old Tennessee Walking horse mare, that I exclusively use for trail riding

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Ruby's choice (5pc in bag) - Natural Horse treats - For the Horse Horses-store.com old Tennessee Walking horse mare, that I exclusively use for trail riding

User Comments regarding The BITLESS BRIDLE, from 2000 through 2005 Bitless Bridle User Comments, 2005 Robyn, Tuesday, November 15, 2005: I saw you at the Equine Affaire last week in Massachusetts and purchased one of your bitless bridles.

I have a 21year old Quarter horse that I was using a Kimberwick bit on.

I only ride him out on the trails.

I always thought I needed more bit on him to control him.

I listened you tell me that most of the “bad habits” a horse has is due to the bit.

One thing he used to do was when we were cantering he would lower his head and shake it hard and some times he would even buck.

I took him out for the first time with the bitless bridle and we went on a trail ride over water, through the woods and sand pits (where he would often take off on me).

The first time we cantered he lowered his head in preparation to shake it like usual.

All of a sudden it seemed as though he realized there was no bit in his mouth and he didn’t shake his head or buck.

All of a sudden he collected himself and cantered smoothly.

We galloped and cantered and any time I needed to pull him back I did so as instructed in your manual.

He never once spooked or bucked or shook his head.

I went back to the barn and threw out the Kimberwick.

I will never use a bit with him again.

I told everyone at the barn that they were welcomed to try the bridle out and that I highly recommended it.

I wish I had done this years ago.

Thank you and my horse thanks you. ———————————————-Julie A.

Perron, Tue, 15 Nov 2005: Critter Publishing & Design Publisher of The Critter Exchange/Equine Exchange Operations Director, P.A.G.E.

O.N.E.

Humane Northwood, NH 03261 www.critterexchange.com www.equineexchange.biz www.pageonehumane.org Dr.

Cook, Your presentation at Equine Affaire was the highlight of the weekend for me.

Your diagram of the most sensitive parts of the horse was priceless (along with your explanation of why one area was left out)! The jaw you passed around with the bone spurs along the bars also made a lasting impression.

Your whole manner was educational, entertaining, nonconfrontational, and thought-provoking.

Thank you for being there.

You made a difference in the lives, mouths, and minds of many horses with that one session, I’m sure! I almost did not attend your talk, as I have been riding in one of your bridles for 4 years and adore it.

I’m glad I decided that I should have more information to impart to others when they ask about the bridle, as they do everywhere I go.

My mare came to me as a sour 5-yr old Morgan show horse.

She had been trained Western, and had obviously been “tied down” severely.

Every time she even felt the bit, she ducked! I could barely bridle her (raised head, clamped teeth, etc.), could get no forward gaits, and she tripped constantly.

In hand and on the ground however, she was a very sweet, though wary, horse.

A friend had been trail riding her Arabian in your Bitless Bridle, and gave me one as a present about 4 years ago.

My Ellie was a different horse from Day 1! She suddenly realized that going out could be enjoyable.

Her balance and gaits improved immediately.

She is a very bold horse, but even in large groups, I have never had a problem controlling her in the BB.

Her first time at the beach, I gave not thought to her bridle.

A friend with me was worried that I would lose control.

Her gelding (in a long, harsh shank) reared at the first wave and deposited her in the sand.

Ellie and I had a pleasant, uneventful ride.

Since then we have been on countless organized rides in all sorts of terrain, have done parades, given lessons and pony rides, and have also jumped and driven in our Bitless Bridle (although I JUST saw the driving version on your site and now REALLY want one!!).

Most people stand talking to me, patting Ellie for a few minutes and then say something like… “you didn’t do that with no bit, did you?” I have also used the bit on a variety of horses that board with me and that I have helped others figure out behavioral issues on.

I’ve never met a horse that did not respond favorably and work well in it.

Thank you very, very much for invention, your information, and your continued outreach.

I hope to talk with you in person some time in the future. ———————————————-Rebecca, Thursday, November 10, 2005: Dr.

Cook, I have a 15 yr.

Old Tennessee Walking horse mare, that I exclusively use for trail riding.

When I got her this past January, I decided to go barefoot with her, and since that time, I have been to a few workshops on natural hoof care and am now a part of the AANHCP certification program.

It never made sense to me that I rode Fancy barefoot, but then used a bit.

I always felt guilty about it.

So, this week I tried the bitless bridle for the first time on her, and it worked like a charm! I was amazed at how responsive she was right away to the pressure, and I feel like I have more control with this bridle, than with a bit.

I trail rode with the bitless bridle the 2nd time that I put it on her.

When riding her with a bit, Fancy would constantly “chomp” at the bit.

When I put the bitless bridle on, she seemed confused that she didn’t have a bit in her mouth anymore! Her gaits are better now, and overall she just feels looser.

She still acts barn sour and tries to turn around here and there when I ride her alone, but I don’t feel guilty now that I’m pulling on her mouth, and she also seems a little more willing with the bitless bridle.

I had hoped to ride with it all week, but got sick so I am disappointed that I have only ridden her once in it.

My friend is going to try my bridle on her Tenn.

Walker next week…I will let you know how she likes it.

You know, we really should give the Native Americans more credit.

They rode barefoot over all terrain and bitless, too.

I hope that more and more people will catch on to the bitless bridle and natural hoof care, so that domesticated horses will be happier!!! ———————————————-Jim, Saturday, November 12, 2005: Dear Dr Cook: I purchased your Bitless Bridle several weeks ago to use on my 2 1/2 yr old Grade Palamino stud colt.

I want you to know that the results are truly amazing.

To begin with, he accepted the bridle without hesitation.

I was very grateful for this as I do not want to use a traditional Iron Age torture device on this horse.

Without inflicting trauma and pain to the horse he has also accepted the saddle pad and saddle without a flinch.

I am bringing him along slowly and so I will not actually set in the saddle for a couple of more weeks.

I am hoping that I will simply be able to “walk off” with him at that point (he will actually be 3 yrs old at that time).

Your bridle is outstanding.

I gladly recommend your bridle to anyone contemplating using it on a horse that is already trained or in the process of training such as mine. ———————————————-Jennifer, Wednesday, November 02, 2005: Hi there, Recently I ordered a bridle to be donated to my favorite horse rescue (Perfect Harmony in New Mexico) and Bitless Bridle graciously offered to donate one as well to match my gift…

Thought you might like some more happy feedback.

I donated this bridle because I was already convinced of it’s virtues.

Sending two to the Rescue for the price of one was just “icing” from my perspective.

Thank you very much for offering to sponsor the passion of one of your customers.

