Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bitless Options

I've had a number of requests to do a post on bitless options, and the similarities and differences between them.  What I've written here is based on my limited personal experience with these various options, or information I've been able to find out.  Many of you out there have your own experiences with bitless options, and have much more knowledge than I do, so please chime in and give us the benefit of what you know.  Some of these options I've tried personally, and some I just have heard about.  My opinions about the various options are just that, my opinions, and they're based on what's worked or hasn't worked with my horses - your experiences and opinions may differ and please speak up if you disagree with anything I say or may have wrong.

In my mind, I classify bitless options into four categories, based on how they work: direct action on the noseband, compound action on the noseband as well as other parts of the head, leverage action (mechanical hackamores), and bosals.  And then there are different bitless options within each category.  There are also true bridleless options, including the use of a cordero (neck rope or string), but those are beyond the scope of this post.  I'm also not going to talk about "combo" bridles, where a bit is combined with a sidepull (Western) or a mechanical hackamore (a big fad in the jumper ring right now) - I think most of these are really just control devices and many of them are very severe, and anyway they're certainly not bitless.

I might also add that I ride my horses both with bits and bitless, and I think either, if used correctly, can be an effective means of communication between rider and horse.  If the bit is just resting in the mouth, or the bitless headstall on the head, either can be means of having a two-way soft conversation.  And either option can be abused if used incorrectly or with the intent to coerce or punish.  So, without further ado, here are the various bitless options as I understand them.

Direct noseband action

The simplest version of this is a halter with two reins attached to the sides.  The next most simple is a basic sidepull, like the one I got from Buckeroo Leather - here's a picture of what it looks like on Pie:


Note added later - the fit in this picture is incorrect - the noseband is too low - for the correct fit see this post. The action is straightforward - when rein pressure is applied, that pressure is transmitted directly to the noseband.  Since the noseband is very stable - it does not slide, rotate or twist, this bridle has the advantage that it works well for direct rein usage, and therefore I find it also works very well in turns.  It can be used for all the softening work that a bit would be used for.

There are sidepulls with different noseband materials, some of are thinner or harder than the soft leather noseband of my headstall.  Some of these materials, I think, could be harsh in the wrong hands.

There are many variants of this design.  There is an English version that used to be available - I haven't been able to find a picture of it - which is similar - a noseband with rings attached to a normal English headstall - I used to have one but found that it wasn't very sturdily made and the noseband tended to move around too much - it wasn't very stable.

There is also the Enduro bridle - here's a picture (from the maker's - Lodge Ropes - web site), showing how it works - it's basically a modified rope halter with reins:


I've never used one so don't have too much to say about it - it looks like it might be good for endurance riding since it's lightweight.

Compound action on the noseband and other areas of the head

There are a number of variants in this category.  The difference between them and a basic sidepull is that in addition to transmitting pressure to the nose, rein action produces pressure on other areas of the horse's head, typically the under-chin area, or the sides of the face and/or the poll.  There are sidepulls that operate with the ring attached to a chinstrap, so that when rein pressure is applied, the chin strap tightens.

The Dr. Cook's and Nurtural bridles both fall in this category.  Here's a picture of a Dr. Cook's bridle on Maisie:



When pressure is applied to a rein in the Dr. Cooks, this pulls on a strap that passes under the chin and up the other side of the horse's face until it connects with the crown piece. This produces a "hugging" action.  I have used a Dr. Cook's and found the connection with the horse somewhat "muddy" or "fuzzy" - the delicate, soft connection I want wasn't really there and it was hard for me to give precise signals or small precise releases to the horse.  For me, using one rein or turning was a particular issue, and at least one of my horses seemed to find the headstall and its squeezing action confusing and somewhat aggravating.

Here's the Nurtural bridle (from their web site):


I have never used a Nurtural bridle (but I know some of you readers out there do, so speak up), but I understand that the biggest difference from the Dr. Cook's is the X that connects the two straps that pass under the jaw.  I would expect that this stabilizes the bridle - the Dr. Cook's can have a tendency to twist in my experience - and makes the action more direct.

There is also the LG bridle (produced in Europe, I believe) - I've never seen one in action but here's a picture:


It looks to me like this might have a small leverage action, and possibly also some poll effect, depending on the rein placement, and I believe there is also a version with a shank, which would make it closer to a mechanical hackamore.

