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Do you use a for your horse?

  • yes

    Votes: 19 65.5%
  • no

    Votes: 10 34.5%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was thinking about getting rid of my horse's bit and purchasing dr. cooks bitless bridle. Anyone ever heard of it/like or dislike it?
What about you? Do you prefer using a bit or not? Why?
 

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I prefer to do what's best for my horses and not follow a foolish trend. I think the bitless bridles are gimmicks and pretty much garbage. That being said I have not used one, I have only fixed the horses that have been spoiled by people using them.
 

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I'm kinda with Kevin. I don't think you should get one just for kicks. As they say: "don't fix what ain't broke!" I've been seeing tons of people switching to bitless when that may not be their best option. Personally, I think you have really good hands (and not just "think" you have good hands but know that you don't rely on them) and be able to guide your horse with just your legs/seat before you even consider bitless. And don't take this the wrong way, I don't know anything about your riding abilities and I'm not implying you are a bad rider or anything, I'm just saying this for your benefit and for the benefit of the other people that might read this thread and decide to consider bitless as well.

That being said, I ride my horse bitless. For how I use my horse and how she was previously trained, bitless is just a better option for us. She does just fine in a bit but she's just a little bit better bitless. I also fulfill my criteria. =)
I don't ride in a Dr. Cook's so I can't help you out there. I use an "Indian Hackamore" which I guess is kinda like a Dr. Cooks, only not. Haha I'm not a huge fan of the way my hackamore thingy has shaped itself over the months I've been using it but Lacey responds fine to it, better than she did to begin with, actually, so I assume that the way it's shaped itself is alright.
 

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I ride my mare bitless (also with an Indian Hack/bitless sidepull), because she seems to have a metal allergy to every bit I've tried, but she is a very laid back horse and does very well in it. All my other horses are ridden with bits. I think bitless is great for the right horse and a skilled enough rider, but I don't think it's for everyone.
 

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Bitless riding appeals to me just for convenience's sake. But the thing with Dr. Cook bridles is that they work so differently from anything else, it's impossible to tell ahead of time whether your horse will like it. Buying one seems to be a gamble... I would rather try something I could get at my local tack store first.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I'm kinda with Kevin. I don't think you should get one just for kicks. As they say: "don't fix what ain't broke!"
Oh, no, I didn't make myself clear enough, sorry. My horse doesn't like the bit. She responds poorly to it, and I've been researching the bitless bridles. Apparently many horses are like this and improve immensely when switched over to the bitless.
 

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I use Dr. Cook's bitless for my draft. He'll do okay with his low port curb, he just listens better without the bit. It works really nicely. He responds to it completely and is a lot more relaxed than with the bit where he's chewing and fussing constantly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
And Wallaby, I disagree with you. I don't think you should be experienced to use a bitless. I think all beginners should start in a bitless bridle until they become more experienced. I see way too many beginners pulling their horse's lower jaw off
 

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Bits/bitless doesn't matter, if you have hard hands you can hurt your horse. If people are yanking on their horse going bitless isn't going to be any better. They've got to learn to calm their hands.
 

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^^I agree with the above two. Using an english/jumping hackamore has actually made me lighter because Ice responded well in it....I could literally squeeze my hand with the reins in it together and get a response. In a bit he is hard, dull and leans into me too much.
 

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And Wallaby, I disagree with you. I don't think you should be experienced to use a bitless. I think all beginners should start in a bitless bridle until they become more experienced. I see way too many beginners pulling their horse's lower jaw off
I guess we'll have to agree to disagree then. =) I'm not really familiar with other types of bitless bridles but I know that my "Indian Hackamore" really doesn't have any "stop" in how much you can pull/tighten the noseband, so basically, if you're strong enough, you could theoretically do some really severe damage to your horse's nose. I'm not trying to start a debate or anything so I'll just leave it at that.
I do agree with Solon though, anything can be severe in the wrong hands. Hands are dangerous weapons! :lol:

Good luck in your search for the perfect bitless bridle/setup. I hope you find something that your mare loves. =)
 

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I have been thinking of switching to a hackmore because my mare is not fond of the bit. Also whats the "softest" bit out there? She is really light on the bit and I want to keep it that way. I have ridden her in a halter and she did good, but not remarkable. So I am thinking something with a little more force than a halter, but not like a bit?
 

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It really depends on the horse. I have tried a Dr. Cooks before and really wasn't impressed with them overall.

However, my husband's horse is bitless and has always been bitless. He was in a side-pull but now is in an indian bosal. Goes well in either, just seems a little more responsive in the indian bosal.

My horse does well in a traditional rawhide bosal or a low-port kimberwicke. He hates snaffles and ignores side-pulls when he decides to get stubborn.

I would first try the Dr. Cooks before getting rid of your current bit.
 

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I voted "yes" because most of the time I use a bit. But really, it depends on the horse.

John Henry does awesome in a Tom Thumb type snaffle. (I know everyone hates them, but I have had my best luck with these bits). He tends to listen to a regular snaffle only so long as there isn't any green grass growing. If there is, he gets into a habit of diving for it, and that's a habit I don't want him to have. He also does well in a Sliester hackamore with a flat leather noseband and a mild curb chain but he doesn't collect well in it. So I feel he rides best in a Tom Thumb type snaffle.

Isabelle does best in the Sliester hackamore but also rides well in a short shanked curb bit or a Tom Thumb with very, very short shanks. Anything longer and she gets nervous. She doesn't do as well in a regular snaffle either. I am really thinking of trying her in a rope halter because she responds well to the hackamore and she doesn't seem to be the kind of horse to run off with you (I've only had her a few months, so I am still getting to know her).

I have never tried a Dr. Cook but I've read that they don't release pressure very quickly and that horses that are used to a loose rein can feel clastrophobic (sp?) in them. I basically ride a loose rein so I felt no need to spend money on one if I didn't think it would work well for my horses.

I do love trying different bits and head gear on horses until I found out what they ride best in. Tack is fascinating to me. I love playing with tack. :D
 

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I'm sorry, what is the poll? To me it says "do you use a for your horse?" and I'm not sure whether you are referring to a bit or a bitless. That being said, there is no harm in trying it out as long as you recognize signs that it isn't going to work. If she is irritated by it, you will need to go back to the bit. I generally prefer to ride with a bit, but I have ridden some horses that handle better in a hackamore than a bit, particularly one Morgan who had a very large tongue and found it more comfortable without a bit. To add on, you can easily hurt a horse in a bitless as the point of pressure is on a fragile section of the nose, so one is not truly gentler than the other. It just depends horse to horse whether they do better with nose band pressure or mouth pressure.
 

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I originally tried my mare in a few bits, but it turns out that she has a pretty shallow pallat and she simply does not have room in her mouth for a bit to sit comfortably. She was constantly holding her mouth open and chewing at any bit even when no pressure was applied. I have since tried her in her halter and she went well and very willingly, so I am looking into differant bitless options for her. I have nothing against using a bit if it works best for the particular animal, but for my mare it simply isn't something that is working. I hope you find something that works well for you and your mare.
 
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