Now for the feedback: They like it. (I knew it) They like it (Told ’em so) They like it.

Which now means every single person who ever encounters Perfect Harmony, will get an earful about you…

And I hope eventually this snowballs into something nice for your company.

It was a pleasure for me to introduce them to you.

You have no idea how much it tickles me to switch people over to your bridle.

It’s the same happy feeling you get when you find money on the ground, I suppose.

A rescued horse is generally in so much of a disadvantage (in the sense that by the time they are rescued, they may no longer be open to the idea of communicating with a human in the 1st place,) and a simple tack item like this can mean the difference between bridging a communication gap or accidentally shutting it forever.

Hope you stop what you’re doing for just a sec and let yourself feel warm and fuzzy for a moment.

This was a GOOD tool for a horse sanctuary.

You can quote any part of this you like. ———————————————-Sarah, Wednesday, November 02, 2005: Dear Bob, A rather late reply.

First of all thank you for designing such an amazing bridle.

I have studied your web site hard, really read it and found it fascinating.

I then purchased our first BB for my daughter who has a 14 hand conemara pony.

She has been hunting for several years here and is a good jockey and very conscientious however her arms were being pulled out of her sockets and he used to hang onto the bit, ghastly.

With the BB it changed significantly and she has just started hunting again and he goes perfectly. My husband went and did an unofficial point to point the second day of wearing the BB. 16 1 hand thoroughbred and came 6th.

He then went and did another one two weeks later and came 1st.

The first had approx 23 X country jumps and the 2nd 34 Xcountry jumps! The other horses her in the yard are all in bitless bridles and are all hunting superbly.

All the bits have gone.

We school them on the flat and SJ them with no problem at all.

I could never go back to using a bit the reduction in so many annoying symptoms has gone and one can now concentrate on working the horses properly.

Several of the trainers have been tricky, one in particular but it just made me stronger and I had to stand up for all that you have done.

Thank you.

Thank you so so much what an amazing contribution you have had to the equestrian world.

I could continue for ages. ———————————————-Marianne, Wednesday, November 02, 2005: I have been using your bridle for several years now and let my horses tell me how happy they are.

I will never switch back.

I am reschooling a 4 year old whose head was obviously tied down.

She leaned severely to the right.

Although you suggest the nose piece being low and I would agree on a well trained supple horse that is correct, I have found that putting the nose piece higher as a noseband would be encourages suppleness and you can counterflex at the poll easier.

If you have clients who experience a one sided horse this may be a good suggestion.

I would try lunging this way first to see what works.

My own mare has gotten much better on her left side using the nose piece this way and now allows me….to put it lower and I say allows me since the horse will always tell you what’s correct.

By the way I have from time to time lunged her in a full cheek snaffle to see the difference in her way of going and that tells me all I need to know.

We are working toward true collection!!! Thank you for your product, I now own 5 of them. ———————————————-Cheryl, Wednesday, October 12, 2005: I want to say thank you for developing the bitless bridle.

I have a 16 year old Arabian, Mickee, who was given to bolting after taking hold of the bit in his teeth, and try as I might, I was unable to stop this behavior.

I came across your website about six months ago and decided to order one of the beta bridles.

I am amazed at how my horse has responded so positively to it.

The first few times he would throw his head up and mouth as if trying to get a hold of the bit.

HA! It wasn’t there, and he was quite confused at why I still had control of his head.

We are continuing to work with him everyday, and he’s coming along incredibly well.

My husband, who is a completely beginning rider, has established quite a bond with Mickee, and he is now riding him.

This bridle has actually made us change our mind about getting rid of Mickee, as we are now quite happy to keep him.

I also bought another beta bridle for my 3 year old Friesian Sport Horse, Pippa, and I am looking forward to using this on her as I continue her training.

She has not had a bit in her mouth, nor will she, thanks to your wonderful bridle.

I’m quite sure she will respond perfectly to it as she is well used to the “giving to pressure” training techniques.

Again, thank you so much for this fantastic and humane way of connecting with our horses. Cheryl, Thursday, October 13, 2005: I love that I can lunge my horse in this bridle because I always hated seeing horses, especially young ones, cranked down tight with the bit biting into their mouths.

I tried putting a very mild bit into Pippa’s mouth at the urging of my trainer, “Just leave her bridle on her in her stall for a few hours.

She’ll eventually get used to it.” It took about two minutes for her to rub the whole bridle off her head at which point she wouldn’t have anything to do with it.

I never had the heart to try it again, and I vowed never to bit her again but to find a more gentle way of doing things.

After all, I know plenty of people who ride their horses in a simple halter, and my horse is already the picture of perfection when it comes to “giving to pressure”.

Pippa is a Friesian/Thoroughbred 3 year old, and I will not begin riding her until she is 4, but we have plenty of training we can do before then.

I’m going to begin using her bitless bridle in place of her rope halter next week, so I’ll let you know how her training progresses.

Again, thank you so much for giving me a way to allow her to continue to trust me as we build our lifelong partnership.

It means more than either of us can say. ———————————————-Rita, Saturday, October 01, 2005: Subject: The Bitless Bridle may have saved my life Tilly is my favorite lesson horse.

She is a 28 year old Quarter Horse mare, about 14.2 hands tall, and so healthy and strong you’d swear she is a lot younger than that.

She is also usually calm and really lovely under saddle.

We took her and my husband’s horse, Rusty, out on the trail today for an hour or so ride.

Everything was going very well.

We finished our ride and decided to get off and walk the last half mile or so home.

As I was dismounting, the saddle slipped underneath Tilly’s belly.

My left foot was stuck in the stirrup.

I hit the ground hard and was stunned for several seconds.

So, there I was, my foot still in the stirrup, the saddle under my horse, and my hand still clutching the reins in a death grip.

A lesser horse would have let that be enough to scare her into bolting.

If she had bolted, I might have been dragged to death.

At the very least, I would have sustained some really serious injuries.

AND, if Tilly had had a bit in her mouth, the pain of that bit being yanked hard might have caused her to panic, even if the saddle being under her didn’t.

She didn’t panic.

She stood stoically and waited for me to get myself together, get my foot out of the stirrup and get up.

She was sniffing me all over as I lay there.

I think she was making sure I was okay — she’s just that kind of horse.

Anyway, I did get up with no more serious injuries than a slightly sprained ankle and a bruise or two from the fall.

I fixed the saddle and led Tilly back to the stable without any problems.

I credit Tilly with being calm and well-trained and for loving me and trusting me, but I credit the bitless bridle for not causing Tilly terrible pain and causing a bad accident to get SO much worse.

Thank you again for providing this wonderful product.

We use the bitless bridle on all the horses we ride and they all love it.