The Light Rider bitless bridle (there's also a separate noseband that you can attach to a regular headstall) is partly direct action, but it has rings that attach to a separate chin strap - when you pull on the rein the chinstrap tightens.  This one looks like it could have a fairly direct, clear action.  I've never used one, but know people who do and who like it quite a bit.  Here's a picture from their site:


Leverage action (mechanical hackamores)

I think of mechanical hackamores as a bit like curb bits, except that instead of a bit in the mouth there's a noseband - when pressure is applied to the reins, leverage pressure is applied to the noseband and a curb strap/chain under the chin, with the severity determined by the material of the noseband (there are some pretty severe options out there), whether a chain is used under the chin and the length of the shanks.  Many of the longer-shanked ones can be very severe - it just goes to show that the potential for harshness doesn't require a bit.

Here's a picture of one with a medium shank and what appears to be a rope noseband:


I haven't used any of these on my horses, but expect that the action doesn't lend itself to effective one-rein communication or finesse, although it might be just fine for trail riding on a loose rein with a horse that knows how to neck rein.  Has anyone out there had experience doing work requiring precise cues with one of these bridles?

Bosals

Bosals come in many nose widths, but the basic principle is the same - there is a noseband, usually made of rawhide, which comes around to a large connecting point (the "hanger") at the bottom, where the reins attach.  I have never ridden in a bosal, but would be interested to try one.  Here's a picture of one:


I've seen them described two ways, which seem to me to be somewhat contradictory.  One school seems to think of a bosal as a transitional stage for a young horse before they're ready to be ridden in a snaffle, and perhaps ultimately a curb, bit.  I've heard Mark Rashid say to the contrary that a bosal is better suited to a more educated horse and that then it can be a very soft and refined way to communicate with the horse, with the bosal defining the place within which the horse is being asked to softly keep its nose, thereby determining, through the poll, neck and entire body, the position and softness of the horse.

I also believe that contact - in the sense of a soft, live connection between horse and rider that is the means of communication between them, can occur with a bit or a bitless option, and can also occur with a loose rein with a horse that knows how to soften and carry itself softly.

I'd be very interested in hearing what experiences those of you who have used bosals have had and what situations you use them for.

If there are bitless options I've left out, please speak up and let us know about them and your experiences, good and bad, with them.

33 comments:

  1. Good post. We used the Dr. Cook Bitless Bridles in the past but didn't like the feel/control we had. We donated them to a youth ranch where they are perfect for kids to use on the horses.

    Dan

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  2. I'll be checking back to see what comes up in the comments on this interesting and useful post, but for now all I can say is how can you stand how adorable Pie is?! I would want to smoosh him all day long. Love that picture of him modeling the Buckeroo - what a face!

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  3. I tried a Dr. Cook on Tucker and he hated it. I used to ride all the time in a jumping hackamore--which is the English version you were talking about. It was a padded noseband with rings the reins attached to.

    I have a mechanical hackamore here here to a used it years ago. It is stronger, and needs a careful hand.

    I've ridden in a bosal, but not my own horses. Just kind of rode around, so no comment on the refinement for serious training.

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  4. This post is helpful to me. If you've read my blog you may know that Pippin really doesn't like bits at all. I just found a Dr. Cook's bitless bridle and I've tried it a few times in the round pen. He seems to respond quite well to it and for once, his mouth was quiet. I may try a traditional side-pull on him as well to see if I notice any difference.

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  5. On bosals-
    I have ridden in them in the past, in fact learned how to ride using them (on very sensitive Arabians). They are wonderful for finesse and light subtle cues. In fact, I plan (with the help of trainer Sarah) to graduate Milo into the bosal, than the bosalina, than the finished bridle - curb. The bosal (in my education and opinion) is for finishing horses, not for starting horses. It applies indirect pressure - pull on one side, it puts pressure on the opposite, this can be a tricky concept for young uns.

    While I have not trained a horse for a bosal before, like before said, I have ridden in finished bosal horses and it is by far my favorite type to ride in (not ot mention, I love the traditional western look they provide :P ).

    I am very interested in intrigued in the bitless world for horses. I hope to expand my own education of it. I love to read your posts on your bitless options as well. :)

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  6. I have just learned to ride in a bosal on my Razz last winter, they are great for softening, but can be a little confusing for horse and rider when you start, a few rides are necessary before you give up becasue its not working, I am not sure Iwould put a young horse in one becasue there is a great chance they can rin through them.
    I dont really like the ones that are like a halter becasue halters were meant to be used with a person in front of them and with pressure under the chin then the poll, not on the nose.
    The doctor cooks and others like that not that familiar with, but everytime I see a horse in one thier nose is stuck straigh out, not sure if its the bridle or the rider though.
    Other than that, interested in what others are saying.

