To Bit or Not to Bit – Bitless Bridles

Brain Dump time, all about bitless bridles. Sorry, today we will be skipping the formalities and diving straight into the details regarding bitless bridles. Provoked by the article Petition Calls For Ban On Bits by Horse Collaborative, I will be sharing with you, my wonderful readers, my thoughts on the topic.

Based on the recently started petition called “Demand Bits be Banned”, the article examines Dr Cook’s research on the effect bits have on horses. Dr Cook has done a fair bit of research on bits, bridles and horses’ heads which has been displayed in his two books “Specifications for Speed in the Racehorse: The Airflow Factors” and “Metal in the Mouth: The Abusive Effects of Bitted Bridle”. So naturally, Dr Cooks then invented his own bitless bridle. Dr Cook’s research can be simply summed up:

Prior to 1997 I [Dr Cook] might have listed 12 problems as ‘aversions to the bit.’ From research completed since then I now list over 200 negative behaviors and 40 diseases…

Obviously, Dr Cook believes that a bit causes major issues for the horse, and that bitless bridles are the thing which is going to take you to the next Olympics. However, my opinion is that some horses go best in a bitless bridle and some go best in a bitted bridle, it depends on each individual horse thus I will not be signing a

petition to ban bits from being used but would definitely consider signing a petition to allow bitless bridles to become legal in all disciplines, in all countries. Although both bitted bridles and bitless bridles do have limitations, I believe it is the rider’s choice of what to use depending on their individual horse and situation.

Okay, I’ve shared my thoughts, now it’s your turn. Would you ever consider using a bitless bridle, or have you already used one? Feel free to comment, although no negative comments please ’cause I’m not trying to convince you of one set way, just sharing my opinions.

‘Til next week, The Horse Habit