Mike, my husband, now owns Rusty and Mike won’t ride with a bit now.

Rusty took to it so well, I doubt you could get a bit in his mouth now, anyway.

Tilly, Clementine, and Bella are the three horses I have used my bitless bridle on, and they all love it, too.

Tilly, as I said, is calm and well-trained.

Clementine is young and reactive, but easily controllable with the bitless bridle.

Bella is scared of a lot of things, but the bitless seems to give her confidence she didn’t have before. From my husband: Dr.

Cook: Thanks for a few more years with my wife.

I was there.

Any other horse WOULD have bolted and dragged her to death, but even if Tilly weren’t the great horse she is, your bridle would have spared her pain and kept that from adding to an already dangerous situation.” And thank you, too, for turning a good horse into a great one.

I don’t feel bad about tacking Rusty up any more.

I used to feel awful about sticking a bit in his mouth.

He hated it and I hated it.

It looked like what it was and that’s a torture device meant to inflict pain to control the horse.

I haven’t fallen off yet, but I will, and it’s nice to know I won’t tear his mouth open when I can’t let go of the reins in time.

He’s happy so I’m happy.” ———————————————-Keryl, Tuesday, September 27, 2005: Dear Dr.

Cook, I have been using your bitless bridle since May and it has been a dream come true for my horse and I.

We were having a terrible time, my horse greenbroke, loving everything except the bit.

It turns out he has a under developed lower jaw and physically just has no room for a bit.

From the moment I put on the bitless bridle he loved it, and it has enabled us to progress with his training…

I am also involved with the therapeutic riding programs and feel that the bitless bridle would be of benefit to a lot of their riders and horses. ———————————————-Frieda, Saturday, September 24, 2005: Subject: Wow! Just wanted to let you know we tried our new bridle today on a short ride and oh my goodness what a difference! My Paso was a different horse.

After a couple of minutes he smoothed out and acted like such a good boy.

He responded so well! It’s a……..

It’s a miracle.

If Casa could talk to you he would give you a big “Thank you!”.

I am really looking forward to some cooler weather so that we can go for a long test ride.

And I can’t wait to tell all my riding friends what has helped us to achieve such great results. [Carole responds: I’m glad to hear that you and Casa are happy with the BB! May we add your nice testimonial to our website collection? Best regards, Carole] Frieda, Thursday, October 13, 2005: Subject: Re: Wow! Hi Carole, Please forgive me for not answering sooner.

The reason I hesitated to give permission to use my testimonial was because I was waiting for the “honeymoon” to end.

I kept thinking my Paso boy would go back to his “normal” self after using the bitless bridle a couple of times.

Well that line of thinking couldn’t have been more wrong! It still seems too good to be true, but it is true – he keeps getting better and better.

Once a horse that was a real pain in the neck, he is now a joy to ride! He is responding better to all my aids and seems happy to get out on the trails.

The problems I was having with him are disappearing.

At one time (before the BB) I was considering selling him.

He is such a sweet boy and loves people so I searched for anything that might help us before resorting to such a drastic measure.

Thank you for being there with your miracle bridle.

I will never ever use anything else.

And if I can’t show him in the BB we’ll just wait until they change the rules.

Please use my testimonial and let everyone know what a great product you have! You can bet I will sing your praises to all that will listen.

Thanks again ———————————————-Laurie, Mims, Florida, Saturday, September 17, 2005: Getting my horse was a dream come true but riding was a different matter.

Now with the combination of the Bob Marshall Treeless Sport Saddle and your bridle I have the effortless communication that I desired.

A fortune’s worth of clinics could not have given me what you both have. ———————————————-Melody, Thursday, August 25, 2005: I have a friend, Joann and she was having so much trouble bridling her horse Budlight, it would take up to 20 minutes or longer to get a bit into Budlights mouth and she wasn’t riding much because it was taking the fun out of being with him.

She had her vet check him physically to see if that could be the problem and found nothing.

She asked me to look on the Internet for soft-mouthed bits, bosals and hacks maybe one of these would work but I came across your site and printed it off for her.

She was so excited that she bought one right away and loved it….

Well I thought I’d like to try it also, I don’t have any problems with my Cisco taking the bit but I do want to make every effort to make riding more fun for him too.

I also bought one and I can’t believe the difference, he is more responsive than before and we have only tried it once.

Your Bitless Bridle is sweet…

I can’t say enough good about it but Thank You, you have made two older ladies and their boys very happy. ———————————————-Jeane, Tue, 23 Aug 2005: Subject: Re: Bucking Thank you for your help.

It was so nice of you to get back to me so quickly.

I rode my gelding tonight and we experienced some bucking.

I am pretty sure that I’m way too heavy in the hands.

He kept wanting to buck going into the canter.

I think I am holding on with my hands and he’s feeling the squeeze.

We practiced some more and I just gave him the reins and he cantered just fine with no buck.

I am realizing that my horses respond with very little pressure from the bitless bridle and I’m just not used to it.

They are letting me know that I need to ease up! There is definitely some Joie de Vie too! I will stop using power pressure and keep practicing and I think we will be fine.

I still can’t believe the incredible stop my horses have.

We were flying towards the barn tonight and with just a tiny squeeze we came to a nice stop.

Thank you for this bridle!!!! ———————————————-Traci, Monday, August 22, 2005: I just wanted to take a few moments to tell you how pleased I am with my bitless bridle.

I had bought mine over three years ago, but couldn’t get the nerve up to actually try it.

I have started riding my 13 year old mustang gelding in it this year and am amazed at the results I am getting.

It has taken all the fight out of the ride.

In a bit my horse was hard to control, I spent more time dodging his head which he was throwing up constantly than riding.

With the bitless he walks on a loose rein and turns with great lateral flexion.

The other problem I had was his “whoa” left a lot to be desired, which made me feel unsafe when riding him, with the bitless he stops with a minimal cue.

He is happy with his bitless bridle and so am I.

I just kick myself for not trying it sooner.

I took my horse to a natural horsemanship clinic yesterday and the clinician was very impressed with my bitless bridle.

I had a lot of people ask me where I got it, so I was sure to tell them where to look it up on the internet to get one of their own.

Thanks to your bridle I am enjoying a horse that I almost sold because he was too much for me.

Thank you for such a quality product. ———————————————-Peggy, Wednesday, August 17, 2005: I received my new bridle yesterday and rode with it today.

My horse was calm, collected and relaxed.

She did not toss her head or pull on the bridle.

These were all behaviors she had on a bit.

It didn’t matter what bit, she did not like it in her mouth.

I felt like she was more comfortable, therefore I was more comfortable.

