a hackamore and the other in a crossover.

A lady here gives me a sideways look when she sees me riding in my shes looking down on me or judging :roll:

My TB had teeth problems,some ulsers. So i had the bit taken out for a while to let them heal. I found a english hackamore to much for him, he was way sensative to it, it felt that a bit of pressure might send him backwards , so i got him a crossover bitless. It was wonderful, he went great in it so i never went back to a bit.
As for the hackamore it put that on my other boy and it was great for him, especially since he had a hard mouth on him with a bit. I swaped the chin chain for a bit of leather to make it milder and its perfect for him now

So yes it totaly depends on the horse. They will tell you if its right for them or not.
I did also use a ropehalter and put reins on it, but found if i went for a gallop or at a faster pace it started to ride up his face so prefure a crossover or english hackamore on him.

But i defenetly dont want to go back to bits, my boys enjoy there bitless bridles. 8)

cant wait to hear how it goes
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post #29 of 47 Old 01-12-2008, 05:11 PM
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I got my Dr. Cook bitless bridle a few days ago and decided to give it a try today. I started out in the round pen just doing some flexing. She seemed to take to it very easily. No problems getting a stop and she gave at the poll better than she ever did in a bit, dropping her head all the way to the ground. I took her out to the pasture to see how it would work on keeping her nose out of the grass. I usually let her eat on the trail so she knows when I say whoa and let her drop her head its ok to eat and when its time to go she never fights me so I can't give a review on how it would be for a horse that fights to eat. I had no problems getting her head up when allowed to eat though. I'm not sure if everyone knows I am recovering from a bad horsey fall so my confidence isn't what it used to be. I took her back to the rail and put the bit back in before we headed out on the trails. Actually my husband insisted since its only my 3rd ride after 7 weeks off. All in all I like the bridle I think once my confidence is back up I will try it on the trail. I didn't try any collection at a gait since I'm not to that point yet. Maybe Feathers can give a better review after trying it.

"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened..."
- Anatole France
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post #30 of 47 Old 01-12-2008, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the review Vidaloco I hope you get well soon ! I read the post concerning your accident...I am 'very' happy that you are okay! :)

When I fell off of my horse a few years ago, I got a concussion and hurt my neck really bad. I haven't been the same since on a horse. My confidence really took a toll...but I still ride :) I'm sure one day I'll get myself back to that 'let's ride!!' attitude.

If the bitless bridle works well enough for me and my mare, I think I will buy the bitless driving bridle too. But, I won't get ahead of myself just yet.

I'll post pictures and results as soon as I can for the folks who want to see a horse/tank meet a bitless bridle.
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