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missaras

Bitless Bridle Help!

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Hey Everyone!

I would like some advice and opinion on transferring my horse from a western d-ring snaffle bit to bitless. He is a 14 year old quarter horse and when we ride bareback and with just a halter and clip on reins, he does pretty darn well, on the trail and in the arena. He just seems happier and more responsive. I wouldn't say he fights the bit or drives through it, he does have a tendency to want to turn at points when I don't want him to, but I can usually correct that with my leg and seat. He does fine with a simple bit, but I have been taught to use the reins as my last option/aid, so I ride a lot from my seat and leg, which makes bareback riding and no bit, just about a good ride every time. I am considering going with a bosal or sidepull, any advice on these?? He doesn't run on me ever, he does spook occassionally, but it is only for a few seconds that he either does big leaps or small leaps to the side. So I feel like control with him is not an issue. And then with the reins, is it better to go from the side or under the chin? I have been told he is a neck reined horse, but I think he does fine either way. Last question? . . . can I go back and forth here and there between a bit and bitless? Just if I wanted to take him somewhere new and would think about having that control if I needed it. Thanks so much for any feedback!! Would really appreciate it!

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With some of my horses I could switch back and forth between bitless and a bit, usually a snaffle but I rode a few with a ported curb. With some I needed to keep them in a bit. With two I needed to ride them completely bitless.

I used a rawhide bosal with my first bitless horse and I did not like the way it rubbed the bridge of her nose - however this could have been my youth and inexperience with adjusting and using the equipment properly. Because of my (in)experience, I just don't like the rawhide bosal. I think it is unforgiving and my preference is to use something softer.

The bitless bridle (called a jaquima) I was introduced to with the Paso Fino breed is what I like best of all. You only need to purchase two parts, the "bosal" nosepiece and the "curb" chin strap, both smooth leather, with rings under the jaw for your reins. What I like best about this set up is you can attach your reins to the rings of the nose band to make your bridle a true side pull or you can attach them to the chin piece to cue your horse with a bump of the jaw. Adjusted loosely, you can bump and immediately release so there is no confusion with your cues.

The image below shows a Paso Fino in a jaquima with one pair of reins attached with a pulley system to both sets of rings. I've never used it this way. I've always used the lower rings. You can neck rein with the lower attachment and you can still direct rein, too. Neither setting will twist the headstall over the horse's face.

DSC05785-204x300.jpg

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when considering bitless headstalls you're looking at different pressure points on the horse's head, and focus on lateral v.s. vertical flexion. thus the side pull etc. v.s. bosal question.

I ride once a week in a rope hackamore doing patterns on a completely loose rein to check out how my seat and legs are doing, and then once a week in just a string around the neck for the same reason. I do a lot of working equitation and working cow horse, so the only way you can be effective with that is to have an efficient and sympathetic seat and legs. I use a double broke sweet iron snaffle the rest of the time. just a btw, have you had a dentist out to look at his teeth? you say he seems to prefer bitless--we have a 24 year old warmblood whose teeth preclude riding with a bit.

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Just wanted to add, just because you ride with a bit, does not mean you can't ride with total slack in the reins, riding off of seat and legs, and the indirect rein ,and that is in fact, the way a finsihed western horse should ride

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I rode my mustang bitless most of the time, but for competitive trail & hunter paces I had to use a bit. (He was fine without it, but the rules said he had to use one) I had no problem switching between the two. A 'bit' of advice though (pun intended)....just in case you're thinking about trying the Dr. Cook's bitless bridle...I found (in my opinion) it didn't release well enough. It was rather expensive & I wound up selling it shortly after I bought it.

I use a padded noseband with rings on the end of it that the reins attach to on my new horse. No idea if it has an official name. I haven't seen one like it before. He's fine with it when schooling, but he's still a work in progress & we use a sweet iron snaffle when out & about.

I have heard that a jaquima works great. I've never tried one, but heard that they don't 'spin' on the horses' face.

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Google Dr Cook Bitless Horse Bridles or Side Pull Headstalls. That will give you an idea of what to look for. Also check some of the videos on Youtube that will show you how to place the headstall correctly on your horse.

My local tack store has Side-pull Bridles with rope or leather nose bands from Weaver Leather.

I used to have a Buckaroo leather one and was dumb enough to loan it to a "friend." :bang_head: It's a local company so my favorite tack store carries them.

Edited by dondie

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