She was easy to fit in the bridle and she just was calmer about the whole process.

I think that any horse owner who wants their horse to be comfortable and manageable, this is the bridle.

The main reason I wanted to get this bridle is that my horse knows the verbal command whoa and does it easily with ground work, but put the bit in her mouth and she struggled with the slightest pressure.

With the bitless bridle, I could ask for a whoa verbally and use just the slightest pressure and I got a complete and prompt stop.

That spoke volumes to me about the comfort of my horse.

I hated the amount of pressure needed to stop with a bit.

I have only owned this horse for 6 weeks, and I knew I needed something different in order to enjoy my time on her back.

I want to be a good partner with my horse and I feel that this is the best step toward that goal.

This is a well constructed gentle aid for better horsemanship.

Thank you Dr.

Cook and your staff for making my riding experience with my horse a safer, and more comfortable and happier experience. ———————————————-Jennifer, Sunday, August 14, 2005: Subject: Bitless Bridle in Dec 05 Hoof Beats Magazine Dr.

Cook, I have used your bridle on my retired Standardbred basically since I got him.

I was his first rider.

My article about him and my photos of him (using bitlessbridle) will be in the December 05 Hoof Beats Magazine.

I mention your bridle in the article.

Cody would not stop grinding his teeth.

I heard of your bridle and got one.

Thank you! Please check out www.sphofl.com.

Click photo album and then members photos.

You’ll find Cody with the bitlessbridle. ———————————————-Emily (and Izzy) from Northumberland, Friday, August 12, 2005: Dear Dr Cook, I bought a BB last year for my fizzy Standardbred mare who was at times a total ‘nightmare’ to ride.

She pulled, jogged, danced sideways, wrenched the reins out of my hands.

She also used to click her teeth together somewhat like and old lady with false teeth.

She was nasty to bridle and managed to bite me on several occasions.

The worst behavior though was when cantering (trying to) she would occasionally tense up, her head would come up higher and higher, then she would shoot off at a flat out gallop and not stop until she felt like it. (Very frightening.) When I found an article about your bridle, it all made perfect sense, so I brought one, tried it out, now I have a fabulous horse.

Still fast but not dangerous, I always feel that there is ‘someone there’ on the other end of the reins, although sometimes she won’t stop straight away, she ‘acknowledges’ that I want to and complies eventually.

No more ‘dead from the neck up’ feeling.

Also no more jogging and all the other bad behavior that she displayed previously.

Amazing enough, despite the others on the yard seeing such a difference in us both, they still are of the mindset that – oh I could never stop my horse without a bit – I can stop MUCH easier than when I used a 3 ring gag – bits don’t stop horses, I could have used a strand of barbed wire and it wouldn’t have stopped her, she was running away from pain.

Now she’s not getting pain from the bit she stops when asked.

Simple, not rocket science! I also had a bit of a ‘run in’ with a lady from a Myler bit clinic re the bridle! ———————————————-Tausha, Monday, August 08, 2005 2:07 PM Thank you for giving me my horse back! I own a 14 year old arab/qh mare who before I got her was ridden very hard and was whipped when she didn’t do everything right.

The more I rode her the worse she would get, she would stick her head straight up and would freak out if I put any pressure on the reins, would rear, bolt and do every thing she could to get me off.

Then I tried the bitless bridle and he doesn’t do any of these things, recently your bridle saved me from a dangerous situation, I was riding on a trail and she was acting very spooky, she tried to bolt but as soon as reign pressure was applied she stopped. ———————————————-Subject: Gunner’s Story (from the horse mouth), Monday, August 08, 2005: My name is Gunner, my mommy adopted me two years ago from an abusive ranch, I was very scared and had booboos on my back, feet and face, but mommy loved me anyway.

She took off those painful metal things (shoes) from my hooves and I love being barefoot.

I hated that darn heavy thing on my back (saddle) because I knew it gave me booboos so I made sure mommy knew I was scared and side stepped, shook and nipped to let her know.

She got me a new one and I don’t mind mommy putting it on my back anymore.

Mommy always put stuff (curb bit) in my mouth that I hated.

I again, let her know that it hurt by tossing my head in the air, not listening to her, and grabbing that thing (the bit) in my teeth so it would not hurt.

People use to hit me in my face because of my behavior so I was really scared.

So, again, my mommy got me something new.

She called it a Bitless Bridle.

I had never seen this Bitless Bridle before, but I let her put it on my head since nothing went in my mouth.

Mommy got on my back without the saddle and we rode around the yard (area between the outbuildings).

At first, I was a little concerned (a little hesitation) with this new and different thing, but after about one minute I realized that there was nothing hurting me and mommy was asking me very nicely to turn left and right, walk, trot, and stop.

I liked doing them all and I went anywhere mommy wanted to go and stood still when she wanted me to.

I never once tossed my head and I listened to everything mommy asked.

Mommy and I were so excited.

Mommy and I can’t wait to use this Bitless Bridle all the time.

Mommy says we are going on a trail ride very soon with my new Bitless Bridle, I can’t wait.

Mommy promised she would never put things (bits) in my mouth again.

I’m a very happy horse and I’m so glad my mommy got me a Bitless Bridle! — But here’s, for me, a situation that shows why I’m using the Bitless Bridle.

A few days ago, I was riding my very green Morab filly around the barn.

She’s been under saddle maybe 6 or 7 times…and always in a round pen or riding arena.

I was riding her bareback in an open area, so she was a bit spooky about everything.

In other words, I had only enough control to stop her from running rampant. 🙂 She would turn and stop, but was very skittish.

Now, many people would say that IF I had had a bit in her mouth, I would have more control.

But only to the extent that I could have caused her pain.

Yes, that would have gotten her attention, but it could also have caused her to spook more! The fault was NOT in the bridle, but in the lack (so far) of training.

I was also very reassured that, if I needed to really check her forward motion, that I could do so painlessly.

Now, as for the trainer, I had said, repeatedly, that she is welcome to borrow our bridles at any time.

I wish that she WOULD try it…I would love to hear her opinion.

For us, we’re using them on an untrained filly and a 5 yr.

Old mare that we’ve had less a month.

The 5 yr.

Old came to us with some “issues,” as in, she’s used to being able to go in the direction SHE wants to go in …

A habit I’m sure she would try in a bit, too.

So again, we will work on the training issues without fear of inflicting pain.

Oh, one last comment (can you tell I’m “sold” on these bridles? )…I LOVE the fact that I can work with my horses and there’s no “mouthing,” slobbering, chomping, etc.

