Can’t say enough good things about my Dr. Cook’s bitless bridles. Here, my 25 year old three-quarter-Saddlebred mare, Vista, models her English Leather version. I’ve been riding with the bitless bridle for over ten years.
I decided to try this bridle after having many bridle problems with Vista. I purchased her as a ten month old filly and trained her entirely myself. Horse training is a hobby of mine. From day one Vista resented the bit. She never settled to having one placed in her mouth or moving with one.
We tried several bits including snaffle, pelham and full double bridle. All resulted in head tossing and bit chewing. Finally we tried a hackamore. Vista was slightly happier with this but spent a lot of time blowing her nose. Hackamores control the horse by putting pressure on the nose and cutting off the wind. The problem for Vista was not my hand pressure. She just plain did not like any of the head control options I tried. She was happiest when I rode her with a halter and lead rope. Never any head tossing or nose blowing. I was not comfortable taking her outside the pasture with this arrangement.
So I began researching bridle options and found Dr. Cook’s Bitless bridle. What a relief for both horse and owner! Beginning the first time she wore this bridle, Vista liked it. No head tossing, no endless blowing of the nose. No more struggle to get a bit in a recalcitrant mouth. Only perfect response to very slight pressure. I sold all the other bridles and bits and got an extra Dr. Cook in beta, a rubbery plastic leather-like material that can be dunked in water to clean. We use the beta when it’s rainy or particularly hot and sweaty.
The bitless bridle works by applying pressure to various points on the head. I have ridden many horses over nearly forty years of horsemanship, using a variety of bits, and find the bitless bridle to give better control with less effort.
The bridle is used exactly the same as a bitted bridle and can be direct or neck reined. Vista is trained for both methods and is very responsive to the bitless bridle. Head set is achieved the same way as with a bitted bridle, with flexion at the poll and a soft head (rather than mouth) easy to attain.
The nose piece rides slightly lower on the face than a regular bitted bridle. The chin strap is just tight enough to get a finger under. The bridle has two sets of cheek straps. The second strap runs under the head, crossing over and exiting at the ring on the opposite side of the face near the mouth. The strap folds over as it exits the ring so that the back side of the strap shows, the only odd thing I find about this bridle. It’s pretty easy to overlook a little reverse side of the leather for the great benefits to horse and rider.
I have been training my six-year-old half-Saddlebred mare, Maddie, exclusively with a bitless bridle. She will never know the unpleasant feel of metal in her mouth if I have anything to say about it. She is very respectful of the bridle and has never given me any trouble with control. Here is Maddie getting her nose in. She won’t be ignored.
Here is a link to the Dr. Cook’s site: http://www.bitlessbridle.com/
I am not a salesperson for this bridle, nor have I been compensated in any way by Dr. Cook’s. I just want to share my success story with using this product. Both bridles I own are very well made and worth every penny I spent.