Bitless - insurance situation?

BlueSocks

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28 May 2013
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I'll be starting my youngster soon, and want to initially get her going bitless. I'd like to be able to eventually ride her either bitless or bitted (as I'm planning to compete and obviously some rules only allow bitted). My question is does anyone know what insurance issues there could be if you had an accident out long reigning / hacking out bitless?
I think there's quite a shift change at the moment with horse owners towards bitless and I wonder if we will start seeing insurance issues come up? I remember reading about someone who was leading their horse in from the field up a road, head collar only, there was an accident and the person was found liable due to not being bitted and therefore classed as not being in full control of a horse on a public highway. Can't remember the full details but it got me thinking.
Thoughts / experiences?
It worries me that not having a bitted horse when training / riding in a public place could result in being classed as not in full control of them.
 

9tails

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20 January 2009
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Check your insurance and give them a call to make sure you're insured for bitless riding. TBH I wouldn't take a horse that's not completely responsive to the bitless bridle out long reining or hacking. I do hack out a lot bitless but my horse is older/wiser and knows what it's all about. We haven't and I doubt we ever would be classed as out of control. I wouldn't take her out hacking in a headcollar though.
 

BlueSocks

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Don't worry 9 tails I won't be taking her out on the roads till I'm 100% happy with her in the school environment.
Good idea to check with my own insurance, which I will do. That's kind of not quite what I'm getting at though - what I mean is more about in an accident situation, in general terms not just for me, could you be deemed at fault if you were riding / handling your horse without a bit, ie could it be argued that you haven't taken all reasonable precautions to make sure you are fully in control of your horse if you are bitless? The case I mentioned in my original post was along those lines I seem to think. In which case, insurance could refuse to pay or you could be taken action against and be found liable.
 

WelshD

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19 October 2009
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I asked Petplan about the use of non bitted bridles (in my case a filly slip which is essentially a bridle with no bit) and they basically said regarding bitless bridles and filly slips that the horse had to be under control and that common sense should be used

I took this to mean that they would wriggle out of any claims as the answer was just too vague for my liking so will be leaving it till my youngster is bitted before he goes anywhere
 

abbijay

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It may be as a result of the wording in the Highway code rule 52 "Never ride a horse without both a saddle and bridle."
This is a bit vague and can explain the nervousness of some insuarance companies but it doesn't refer to non-ridden/driven horse handling on the roads.
Most leather traditional style of bitless bridle should be fine (double check with your insurer though) but it is when you get into the likes of a parelli "hackamore" which is to all intents and purposes a headcollar with the leadrope knotted in.
 
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