I actually think they pay BETTER attention because they’re not distracted by a hunk of metal in their mouth. ———————————————-Jocelyn, Sumerel Training & Therapy, 8/11/04: We had a fantastic workshop at a farm here in VA.

This past weekend.

I am so glad to tell you that many children were in the class and after the workshop was over on Sunday, we had the entire group of kids riding their horses BAREBACK in BITLESS BRIDLES!!! The horses were so very happy…

All of them behaved so wonderfully….

All of their so called obnoxious habits disappeared like magic…

No head tossing or bucking, or gaping mouths—just happy horses with happy kids riding them.

The parents were just incredulous, and their trainer was so thrilled that she bought three Bitless Bridles.

I made Dan film the whole thing, and we are going to have our video man set it to music, and show it in the booth at Expos and Clinics.

The kids were so very tickled to have their horses behave so well.

They had always been told to hit their horses when they exhibited behavior which was considered ” bad “.

It was so wonderful to talk to the kids and touch them in such a way that they understood how detrimental the bit is to horses.

What a wonderful way to make a difference in the horses’ lives and to shape a “new” way of thinking for the children–our future horsemen and women.

Jocelyn, Sumerel Training and Therapy, 8/13/04: Of course you may use my recount of the wonderful experience we had with the Bitless Bridle this past weekend in our Clinic.

It was truly awe inspiring, and it just validates how so many problems with horses can be directly traced to what WE, as HUMANS, impose upon them.

We recently had a gorgeous little filly born to my beloved mare, and I have promised her she will never, ever feel a bit in her mouth, a shoe on her foot, or a spur in her side.

There simply is no necessity for it, and as you have proven, it is detrimental to the horse’s well being, both emotionally and physically.

I ALWAYS felt that in my heart, since I was a small child awed by the magnificence and grace of the equine.

I am now so proud to be associated with those who believe the same as I do.

So, yes, you may use my recount on your website, or wherever you need it.

I must thank YOU for giving us the ability to make so many more people aware of what the bit is doing to their horses, and for allowing us to offer them a very humane alternative.

I know how much happier my mare is since she has been in your Bitless Bridle.

As soon as we can get the video done up professionally, I promise you that we will get a copy to you.

I truly look forward to someday meeting you in person and hugging you for what you have done for so many of the wonderful creatures whom I have adored since I was a child. ———————————————-In answer to a question about subtle communication with the Bitless Bridle: [Dr.

Cook responds: Carole has asked me to respond to your interesting question.

First, let me say that I fully understand the feelings of your trainer.

Similar reservations have been frequently made about the ability of the Bitless Bridle to communicate subtle messages.

But with all due respect, such doubts are unfounded.

Please ask your trainer, if she has any doubts, to spend a while browsing through the Users’ Comments on our website.

Your trainer can best refute her own argument by using the bridle herself.

She will then discover, for herself, that by focusing on seat and leg (a principle that I feel sure she upholds) and using minimal ‘hands’ that her horses will respond very happily to the cues.

She will be able to communicate the most subtle of signals, yet without the risk of triggering resistance.

Metal aids are unnecessary.

Yes, the skin at the corner of the lips is more sensitive than the skin in other parts of the head.

Nevertheless, when gentle pressure is applied to the skin over one half of the whole head (steering) or to the skin over the whole head (stopping) there is no shortage of signal.

Recall that any part of the skin is sensitive enough to feel a fly landing.

So a whole-head-hug or a half-head-nudge gives more than an ample signal.

Furthermore, with a bit in a horse’s mouth, I would have to disagree that it is possible to be selective about which part of the mouth anatomy even the most skilful rider is stimulating.

The bit is too crude an instrument to permit such finesse.

The gentlest squeeze of the finger will put pressure on bone, tongue and skin.

It is not possible to signal one without the others.

And the final result as to which tissues are most affected, will in any case depend a great deal on how the horse reacts to the pressure, whether ” for example – he retracts his tongue or places it over the bit.

The hope that a gentle squeeze of the fingers is transmitted only to the corners of the lips and not to the rest of the mouth is a myth and not based on reality.

The only contraindication for using the Bitless Bridle is nothing to do with whether or not it is a sufficiently sensitive method (it undoubtedly is) but the purely practical reason that it is not possible to use it for competition work under the current FEI regulations.

Dr.

Jessica Jahiel has even put forward her own opinion to the effect that the only reason for using a bit is as a means of testing the rider’s hands.

If a rider can use a bit without upsetting any horse, under any circumstances, in any of a hundred different ways, she can claim to have ‘quiet hands.’ But this is rather like requiring every barber to use a cut-throat razor when an electric razor gives a perfectly good shave and is so much safer for both barber and customer.

The Bitless Bridle is a pain-free method of communication.

The same cannot be said of the bit, no matter how skillfully employed.

I am sure that your trainer would not choose to use a method of communication that inflicts pain or the threat of pain when a more humane alternative is available that is actually a more effective method of communication.

So please ask your trainer …

Has she actually tried the bridle? And has she used it long enough, on a range of horses, to become familiar with what it has to offer both rider and horse? Even one ride may be a revelation and could change her life.

Please let me know. – Robert Cook] ———————————————-Diane, Irwin, PA, 8/25/04: I just tried the Bitless Bridle on my 21-year-old appendix quarter horse.

She is a fussy mare that hates a bit as much as I do.

I have a collection of snaffle bits and she would literally gag and chew on them, wrinkle her nose, pull on the reins, and over-flex.

You name it, MISSY did it.

I always felt like she was so concerned with the bit that she paid no attention to me.

I came across your site and thought I had nothing to lose by purchasing the bridle.

Well, here are the results.

The very first time she had the bridle on she was much more relaxed, walked, trotted, listened, and didn’t run off.

She did circles, so bending was not a problem.

She turned right and left, halted when asked and even backed-up, which she would refuse to do with a bit.

Her overall demeanor was much better.

Her ears were forward and said she was happy.

When my horse is happy, I am happy.

I know this weekend all of my friends will want to try the bridle on their horses.

Thank you so much and MISSY thanks you too. ———————————————-Julie, 8/26/04: I just wanted you to know that the Bitless Bridle arrived yesterday.

My husband and I put it on Gandalf and adjusted it per your instructions.

It works wonderfully! In the past three weeks, Gandalf has purposely invaded my space to the point of crossing his front legs in order to step on my foot and then, knock me over while standing on my foot.

My right foot has been stepped on twice, my left foot once, and I have a bruised spine and a mild concussion.

Not because he is a “bad” horse.

He is just so enamored with me, I can’t keep him at a decent distance, even though he is gelded (I’m positive he was gelded.

I watched the surgery.) Plus, he is my only horse and I think he just wants to play, also.

