Bitless bridles

SueAllen

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Joined
14 July 2005
Messages
253
I don't want to get into one of those long debates between pros and antis on this subject but I really would be very interested in hearing about anyone's experiences of changing from a bitted bridle to one without. Reasons why you did it, successes and failures, which type you used, guide to unbiased research/books. Just read a very interesting, informative and well researched article from a veterinary magazine but it was written by Dr Cook so of course it was going to be pro- bitless. Looked at his website and discovered he has co written a book with Dr Strasser ..........hmmmm. So am hoping for some personal experiences from HH members rather than relying on promotional websites/articles.

Thank you!!
 

Chex

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Joined
31 October 2006
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4,024
Location
Scotland
I like them in theory, just not in practice - for me anyway. I got the IV horse crossover one, didn't want to get the more expensive Dr Cooks before I was sure it worked! It was good as first, but I soon lost all control (but then I didn't have much control in a bit anyway!). I think maybe its because I didn't spend enough time training him with it, just shoved it on and off we went!! I didn't find much information on the internet that wasn't completely biased in some way. I just used it because I wanted him to be as comfy as possible.
 

claire1976

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Joined
12 June 2006
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1,267
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Chesterfield
I ride my mare in both. I switched to a bitless after 6 yrs of NH methods. She goes well in either bridle, although I use a very mild sweet iron snaffle when she is bitted.
The only problem I have is when cantering in company she can be a little headstrong in a bitless. Its taken several years of training her myself to get her to an acceptable level being ridden bitless though.
 

kcgibson

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14 January 2007
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260
Location
East Yorks
i loved the idea of bitless and rode my horse in the monty roberts training headcollar. was great for hacking out - walking only!!!! i found it quite hard work tho tbh as he seemed to lean on my hands, which he never does in a bitted bridle. i tried trotting a few times and it seemed that the more i trotted, the more he realised that i didnt have that much control and the more he took the p**s! then i took him down a track that i often canter down (and i KNOW for def that he always stops at the end) and i asked him to TROT. i had no choice in the matter - we ended up cantering with a few little excited bucks! if there had been more of the track left we would have galloped! so as much as i liked the idea of one, i found that it just wasnt practical, particularly in faster work. in previous posts on this subject, other people have said the same as me with regards to the faster work. someone who responded to my post said that they rode in a bitted and a bitless at the same time, so you could try that? you just to remove the noseband on the bitted bridle and you have two sets of reins. you can try the bitless in the safe knowledge that you can pick up the reins of the bitted bridle if your horse buggers off with you or wont listen to what you ask of him in the bitless bridle. good luck and hope that helps!!!
ps
i read an article re bitless bridles that made me feel really guilty about riding with a bit cos of the damage that can occur to the mouth and teeth. i asked my vet and he said that he has never come across a horse with bit damage (to the bone or teeth) and he doesnt think it is something to worry about. After all, bitless bridles could easily cause trauma to the horse's skin due to a rough handling rider. all depends on you and your horse but its worth a go.
 

claire1976

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Joined
12 June 2006
Messages
1,267
Location
Chesterfield
You can't just put your horse in a bitless bridle unless you've established to training on the ground. Your horse has to understand the pressure and release system before they know whats expected of them being ridden bitless. Takes a lot of hard work.
 
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