Bitless from the beginning!

cblover

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Morning peeps, hope you're having a lovely spring day!

My new 4 yr old clyde x welsh cob is now ready to start her education i.e. ground work, wearing her saddle etc and possibly biting if I go down that route.

Can I ask if anyone has started bitless from the very beginning? I've had two horses bitless in the past, one a few years after owning her and having her bitted to start with and the other was a bit of both from an early age.

I'd like to have her bitless from the beginning, so any experiences good or bad would be useful. Cheers.
 

Sleipnir

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My gelding was started bitless at 3 and I took over when he was 5. Now he's 10 and we haven't run into any problems. We hack, school, jump, even drive bitless, sometimes tackless, and he's good as gold, even with his strong character and quirks. I also personally know quite a bunch of horses that have been bitless from the beginning and they seem to be able to do anything that a bitted horse can, as long as the owner is able to train them properly. Go for it!
 

Ladyinred

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We have as well, two of our five were started bitless, a Sec D and a WBx and all started with a Dr Cooks, although now there is so much choice I might buy differently.

One other Sec D was started with a bit but was such a pain with it we put her bitless after two days.. she didn't worry about it but was addicted to making it jangle, she loves noise! Our big lad, also a Sec D was started bitted but used to lean on the bit, so we tried a Dr Cooks, which he also learned to lean on and now he is in an English hackamore.
 

cblover

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Great to know thanks. My heart tells me to take her bitless, so I'm going to research it properly and take it from there.
 

Sleipnir

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I hack mostly in a rope halter, school-jump-drive in an Orbitless. I used to have a Little S hackamore, but I didn't quite like how it looked on his face/its action. The Orbitless is fab though, and I like how you can switch the reins from sidepull to hackamore settings. :)
 

Enfys

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Absolutely nothing wrong with going bitless, most horses are started that way aren't they? Progressing to a bit as their education goes on.

I do think, however, that however you intend to ride them, and that is everyones' choice, that all horses should be accustomed to going with a bit. It is only fair to them - if they are sold then the next owner may want them bitted, a horse that has never been bitted will be at a distinct disadvantage. It is one of those life lessons that is essential, like learning to stand, or tie up, or load etc. Even if they never need it, they understand it.
 

smja

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The only caution I would advise is that it may affect saleability in the future.

Personally, I would do both so the option is there - it's much easier to mouth a youngster than to start over with an older, established horse. Then you can choose to ride bitless.
 

planete

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I like to start bitless, then as the horse's schooling progresses and he understands weight aids and voice commands and becomes able to round up under the rider I introduce a bit with dual controls, bit+ bitless bridle, until he goes equally well in the bit alone.
 
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