But not any more!!! With just the lightest correction with his lead rope, he responded beautifully.

I am so happy.

I haven’t tried lunging him, yet; but I’m sure that he will do much, much, better, now.

He is a very smart boy.

He does know voice commands very well.

He is just a little unpredictable sometimes.

He climbs ladders, gates, gets into his water trough, plays in the hose.

He is very funny.

Sometimes “funny” can hurt and the Bitless Bridle will help greatly with that.

Dr.

Cook, you are an angel for sending me the Bitless Bridle.

I will send you pictures, in the near future.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Julie, 10/25/04: The Bitless Bridle that you sent me, for GANDALF, is working very well.

I just started him with driving lessons and he did pretty good.

Much better than I expected. ———————————————-Thea, Limon, CO, 9/1/04: I received my bridle in the mail and tried it for the first time on Sunday.

I have to admit to being a little nervous – it has always been drilled into me that without the bit you have no control.

I even took a ruler out with me to make sure I had the bridle adjusted just as the manual advised.

My horse, CIMARRON, seemed comfortable enough after I had it all done so it was time to try it out.

As is usual for him, as soon as I was in the saddle and picked up the reins, Cimarron threw up his head which is usually followed by constant chewing on the bit and almost constant fidgeting with his head.

This time he paused and dropped his head.

I asked him to do a couple of turns and to stop (including a verbal “whoa”).

He seemed a little hesitant at first, but then relaxed and responded well.

So, we hit the road.

Cimarron was mainly used as a show horse and had only one home before me so his experience with the great outdoors, especially in this area, was limited.

He tends to be a bit spooky (so many new things) which I think had a lot to do with him being so uncomfortable and distracted with what was on his head.

On this ride he was MUCH calmer, still a little nervous with new things – but no whirling away or feeling always ready to jump.

He would tense up a bit and I would talk to him and bring his focus back on me by giving him a cue and he would just look at the spooky thing and walk right on by.

It was great! He also seemed so much more comfortable and confident – his tail was very relaxed, he had a good head movement and no more constant mouthing and lipping at the reins and at the bit.

When stopping to visit with a neighbor, Cimarron starting mouthing at the reins almost like a bad habit when bored – but nothing compared to the previous rides we had.

He has never been hard to handle and his gaits were lovely, but I could tell he was uncomfortable with the bit or hackamore I was using no matter how gentle I was.

And his constant messing with his bit and reins was annoying to me.

With your product, we can both enjoy our rides together.

He was a good 80% better on this last ride and I am looking forward to see how he does on our next ride.

He is still responding well to cues for his gaits and responds better to his sidepass cues with this bridle.

I was a bit skeptical about the claims on your web site, but I wanted it so much to work.

I am so happy to say that just by our first ride, I feel your bridle is everything it claims to be.

It is too bad that I had not heard of this product before.

Have there been any articles or advertisements in equine catalogs or magazines? I don’t remember seeing it.

Everyone I spoke to out here had never heard of it either.

Have you considered advertising or having a booth at shows like Denver’s National Western Stock Show which is held in January?? I’m telling everyone I know, but every horsemen, beginner to advanced, should know about your product and what it does for the horse and rider.

Thank you again!! ———————————————-Alicia, 9/1/04: I actually just started taking dressage lessons a month and a half ago (up until this point I have always ridden exclusively in hunters) on my QH/TB gelding and did my most recent one in my Bitless Bridle.

JON (my gelding) was fabulous and was doing leg yields, half passes, collecting nicely, and even had some suspension in his trot! My instructor, who is a huge dressage force here in York, really wants a bridle for herself now! I was so excited to tell her all about it and especially to have her see my guy go so well without a bit! I was also in a treeless Ansur saddle and definitely had a very happy horse. ———————————————-Christina, 9/11/04: The Bitless Bridle has been the answer to better communication between my Quarter Horse gelding and I.

He had previously seemed to fret with both the snaffle and the reining bit.

After introducing the Bitless Bridle to him over several outings he began to respond willingly to slight touches of the reins.

He will (now) drop his head to waist level to wear the new bridle.

When I used a bit bridle he seemed reluctant to open his mouth to accept the bit.

We are now trail riding with no apparent problems.

Thank-you from LEGACY SIR CHANCELOT and myself.. ———————————————-Denaze, 9/12/04: Subject: My horse thanks you! I purchased my first horse, a 7 y/o Belgian/Quarter horse mare last month.

I am a 46 y/o mother of three children and an animal lover all around, so I chose to pursue a natural approach with my new mare.

I am schooled in Pat Parelli’s program and the Bitless Bridle just made sense to me.

I have been riding WILLOW, my mare, in a loose ring French snaffle bit during lessons and a Parelli rope halter with a Parelli lead rope for hacking and practice.

Well, she responds SO much better in the halter that I decided it was time to “try” your bridle! I have been wanting to buy one of your bridles for months but met with opposition from other “uneducated” equestrians, who said I would be wasting my money …

That I just needed to be more authoritative with my mounts.

I got my order from you all this morning and rode Willow soon afterWOW, she was SOOOOO relaxed and responsive that I was teary-eyed the whole time riding-out of pure joy!!!!!! I will NEVER put her in another bridle.

Willow is a VERY responsive mare and is extremely well trained, but I just knew she was uncomfortable in the different bits I have tried her in.

I even had the equine dentist float her teeth to make sure that was not the problem …

It wasn’t.

I was right about my initial inclination to use your bridle and now I can proudly let others see they were wrong!!!! The only thing I regret is I didn’t buy the leather padded Bitless Bridle (I bought the Beta) to start out! I will be ordering it in the near future though.

I love leather, the smell, the feel…! I have two teenagers who also ride and they can’t wait to ride Willow in the new Bitless Bridle!!! Thank you for making such a wonderful product! I am going to recommend Pat Parelli endorse your bridles …

They are truly wonderful! ———————————————-Kim, 9/15/04: You probably don’t remember me, but I bought my Bitless Bridle from you sometime back in 2002.

I have had my Morgan horse who I bought since 12/01.

I think I bought the bridle sometime in the late spring early summer of 2002.

I had written to you after having a harrowing experience with FINNEGAN and him spooking, with me unable to stop him. I was a new horse owner and believed others opinion that he needed to be ridden in a bit.

I did for a brief time put him back into a bit but it just made me so upset.

In the interim I pulled his shoes and put him in a treeless saddle and “LEARNED” how to ride.

In Sept of 2003 I put his Bitless Bridle back in and have never looked back.

Anyway, this past Sunday I competed in the Bedford, NY Hunter Pace held on Sept 12, 2004 and although we didn’t win, we did it in awesome fashion, Barefoot, Bitless and Treeless.

