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I plan on getting a bitless bridle in the next few months, now that I've heard and seen all the damage a bit can cause to a horse. :? I know hackamores a bitless bridles can also do damage in the wrong hands, but I still would rather get a bitless bridle. I've seen many different ones and just don't know which one to choose. I saw Dr. Cooks bridle, but after hearing bad reviews, I'm thinking between the Nurtural Bitless Bridle and the LG Zaum Bitless Bridle. If you've had any experience with either, or another type of bitless bridle please tell me! Also can someone help clarify the difference between a bitless bridle and a hackamore? Other than what they look like, how is the pressure applied differently and which do you prefer? And I was also wondering if it is true a hackamore can break the horses nose? Could a bitless bridle do the same? :-( Thanks. :)

ALSO I wanted to add: what are your opinions on the happy mouth bits? If I get another bit I would prefer a rubber bit or somethings soft for the horse. Anyone tried them?
 

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"now that I've heard and seen all the damage a bit can cause to a horse"

The overwhelming number of horses have not been damaged by their bit.

http://www.horseforum.com/natural-horsemanship/bits-no-bits-353898/

166 comments for good reading.

Some horses do well in some bitless setups, but you would have to experiment to find the right style for you and your horse. Bitless no more has one right answer than bits. And in EVERY case, bit or bitless, it is up to the rider to use it right.

From experience, you can remove a lot of hair off the face of a horse using a "gentle" sidepull halter...and still have a horse squirting diarrhea with fear...I ended that ride by jumping off. Nothing gentle about that!

If you want to try bits, a thick rubber mouth is not a good option for many horses. Please read this on bits to get some ideas:

http://www.ivis.org/proceedings/aaepfocus/2006/bennett1.pdf
 

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I tried the Dr. Cook style and that was the first and only time I was actually afraid of my horse. He did NOT like that. We went to a mechanical hackamore and he did pretty well in that. I had one of those "evil" kinds that people say will break noses. I can confidently tell you that on more than one occasion I had to use every ounce of strength I could, amplified by the shank, to make him listen and never once did I break his nose. I got tired of horse wrestling with the hackamore and got a snaffle bit. I now have a quiet, reasonable and easy to correct horse. Horse riding does not become horse wrestling anymore and for me that makes the bit the kindest option.
 

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Horseyworld, I've seen horses stick their noses up in the air and do what they want in a bitless. A simple loose ring snaffle is still your best bet. It's not heavy so it won't make the horse's gums sore. The barrels are of moderate thickness so the horse's tongue can carry it comfortably. If you don't yank than no pain for the horse. Take just enough hold that you barely take the droop out of the reins and allow your arms to move with his movement. To do so you can't have any tension in either the shoulders or the elbows. Also, if you still wish to go bitless, be sure the horse's dental work is in good shape, no sharp points.
 

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I tried the Dr. Cook style and that was the first and only time I was actually afraid of my horse. He did NOT like that. We went to a mechanical hackamore and he did pretty well in that. I had one of those "evil" kinds that people say will break noses. I can confidently tell you that on more than one occasion I had to use every ounce of strength I could, amplified by the shank, to make him listen and never once did I break his nose. I got tired of horse wrestling with the hackamore and got a snaffle bit. I now have a quiet, reasonable and easy to correct horse. Horse riding does not become horse wrestling anymore and for me that makes the bit the kindest option.
What a horrific story, and weren't you lucky that you didn't cause him damage, unless every ounce of your strength is like nothing:shock:

Sadly no one can tell you what will work well for your horse, its trial and error. The only time my old gelding really scared me was when I tried riding him in an English style hackamore



He threatened to buck, tried to rear, I had to have someone grab him so I could bail safely, it was HORRIBLE.

This thing he loved though



Never had one go well in a cross under type, but everyone I have tried has gone OK in a side pull, some far better than others.

I have had horses who hate rubber bits, most of mine have rejected the beautiful and expensive Mylers I bought, Grrrrrrrrrrrr.

Saddlebag suggests a loose ring snaffle, great choice for some, but my Arab hated the loose ring.

Biting, or not biting LOL, is not an exact science, whatever you think a horse needs they wil let you know if they are happy or not, if you listen.
 
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We've just had two threads not long ago at all about bits vs. bitless. One of them was helpfully posted above. It would do some good to read through them before jumping on the "bits are bad" bandwagon, because quite honestly that's the picture of mis-education :)

Yes, a hackamore can easily break a horse's nose. Any bitless can in the wrong hands. If your hands are hard enough to break a horse's nose in saddle you need some help before you get into saddle again. A hackamore is like a curb bit, but the leverage acts on the nose instead of the mouth.

My draft cross rides bitless. That being said, I still am on the hunt for a bit she's happy with. If we go out on trails, she'll be in a bit. She rides in a hack called a Little S hackamore, it's a lot milder than most hackamores out there. She rides in it simply because I have not found a bit she is happy with yet, and she's much happier and more responsive in the little S. She was used as a commercial trail ride horse, so she's had hundreds of people misuse a bit in her mouth for years before I got her. It's a search, but I'm sure I'll find one. (She does go in a snaffle, she just really dislikes it and makes sure I know as much, haha!) She goes bitless but I think a bit gives me more security and safety, which is why I am still hunting to find one. A post in the thread posted above will tell you why, as I posted it there.

Here's a pic of the Little S hackamore on my mare to give a bit of perspective.
 

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What a horrific story, and weren't you lucky that you didn't cause him damage, unless every ounce of your strength is like nothing:shock:
I am not a strong person and he is a BIG horse. That is one of the reasons I decided to try out a bit. We ride on dirt roads and when cars come by he likes to try to jump out in front of them. It's not safe for anyone. He has become so responsive to my lightest touch with his snaffle bit that I don't have to worry about that anymore.

I'm certainly not expert but I wonder if he understands the cues more easily and as such is more confident in my ability to be a leader. His demeanor while riding did a complete 180 the first time we went out in the snaffle.
 
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