Manufacturer: Myler / Parelli
Model: Cradle Bit / Cradle Bridle System
Category: English Bridle Accessories
Purchase: Purchased from Parelli's web shop as a complete system: bridle, bit, and reins. Parelli club members save about $96 on the purchase price, making it around $300 after shipping.
Likes: I train horses professionally and when I first saw and heard about the Cradle bridle I was taken aback because it looked like such a contraption. After more consideration of the engineering and principles behind the system, and after working with an older horse who had been routinely punished in the mouth with a shank bit, I figured I would give the Cradle system a try. I was not the least bit disappointed. The particular mare that I really wanted to try this on had a very positive reaction the first time I used it on her. She had previously been made so nervous by any bit in her mouth that she became immediately braced and tense, she hung her tongue out, put her tongue over the bit, tossed her head, flapped her lips in aggitation... anything you can imagine to avoid that bit. The very first time I put her in the Cradle bridle, her mouth was markedly quieter before I even got on her. Once I did get on and started to work with her, she was much less bracey and reactionary. She did not put her tongue over the bit one time. She actually settled into her work and started to stretch INTO the bit for the first time ever! Essentially, this bit is a baucher bit or hanging cheek which has been used for ages as a starting bit for dressage horses. The cheeks of the bit extend upwards to small rings where the cheek pieces attach and the reins connect to the big lower rings. The twist to the Cradle system is Myler's rotating barrel technology, no nutcracker action, a rope noseband actually fits through the corners of the bit, and there are two options for rein attachments which gives you the option to incorporate more nose pressure and less mouth pressure. With this system, the horse feels pressure not only on the bars and tongue, but the pressure is distributed to include the nose, chin, and poll as well. The way the bit is designed does not give the rider any more increased leverage (as in a shank bit) but redistributes the pressure in a way that is much better received by the horse. Every horse I have tried this on has given me very positive feedback... even horses that previously accepted the bit and went very well.
Dislikes: 1. Cost is a big issue for me. I think it you buy just the bit without the bridle it will set you back around $200. Most bridles are too long in the cheek to fit this bit, so you kinda have to just pony up and buy the whole Cradle system. $300 is a lot for me to spend on a training tool. 2. The sizing of the bridle is not very flexible. I have a few Thoroughbreds, a Paint, and a Mountain Horse. The TB's can wear the regular size bridle, but the Paint and Mt Horse (whose heads are NOT that small) have to wear the pony size... so I had to buy two of these. Re-reference dislike #1. 3. The bit is illegal for dressage. Other disciplines that might allow the bit (saddle seat for my Mt Horse) would frown upon the informality of the this bridle... it is a training tool and it looks like a training tool, but the horses go so well in it, it is hard to give it up. And again, you can't just throw this bit into any bridle, so it would be nice if a more formal, show-worthy bridle/headstall were available.
Quality: The bit is stainless rings with a sweet iron with copper inlay mouthpiece. Great quality materials and the mouthpiece "seasons" quickly. The Parelli bridle work is incredible leather that comes pre-oiled and buttery soft.
Summary: This is an invaluable tool. One that I don't want to live without again. Pricey, pricey, but worth every penny. Must find alternative equipment to use for show that will be as effective.
Usefulness Rating: 4 out of 5.
5 reader(s) voted.
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