Just wanted to let you know that as I crossed the finish line a woman BLURTED out “Hey You Have No Bit in Your Horses Mouth.” I said, “Of course not, nor do I have shoes or a tree in my saddle.” Many people came up to find out how I stop my horse without a bit.

I explained that bits don’t stop horses.

Anyway, just wanted to say THANKS. ———————————————-Connie, 9/15/04: I bought a Bitless Bridle a couple of months ago and have been delinquent in sending you my horse’s response, sorry.

She is a 12-year-old Tennessee Walking horse, used for just pleasure riding.

She has overall behaved very well, but she would always “test” me after about a half hour of riding.

She would often refuse to turn to the left.

I had the horse dentist come out and balance her teeth, he said that she must have never had had her teeth looked at before (I have only had her about 6 months).

She still had her wolf teeth and some irregularities with her teeth, which he fixed, but suspected caused problems with the bit.

She would also show reluctance when tacking her up, a very definite lack of enthusiasm.

FIRE does really great with the Bitless Bridle, she took to it immediately and now stands still while being mounted, tests me less, and turns more readily in both directions, she will also back up in a straight line, where with the regular bridle she will not back at all.

I did retry the regular bridle after the dentist worked on her teeth and now she does do better in that, but overall she just does better with the the Bitless Bridle.

And also I certainly prefer the idea of it.

Thanks. ———————————————-Terri, 9/24/04: I have just received the Bitless Bridle and have read, with great interest your articles on breathing and bleeding.

I have a short Quarter mare who barrel races and does gymkhana at the top level.

Immediately upon beginning the canter or gallop-in training, or all out at the shows, she roars and exhibits very loud labored breathing.

She has also bled from the nostrils several times.

She was scoped and no abnormalities were found, previously leading me to believe that the vet’s assessment was incorrect.

Of course after reading your articles I’m hoping the problem is as simple as just the bit.

I used lasix once and it did seem to help.

Are you still practicing and, if so, are you in my area-Southern California? I really need an expert’s opinion.

The mare is a fabulous competitor but I feel it is dangerous to continue for her sake and mine.

I feel like she will “drop dead” in action.

She is only 6yr.

So not age related.

I also do endurance and will be anxious to try the bridle on my Arab who hates the bit.

Thank you. [Dr.

Cook responds: As you know, I am especially interested in the cause of bleeding and so found your e-mail of particular fascination.

I am now 73 and live on the East coast (Maryland).

I am no longer practicing but I am still very much involved in research and happy to give you some comments from a distance.

Hopefully, we can both learn something of value and help your horse at the same time.

From what you say, I assume that the roaring noise is made during inspiration, not expiration.

But please confirm that this is so.

What sort of head carriage does your horse adopt with a bit in its mouth? Is it one of extreme poll flexion? If on scoping, your veterinarian found no structural abnormality (tumors etc.) and no evidence of laryngeal paralysis, it is reasonable to assume that the roaring noise may be caused by your horse retracting its tongue away from the bit and blocking its own throat.

Obviously, this theory can be very simply tested by removing the bit.

You don’t need me to travel to California before you can give this idea a trial, now that you already own a Bitless Bridle.

I shall be most interested to hear the outcome of the trial.

If the noise disappears when the bit is removed (and your horse is no longer over-flexed) you do not need to worry about your horse dropping dead under you.

If the noise persists, take care and let’s think again.

I await your further comments but, as a further aid in long-distance diagnosis, you could complete the attached questionnaire.

This will give me additional information about your problem.

Bob, 11/25/04] Terri, 9/26/04: I rode Rio in a gymkhana and she took first in barrels out to 87 horses with the Bitless Bridle.

She did not bleed as with the previous gymkhana.

Her breathing seemed improved although I was too involved in riding the event to notice fully.

I will be able to tell when I run her on trail.

Just weaned her filly who is 4 months and, although I’ve been working her for three month, she is not fully in shape.

I love the Bitless Bridle and raved about it at the show.

Several people should be calling you.

I’m trying it on my endurance Arab later today, and will probably order one for each of my horses if I meet with the success I had yesterday.

I will be so thrilled if this solves the problem with Rio.

In Endurance it should be advantageous also because the horse will be able to drink much more easily than with a bit.

I’m 53 and still outdoing the 20 yr.

Olds.

I’m happy to see that you are still active too.

By the way, you don’t have any research about Navicular do you? My best 7 yr.

Old paint has an advanced case. [Dr.

Cook responds: CONGRATULATIONS! First out of 87 horses …

Wonderful.

Please continue to keep me in touch.

I do not have much feedback on barrel racing, as you probably know.

I have not done any original research on Navicular Disease myself but I have studied the research of Dr.

Hiltrud Strasser and I strongly recommend her approach to this problem.

It is a barefoot management program and it works extremely well.

Visit www.thehorseshoof.com and study her recommendations.

There may be a certified Strasser Hoofcare Specialist somewhere close to you.

I look forward to hearing from you again.

Since answering as above, the additional thought occurs to me.

This mare has foaled only recently, and the owner admits that she is not yet full fit.

It may be that she is still carrying too much weight.

Unfitness together with fat deposits around the throat could also be an explanation for the roaring noise. – Bob, 9/26/04] ———————————————-Karen, Norway, 10/1/04: I have just tried one of your bridles, and I must say I am really impressed! The first ten minutes were hard because I was no longer able to cheat by moving my fingers and pulling the reins.

But then, when I relaxed and used my body to ride (as in real riding) my horse relaxed too.

He was lowering his neck and lengthening his stride.

I have never felt him better! I have different problems with my horse.

He is curling his neck, chewing the bit constantly, short stride, unwilling to canter, unwilling to enter the riding hall…and so on.

But I know it’s all depending on me, and with this bridle I can no longer take “shortcuts” in my riding! You are a genius! When I read your website, about all the problems this can solve, I instantly knew that this was worth a try! It’s too bad this kind of bridle is not allowed in competitions here in Norway.

We have to use ordinary bridles, with terrible nosebands and all.

You should write or mail the Norwegian Riding Federation and tell them about your research! They probably already know, but they won’t admit that they have been wrong for so long.

Thank you for the Bitless Bridle, and your very good website! I will speak well of it in my stable, and wherever I meet horse friends!! med vennlig hilsen (kind greetings) ———————————————-Nancy, Season Song Farm 10/3/04: Allow me to introduce myself.

My name is Nancy Moras and I am a combined training instructor, certified through the American Riding Instructors Assoc.

I am located in Bangor,PA.

In August of this year, I began working with a new student by the name of Lila Erb.