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  7. There are as you say lots of different bosals. I use a breaking bosal on my youngsters- usually after they have learned to give to pressure with a snaffle, then I put the bosal on for the first few rides, then go back to the snaffle. I think a bosal on a well trained older horse would be a great way to go. Some of the blogs I follow do that- One Old Cowgirl's View for example.I think I could ride Beamer in a light bosal, the only issue would be if he was getting studdy, so I think I'll stick to a bit on him.

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  8. Interesting post with lots of information. I haven't personally used any of the bitless bridles so I have nothing to add to the discussion. I'll just read the comments as they come in.

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  9. I've used a side-pull on Missy as well as a just a halter a lead rope of course. The side-pull I used, however, didn't have a jowl strap (I think that's what they call it?!) though and I found that it wasn't very stable and sometimes would try to work its way in the direction on Missy's eye, so I being the true cheapo that I am used a piece of twine to secure it. It looked dumb, but Missy was thankful... Anyway, I don't mind the side-pull, but I think Missy just prefers a halter and lead over it as our bitless option...though I have considered that Nurtural bridle...

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  10. Thank you for this awesome post! I've been curious for quite some time about bitless options... my new horse, Athena, has a set of very well-formed wolf teeth, so wearing a bit is painful for her. My only option so far is to stick to groundwork until springtime when we can get the wolf teeth removed, but if there is a bitless option that she would respond well to, I would love to try it. She is eager to learn and I'm just dying to ride her.

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  11. Very excellent post Kate.

    I really do like the design of the side pull you found. It looks extremely secure, for your rein aides to be interpretable for Pie.

    I found that my "Dr. Cooks" was really ambiguous to my mare. It was the old design, with the chin leathers/reins -unattached- to the crown piece. As you sought connection...it would slip, and therefore make one rein longer. I loved riding bitless, yet there was no getting around the fact that
    it was as you said..."Muddy" for aides.
    "Horse Journal" tested it out and came up with the same ends-

    The "Nurtural Bitless Bridle" seems to have overcome that problem, at least for my mare and I. The piece that connects the reins, under the chin( pat circle X) seems to make my communication distinct for my mare.

    Can't wait to hear more of what Pie and you discover, while riding bitless!

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  12. Any bitless can be harmful in the wrong hands just as a bit can. However having tried every one mentioned in the exception of the LG/Happy bridle (It really is just a mechanical hackamore with a lightened amount of leverage/more depending if you attach the shank or not) the only one I am not fond of because I see it abused more than used is the mechanical hackamore. It works on the mental nerve under the chin which is one of the nerves of the trigminal nerve branch which happens to have a small amount of padding making it more sensitive than other main nerves in this nerve branch. Put that and the action of a mechanical hackmore with a curb strap or chain together and you are creating pain, which IMO defeats the purpose of taking the bit away.

    The nurtural takes away the problems of the dr.cooks. The rein straps do not twist, they are shorter so you have no "fuzzy" communication. The crown piece is also connected so there is literally no pressure on the poll and the noseband has a rubber grippy on it so it cannot slide around on your horses face and create unsure signals. I train everything from 2 year olds to horses over 20 who have both seen bits and never will with this bridle. I also have people ride in it who go about riding with me who gasp and nearly fall off the horse when I ask them how they like riding bitless. Some don't even notice the difference unless I mention it.

    The reason I ride bitless and have my bitless blog is because I went to school. I went to school and learned all sorts of things about anatomy and behavior. Everything science taught me went against years of tradition and even longer times of small development. The original bits date back from when Genghis Khan ruled the earth. He was barbaric and everyone thought the world was flat instead of round.

    However having said this I do believe bitless is for every horse, just not every rider and upon request of clients I will finish their horses in a bit before handing them over but I ALWAYS start them bitless. They are calmer, less agitated with all new sensations and learn faster in all instances and I have had some NASTY horses come my way that flourished bitless. With most bitless they are far more forgiving in experienced hands than any bit will ever be.

