Manufacturer: Dr. Cook's Bitless Bridle (View all products by Dr. Cook's Bitless Bridle)
Model: Western Model (View all Western Model reviews)
Category: Western Bridles
Purchase: I just purchased my THIRD Dr. Cook's Bitless Bridle as a gift for my neighbor who tried mine on HER horse and fell in love with it.
Likes: I have to agree that the Bitless Bridles are not the cheapest bridles on the planet. But the quality of the leather and of the workmanship are top-notch and of course as anyone who has tried a Dr. Cook's bridle knows, it is a superior piece of equipment that no horseman worth his or her salt should be without. I have tried just about every other kind of bitted AND bitless bridle (including bosal, hackamore, sidepull) and I have never gotten the kind of response from my horses that they have exhibited in the Dr. Cook's. I'd say my two horses' reaction from switching from a bitted bridle to the Bitless Bridle has been "extraordinarily pleased befuddlement." The transition to "bitless" took less than five minutes in each case. There was no "running off" with me - I think that is most people's greatest hesitation about going "bitless." I tried it out in the round pen first just to be certain they would not run through it. I quickly found that not only could I perform every maneuver "bitless" that I could with a bitted bridle, but that the "feel" was essentially the same. And no, I have no problem neck-reining in this bridle either. It is too bad that most shows will not permit you to show "bitless" but hopefully that will change over time as more people discover the difference the Bitless Bridle makes in our relationship with our horses.
Dislikes: I did purchase a Betathane version of this bridle but I didn't like the feel of it. It WAS lower maintenance and quite a bit less expensive, and there is also a nylon version. Oh, and they really ought to redesign it so it includes a throatlatch. My horse rubbed his completely off while scratching his head on a foreleg. When I mentioned this to Dr. Cook's very good Customer Service Dept. they sent me a Betathane throatlatch which proved to be not quite LONG enough. For the time being I am careful NOT to let the horse rub - but when I get around to it I'll have the local saddle shop make me a LEATHER throatlatch. The main thing I don't like about the Bitless Bridle is the name. I think the word "Bitless" suggests the concept "runaway horse." That is simply not the case. I have just as much control as I had with a bitted bridle, but without the "issues" that come with a bit. They really should change it to "Dr. Cook's HUMANE Bridle" or something along those lines.
Quality: Beautiful leather, appears to be top quality English leather. The Western bridle is considerably less expensive than the English versions, but the quality appears to be identical. You can get the Western one in black or brown (ditto for the English version). Great quality and great customer service/support.
Summary: Nothing sells a product like word of mouth and the word of mouth on the Dr. Cook's bridles is amazingly consistent. Not only are my horses much HAPPIER in this bridle they are not hollow, upside down, miserable wretches with mouths strapped shut. They go just as nice and round as they did before, only MORE SO. And my neighbor's horse, who had only been ridden in a rope halter up until his owner tried my Dr. Cook's on him, went soft and round in the Dr. Cook's on the first ride. She will be thrilled to have her OWN Dr. Cook's. I can hardly wait until it arrives. "Christmas in July."
Author: Dr. Cook's Fan in Idaho
Usefulness Rating: 2.8 out of 5.
10 reader(s) voted.
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