5 Benefits of Riding Bitless
Have you ever considered riding your horse without a bit, but are not sure if you're ready to make the change? Here are just a few of the many benefits of riding with a bitless bridle:
- More comfort for the horse
- Easier communication with the horse
- More relaxed horse
- Less vices
- Less Expensive
Compared with bitted, bitless bridles are much more comfortable for a horse to wear. The feeling of soft rope or leather on the animals face is infinitely more agreeable than metal inside their mouth. Use of a bitless bridle creates a happier horse that is more eager and willing to learn. While a bitless bridle that is used improperly can cause pain, the rider is much more likely to hurt a horse with a bit.
The bitless bridle is a natural solution to riding communication and is a great deal easier for both the horse and rider to understand. Riders put bits in horse’s mouths thinking they will get more control. When in reality, what they really need is better communication. While a bit applies pressure only to the sensitive areas of the horse’s mouth, a bitless bridle distributes the tension comfortably over a wider area. It does not take as much to communicate with these amazing creatures as some may think. They can feel when a fly lands on their face. This demonstrates that with horses, less is more.
Horses instinctually move away from pressure. When a bit is used, no matter how light the rider’s hands are, the horse will always feel pressure in their mouth. The use of a bit works against their natural way of life. The rider can communicate easier when pressure is applied only as needed. Lighter pressure is not only ideal for older mounts but also excellent for teaching basics to youngsters.
If the ultimate goal is to ride a young horse with a bitted bridle, it is much simpler to start bitless. If all of the beginning training is done without a bit, the horse can focus on carrying a rider and tack and not on trying to fight the bit. Later on in the horse’s training when you introduce the bit, it can be without any distractions. Even if you finish a horse in the bit for showing or other reasons, you can always go back to riding bitless.
Novice riders can also grasp the concept of bitless bridles much easier. Without a bit, an instructor will not have to focus so much the pressure the rider is putting on the horse’s mouth. This relaxes the teaching environment and allows both the instructor and student to focus on other aspects of riding.
Horses are happiest when they are not under stress. A horse will do anything for a chance to be calm, and relaxed. This is why the concept of training with pressure and release is so easy for a horse to understand. While riding with a bitless bridle, horses can be more relaxed because of a comfortable ride, easier communication, and quicker release. It is not possible to fully release pressure with a bit.
The rider may release the reins, so they are not pulling on the horse’s mouth, but it isn't possible to remove the uncomfortable piece of metal each time the horse performs well. There is a time, and a place for training and riding experienced horses with a bit. However, I also believe that most, if not every exercise in riding can be accomplished without a bit in a more relaxed manner. Simply put, a relaxed horse performs better overall. They can move out more, carry themselves well, and be greater athletes overall when they are relaxed.
Does your horse have problems with head shaking, bucking, rearing, chomping at the bit, or being heavy on the bit while being ridden? Perhaps you have a difficult time even putting the bridle on in the first place. These vices can all be a result of the horse being uncomfortable in the bit. Most of these issues can be improved or even eliminated with the use of a bitless bridle.*
Some riders think nothing about spending $200-$300 on a “decent” bridle and another $100-200 on a “comfort” bit. These riders then find themselves with a $500 bridle that their horses hate. What if you could have a simple, relaxed, and pain free ride with more comfort, for under $60? The bitless bridles for sale on SimpleLoops Etsy Store range from a basic halter to a compound sidepull/chinslip. These styles range in price from $25-$55.
For information on pressure and release training click HERE.
To shop for a quality handmade bitless bridle click HERE.
* Please Note: These vices could also be a result of improper training, or ill fitted tack. Contact a professional saddle fitter to be sure all tack is comfortable and fitted properly for your horse.
-Samantha Patterson, Natural Horsemanship Trainer and Designer Of Rope Bitless Bridles