    PS- Your not on my bitless blog list, would you like to be? I really enjoy reading your well thought out posts on bitless.
    http://www.bitlesshorseblog.com/p/bitless-blog-list.html

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  13. I've used a Freedom Bridle from Moss Rock Endurance on Sunny (here's a pic) for a couple of years - it looks very similar to either the Nurtural or Dr. Cook's. He went well in it, although it (or more likely my use of it) did nothing to fix his tendency to go hollow and high-headed.

    But he definitely liked it - I had no control issues, although it would have been much easier for him to bull through my hands if he'd wanted to. I didn't find it shifted much. Leaving about two fingers worth of space in the noseband worked. They say you can tie in them, but.... Although I see I'm doing so in the picture, I don't generally - it just LOOKS too insubstantial, I guess.

    I've used it mainly for trail riding, and will likely go back to it for that type of riding this winter - not having to warm up a bit in cold weather is a lovely thing - LOL!

    (Completely un-solicited plug - the bridle is very well made, and their customer service was excellent. Although I haven't bought any more tack from them, if I was looking for something they carry, I would buy from them again with no hesitation whatsoever.)

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  14. p.p.s- this site run by a wonderful woman I met through the bitless horse international group you can try a vast variety of bitless for free/a very little fee and buy that bridle if you like it! Neato http://bitlesshorse.com/

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  15. I ride Miles in an english hackamore, with medium shanks, wide leather noseband padded with fleece and a flat double chain curb. Ideally I would like to use leather curb straps instead of the chain, but because it's a double chain the pressure is dispersed over a wider area and I keep it fairly loose. It's about as mild as a chain curb can be:)

    I, for one, LOVE it. I'm not doing advanced maneuvers with Miles, but I certainly can bend him and do leg yields and shoulder ins with the hackamore. I can also flex him laterally at the halt...I'm a bit more gentle and obvious with my aids, but he gets it.

    I'd prefer he work as well in a bit as he does in the hackamore, but he doesn't. After 2 teeth floats (and watching video of him being ridden with much better riders than I 2 years ago and still having issues of avoidance and gaping with a bit) I think his small mouth combined with a big thick tongue and the legendary TB sensitivity leads to him being very uncomfortable with any bit-at least that I've tried so far. The next bit I'll try with him will be a Myler, at some point.

    For now, though, he is soft, quiet, forward and happy in his hackamore. I am very happy with it. I don't know if I'll try a Dr. Cook's yet or not...still tossing around the idea. I'm also open to a sidepull.

    Great topic!

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  16. great information! i really like the look of the bridle in the first pic - i've never seen it before but i might have to try one of those. it looks like it might even work ok as a light longe cavesson....

    i like my dr cooks, but i agree that it can be kind of a blunt instrument and difficult to give the kind of sensitive aids i'd like. sometimes i also feel like the straps under the jaw are too slow to release from their 'pressure' position, which is less than ideal. some of my horses go well in it (nate is great in it and connects same as he would in a bitted bridle, but he'll also go just as well in a halter and lead rope, so he's easy...) but some of the horses don't seem to appreciate it. i like it best for hacking days or when i know we're going into a situation where my horse might get excited so if i have to be firm it isn't on the mouth!

    i've tried a jumping hackamore (http://www.amazon.com/Kincade-Jumping-Hackamore/dp/B000B9OO8Y) before but found, as you did, that it was stiff and unstable, and after a long ride or repeated use could cause rubs over the nose. i'd cover mine in a halter fleece.

    i'm not a fan of mechanical hackamores. i've only used them a few times, but they can be harsh and, what you gain in control, you lose in precision and sensitivity. most horses i've seen hate them and it is very difficult to differentiate the rein aids because it functions more like a curb than a snaffle. at best you get some neck reining and direct opposition, which is great for brakes but makes for rough steering when used one rein at a time.

    i haven't tried any of the others, but i do like my micklem multibridle (http://www.williammicklem.com/multibridle-multibridle.html). the old model was better, with wider, padded nose and wider, more adjustable headstall. it's versatile (i use it as a longe cavesson, bitted and bitless bridle), seems to fit well and the horses go well in it. the only issue i have is that, when used with a bit, the noseband is designed to be fitted below the bit as a drop noseband, but i just fit it like a normal cavesson.

    even thought i still prefer bits for most horses, i think it's good for all horses to know how to go softly and connected bitless as well. and they're a great tool for rehabbing horses whose mouths have been ruined with bad riding.

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  17. Pie looks great in his sidepull! I hope you like it. My only beef with mine is that I wish the jowl strap was longer. Even buckled on the last hole it feels a little tight to me.

