Manufacturer: Dr Cook's (View all products by Dr. Cook's Bitless Bridle)
Model: Bitless Bridle (View all Bitless Bridle reviews)
Category: English Bridles
Likes: Good quality and easy to use. This bridle is not simply for horses with problem mouths, although it deals with a great many problems related to bitting and discomfort. Veterinary studies have shown the painful conditions equines endure with the use of a bit in the mouth (which hasn't changed since the bronze age!), and this bridle offers a humane alternative. Bone spurs on the bars of the mouth which can only be seen with x-rays have been found in a high % of ridden horses - think of the pain when the rein pressure is applied... It encourages better riding as an 'outline' can't be faked by pulling with the hands and pinning the head. Only correct use of the leg and seat aids will result in self-carriage with this bridle, so it is a true test of rider ability. Do you have the humility to take the challenge?! In effect it is a humane alternative, it allows as much control as with a bit and it encourages an independent seat in the rider, negating harsh hands and fiddling hands forcing an outline.
Dislikes: At the moment it can't be used in dressage, BUT the FEI has been approached with the hope that this will be amended in time. There can be no reasonable objection to its use! As far as I know BSJA, BHS Hunter Trials, BE and Le Trec are all fine with this bridle.
Quality: A very simple design, this is nothing like other 'bitless' bridles we are familiar with in the UK. It is unrelated to hackamores etc. There is a headstall, noseband and crossover straps that cross under the jowl, then feed through rings and attach to the reins. Pressure from the reins puts a diffuse pressure over the poll, side of the face and nose. The noseband is carefully positioned so it sits over the bony part of the nose and doesn't cause pain or an airway obstruction.
Summary: This really is a good product with a lot to offer you and your horse. It isn't traditional, which some riders find difficult to cope with, but if you were prepared to take the risk (it's got a 3-month money-back trial!), consider the possibilities! In my experience - bigger strides, greater movement through the back, self-carriage and collection by the horse, more relaxed, stopped fussing/foaming/opening the mouth... Give it a go - I'd be really surprised if you regret it ESPECIALLY if you (like me) have an armoury of bits/nosebands etc and have despaired of your horse going well without a fight and in control.
Usefulness Rating: 3 out of 5.
1 reader(s) voted.
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