Bitless... Opinions? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 09-14-2008, 07:48 AM Thread Starter
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Bitless... Opinions?

I'm not a huge fan of bits, and I'd love to get a bitless bridle for my horses in the future. I've found several options, and I know that I'd have to "test run" them with the horse before truly going for them. But I'm not completely certain what are the best kinds, what each is used for, and what are the differences between them and normal bridles.

Here are some kinds that I have found:

Ok... which one of those do you like/don't like?

Which would you suggest for a horse that is going to be ridden both english and western, mainly on trails around cattle?

Are bitless bridles frowned upon in shows?

Do bitless bridles require extra knowledge of how to use them? Or are they used almost the exact same as normal bridles?

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post #2 of 19 Old 09-14-2008, 11:57 AM
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it depends on the horses attitude towards the bit really IMO. that determines weather or not you should use a bitless bridle. some horses listen better in a bit and some horses might not listen to the cues in a bitless bridle.
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post #3 of 19 Old 09-14-2008, 12:38 PM
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the horse will tell you what he will best work with.

Unless it weighs a ton... it's just a horse. Draft horse motto.
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post #4 of 19 Old 09-14-2008, 01:16 PM
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Just like everyone else is saying you can't really choose a bit before you have the horse. Some horses will work better, and like, a bit more than a bitless bridle and some will be just the opposite. You can't really know as all horses will respond differently.

I give myself very good advice, But I very seldom follow it
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post #5 of 19 Old 09-14-2008, 01:43 PM
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I'm pretty sure that you can't show in a bitless bridle--you'll have to check the rules. Hackamores have to be used carefully--they put a lot of pressure on a horse's face. Hackamores can stop horses effectively, but they aren't great for turning a misbehaving a horse--no bitless bridle is, in my opinion. I posted a lot about this recently in a halter-riding thread, so I won't repeat--just hit my profile, and look back through my posts. One nice thing about a bit, even a snaffle, is that you have control over their nose, and thus their head, and thus their body. I'm not anti-bitless, I've been giving a lot of thought to switching Arrow over--but he's well trained and not prone to lots of misbehavior, either.
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post #6 of 19 Old 09-14-2008, 04:55 PM
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I don't know about western riding but you need a bit in dressage. Hackamores are ok for show jumping and cross country although unless you have a death wish i highly reccomend a bit going cross country.

It all depends on your horse, personally even if your horse is the best behaved one you've ever seen it is a horse and they WILL do unexpected things and when that moment happens I'd prefer to have a bit.

If you still want to go bitless there are alot of options that work pretty much on the same principle except mechanical hackamores have leverage and in the wrong hands can severely damage a horses nose and dont have much lateral steering anyways.

It's up to you I've tried unsuccessfully on many horses to go bitless but maybe yours is different.
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post #7 of 19 Old 09-14-2008, 05:05 PM
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I think eventually you'll see bitless options in all showing. The horse racing industry has been looking into the bitless option. I know Dr. Cook (I have his bridle in the draft version) has been lobbying hard for bitless to be allowed in all disciplines. It will happen.

Unless it weighs a ton... it's just a horse. Draft horse motto.
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post #8 of 19 Old 09-14-2008, 09:38 PM
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Keep in mind that going bitless doesn't mean you're being kind to the horse. A bit (or hackamore, or whatever) is only as harsh as the hands - if you have good hands, you don't have to worry.
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post #9 of 19 Old 09-14-2008, 10:10 PM
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It really comes down to training. If a horse is really well trained, you could ride in bailing twine.

But hands certainly make the difference. Hard hands can make even the softest bit seem like a harsh one.

Unless it weighs a ton... it's just a horse. Draft horse motto.
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post #10 of 19 Old 09-15-2008, 07:45 AM
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First, not every horse likes the bitless. I do ride in halter type bitless bridle at times: it looks like wide leather halter with the reins attached. Extremely gentle, but doesn't give much control (although I rode my 3 yo on trail with it while back :) ). After getting some opinions at the forum I got the bitless hackamore (one with the reins crossed under the chin) to give a try. I hated it. My tolerant qh hated it too. I used it just once and now it sits in my tack box. I think it's much more harsh than gentle bit.

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