    Personally I don't like hackamores or curbs of any sort- they almost always lead to head throwing.

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  18. Pie looks so handsome in his neew side-pull. It fits perfectly. I bought one of those Combo sidepulls, called a half-breed. It has a basic snaffle bit built into the side pull bridle.
    Baby Doll hated it. She wore mechanical hackamores before I bought her, but I placed her in a Dr. Cook's Bitless Bridle as soon as I brought her home. She was much softer, calmer and relaxed with a low head-set and no mouthing. My neighbor friend used to laugh at how much she slobbered while wearing....something most horses do while bitted and relaxed. lol!

    For the most part I was very happy in it and discovered that it worked well...until your horse tries to steal her head back and just pull in the opposite direction you wanted to go. One rein would become longer and it was impossible to get it to release without dismounting! Bery frustrating. This was only a problem when dealing with my stubborn, opinionated mare when she was barn sour and wanted to head home.

    I also didn't like the way the noseband would made a deep indentation in her nose because she would pull or would try to make me carry her head as she dropped her head lower and lower.

    The Nurtural looks like it would decrease those problems, though and I'd really like to try it one day.

    Thanks for a useful and interesting post.

    ~Lisa

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  19. Great comparisons and analysis, Kate.

    I have a Dr. Cooks, and used it with similar results as you describe. Bar was okay with it, but not great, and I think you probably know Mark Rashid's view that it doesn't relieve pressure fast enough, or enough in general.

    I do notice a lot more distraction with a bit, though. Something to fuss with. I've had his teeth done, so that's not it, but he is more relaxed and soft when I ride with just the halter, so.. hm.

    Thanks for giving me some options to consider!

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  20. I have a Nutural..I have only used it a few times. My complaint..I bought leather instead of beta...breaking it in has been difficult. I started Maddy in a rope hackamore, so she was used to pressure and release on the nose...the cross pressure underneath her jaw confuses her, so I shelved it for now.

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  21. Great discussion being generated here!
    I have no experience with the Dr. Cook's or Nurtural style, nor with a sidepull (though a friend swears by them!). I've abhorred mechanical hackamores since I was a kid, because of the abuse I've seen perpetrated.
    But I love the traditional look of a good bosal. Paint Horse Milo has shared a little of the historical use of this bitless option, and I've read the same sequence as she describes of snaffle--bosal--double bridle (bosalito & curb)-full on "bridle horse" with the traditional Spanish spade bit. (This last looks vicious, but if the training sequence is truly followed, only the very lightest contact is needed.)
    I just ride with a 3/4 inch bosal, and found a slightly softer one than rawhide, though I'm not sure if it's true kangaroo hide or merely a latigo knockoff.
    I first used it on Kate after I'd had her in a snaffle for her first 8-10 rides, then had her teeth done, and vet said "no bit for a month" (because he had to pull wolf teeth and knock off some caps)! She accepted it well, and it produces some nice roundness and the beginnings of collection, as a curb would do. One has to use a little "bump" action if one needs more control--Kate did try to run through it a little the day last month that we first worked cattle. But for the most part she goes well, and I think it keeps her sharp to change things up from a snaffle once in a while. Maddie actually goes better in the bosal, but it tends to rub her tender white face too much, so I've quit using it on her.
    btw--Your sidepull looks like it might be a tad low on Pie's face--I actually created a little bump on Corky's nose when he was young by having the bosal just a little too low, onto the cartilage rather than on solid nose bone. Yours is a nice flat noseband, so it may not be a big deal, but you might want to get an opinion from someone more familiar with side pulls...

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  22. Sydney - yes, please do add me to your list of blogs if you think that's a good idea.

    Evensong - I struggled a bit with the noseband placement with Pie - he has prominent cheekbones and the place where the diagonal crosspiece connects with the cheekpiece was rubbing the end of his cheekbone a bit - not sure what to do about that - I may give the manufacturer a call and get their advice. I didn't have this problem with Dawn - her cheekbones sit a bit higher (closer to the front of her face). I'm also not sure how tight to fasten the chin strap.

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  23. Great post Kate. So far, I like the Dr. Cook's but I am going to try the Nurtural. Also, I am currently working on "building my own" bitless. On my blog, I showed a photograph of a Fjord in a bitless. Thankfully the owner contacted me and explained how she made that bridle. I am going to try to build one for Pie and Sovey AND order a Nurtural to try on them. This will all have to happen after the holidays. It is fun to read what everyone uses!

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  24. Great info - thanks so much for posting. Looking forward to reading all the comments too!

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  25. Thanks Kate for making this review uncomplicated. For a couple of years now I have been buying different bits (because trainers have told us we need this one or that). Quite frankly, I have been intimidated and/or confused by all the different kinds available. We have used only Snaffle and Tom Thumb or variations of (our trainer did use twisted wire snaffle when he was working with them, he has soft hands though, nothing severe went on) for training but the "bitless" is making more sense to me thanks to your explanation. :)

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  26. Let me clarify, it was a fat twisted wire too he used not the thin. It's the bit he likes best for young horse ready for refining. He said we did a great job with snaffle work. Each horse responds differently so you just have to try different kinds of methods to see what works best for control and collection. I have no doubt our horses would do fine in the Nurtural, my riding skills have to improve first!

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  27. Kate-I switched from a kimberwicke myler bit, which Laz was actually OK with-still gaped his mouth a bit though-to a Nurtural.
    At first he hated it BUT it was b/c I did not have it fitted correctly. Nurtural and Sydney actually called me and/or emailed me and helped me thru the process of me sending pictures, etc.
    Laz is very comfortable in the Nurtural and I dont feel like I'm riding in anything different, it's great. My one concern is he is sometimes a bit heavy into the bridle but it has to do more with his balance, and being a downhill horse than the bridle.
    I'm very happy with the Nurtural and Laz is much quieter in it and is able to lick away :)

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  28. great post. I have ordered a Dr. Cook's but all this talk of muddy communication has me a bit worried. I have heard good things about the Micklem Multibridle and EquineInk.com has some good posts on bitless also, if you're interested. I had the impression that the Nurtual was just a copy of the Dr. Cook's, but everywone seems to prefer it here....hmmmmm

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  29. What a wonderful post! I too ride bitless in a rope halter with reins attached. I would like to educate my horse to a bosal but have had real trouble finding somewhere I can buy one in the correct size here in the UK. Can anyone point me in the right direction please? Or perhaps somewhere in the US who would ship out to the UK?

    Many thanks!
    Jo Hughes

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  30. The Hack you posted isn't a mechanical hackamore. It's a Little S hack which has no break-age action, there's no joint or turning point. It's actually a nice hack for those who need a bit more than a sidepull, but less than something like a stop and turn.

    A mechanical hackamore is this:
    http://teskeys.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/a/v/avb132_1.jpg

    It has very real leverage.

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  31. My name is Jordan and I bought a nutural bitless bridle and I found the circle thing under the chin to get in the way of pulling back (I was never really making contact with my horse mo then. The reason I went with the nutural over the cooks is because the reins attachments are attached at the poll and therefore can't become uneven and don't apply as much pressure to the pull. mM has a long head and I tried adjusting it several ways and it never worked so one day I got brave and cut it off! It was amazing. Mo is very responsive to a snaffle (collecting, shoulder ins, two track etc)but I barrel race and he would not stop with it and I was just about ready to resort to a gag bit because he hated curb bits but I wanted to try this first. He listens so good to it and I am able to run and stop him. He doesn't get all bunched up anymore trying to get away from the bit(I assume it hurt him) and he is so relaxed now. It was also a fight to put the bit in his mouth and he actually puts his head in this!

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  32. The LG can be USED like a hack OR NOT depending on where you attach the chin and reins and nose. It is variable by your choice. What I don't like is that they made the wheel out of flat stock instead of round bar stock, which leaves an edge. They should go to round steel stock (like the ring of a snaffle). Remember also that the Cook can pinch the thin skin on the mandible very quickly - ouch! And rollkur can occur with bitless bridles the same as with bitted, in the wrong hands. That's the same as with bits - the HANDS. I have used an Equibridle with some success - it doesn't jerk suddenly but allows a gradual tightening. Cook's prices are too high, anyone can make this at home. Nurtural's X prevents some of the action of the bridle from taking place! The whole point is for the rein to snug up under the mandible to the opposite side of the poll (which assists in turning). If the X stops or slows this motion, it is less effective. I just don't like Cook's prices.

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  33. Also that bosal you showed, note how high the nose part is and how close to the chin the lower part is... when the reins are pulled, that narrow V-shape pinches the jaw as the nose goes forward and the V-shape comes backward. The noseband pushes on the nose as the V pinches the jaw.

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