Lila asked me if I would object to instructing her while she used her Bitless Bridle.

I was more than delighted to and very intrigued by this bridle.

Being an intelligent person, it took me less than 10 seconds to understand the mechanics of this wonderful device.

I proceeded to borrow Lila’s bridle and hustled home to experiment with my two horses–a 16.2 hand QH gelding and a 16.2 hand TB gelding.

Both of my horses are well schooled in the lower levels of dressage in the TRUE classical manner.

I have NEVER used draw reins, side reins or any other gadget designed to get a “frame.” I was thrilled with the performance of both of my horses and immediately bought your bridle.

This bridle will allow me to take my horses further in their training programs because I can now ride with a guilt-free contact.

For years I have fought with my conscience about putting an object in a horse’s mouth that, no matter how mild, will cause a certain amount of discomfort.

Bosals and hackamores are also “pain-based” in my opinion.

The word “dressage,” as I am sure you know, means training, but training for whom? The horse or RIDER?! Horses are born with the ability to perform all the moves that we ask of them without riders on their backs.

Isn’t it strange that when we introduce the weight of a rider to their sensitive backs that problems inevitably develop that are attributed to the horse?!!! Hence, the gadgets that are sold to “fix” the horse.

It is very, very sad that such a lack of true understanding of dressage is prevalent in the horse world.

I find many horse people, including those competing on the international scene, incredibly stupid.

For example, why do humans continue to keep breeding larger and larger horses in the name of dressage? A pony can go Grand Prix! Now, in our infinite wisdom, we are asking 17-18 hand horses to work in the traditional dressage arena where the width has remained 20 meters and has not increased to accommodate these huge horses.

Hence, these poor animals are now being forced to “shorten their wheel bases” (collect) as soon as they are under saddle in order to handle a twenty meter circle somewhat balanced.

Is it any wonder that they have joint problems early in their saddle years? The ignorance continues.

Because these big horses are naturally more powerful than an average size horse, very few people can ride them correctly.

Riders are relying more and more on the action of the bit to keep these unfortunate animals under control.

I find it barbaric that double-bitted bridles, complete with curb chains, are used on the so-called well-trained horses that appear in the Olympic dressage arena.

AND, why in God’s name is dressage associated only with the ubiquitous 20 meter circle?! Does not every horse, be it western, hunt seat or, whatever deserved to be ridden by a truly balanced rider? There is only one correct seatBALANCED- regardless of saddle type.

I find it appalling that equitation riders ride constantly with their center of balance forward of the movement of the horse and that so many western pleasure riders artificially shorten the strides of their horses with horrendous training techniques in order to never have to sit a TRUE trot correctly.

Once again, the action of a nasty bit enables these uneducated riders to continue on their merry way and get rewarded in the show ring.

Yesterday, I gave Lila a lesson and she mentioned to me that you had asked her about such concepts as half-halts and inside leg to outside hand and how they would apply to the Bitless Bridle.

We were wondering if you were being asked by people if these concepts could be used with the Bitless Bridle? That is the reason I am emailing you.

Lila suggested that perhaps as a rider AND trainer I could answer some of your questions.

While riding my horses in the Bitless Bridle (a bit will never again go in one of their mouths), I have been mentally working on what changes I will be making in my explanations to my students about half-halts, etc.

This has not been difficult for me because my instruction has always been based on the rider’s center of balance and not focused on the horse’s head and mouth.

By the way, my more intelligent and observant students have ordered the Bitless Bridle for their own horses.

People that are critical thinkers understand that this bridle DOES give you the contact points on the front of the horse that are necessary for a rider to make a connection, via the horse’s back, from the rear end to the front end, without causing discomfort to a horse’s mouth.

My horses perform lovely, energetic leg- yielding moves, 10 meter circles, lengthened gaits, etc.

Guided by my pelvic area and center of balance in your bridle!! If I can help you in any way to promote this bridle or, answer any questions you may have concerning training techniques, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you for removing that last piece of guilt, the bit, I was experiencing as a conscientious rider. ———————————————-Jessie, Middletown, CT, 10/3/04: I’m writing to add my name to the long list of converts to the Bitless Bridle phenomenon.

It amazes me that someone didn’t invent it sooner.

First, a little background: My horse, GEORGE, is a 5-year-old, 16.3 Thoroughbred gelding.

I bought him a year ago as a completely green prospect off the track.

He’s generally quiet, but has been known to throw bucking fits and take off unexpectedly.

I had one quite bad fall in which he managed to run me over at a gallop. (He was very sorry.) Needless to say, these problems have led to quite a bit of fear and tension on my part, which translates into increased tension for George. He has also had problems with stiffness, an unwillingness to move forward, inability to bend at all (especially to the right), and a high head and hollow back alternating with resistance to the bit in the form of leaning on it.

Our rides would generally start out with thirty minutes of him being very resistant, stiff, and unhappy, and finish, once he was warmed up and more limber, with him leaning heavily on the reins and freight-training me around the ring on his forehand at a super-fast trot, ignoring any attempt at a half-halt.

I have to confess with much shame that out of sheer frustration, I ended up being far too harsh with my hands.

All this had become frustrating to the point of despair.

I was faced with the fact that my horse might in fact be too much for me, and that I might have to consider selling him.

This of course made me very unhappy.

Then, an unfortunate accident led us to try your bridle.

While leading George to the ring one Sunday, he happened to toss his head at a fly.

The reins were pulled out of my hands and George stepped on them and then panicked.

The resulting damage from the bit was a bleeding gash that required stitches on the bars of his mouth, extensive bruising of his tongue and gums, and a fractured tooth.

Obviously, I could not consider putting a bit back in his mouth for quite some time.

In order to keep up his training, after a few days I decided to borrow a Bitless Bridle that belonged to one of the other riders at my barn.

With this bridle, it’s like riding a whole different horse.

He warms up in ten minutes, rather than thirty, is much more willing to move forward from my leg, and is able to bend softly in both directions.

He stays much straighter, and, wonder of wonders, he responds to my seat-and-leg half-halts with hardly any rein pressure.

It’s as though not having the bit in his mouth to distract him allows him to listen to my seat and leg aids.

We can now even halt squarely from a canter.

Despite these benefits, I have to admit that I was worried about the potential for lack of control.

If George bolted, would I be able to stop him? The ultimate test came after a week or so when we were working in the outdoor arena.

Just as I asked for a right lead canter from the walk (a new learning experience for him, and one that he found to be difficult and stressful) a sudden noise from behind him caused him to buck and bolt.

When I jerked on the reins accidentally as a result of my loss of balance, I was comforted by the knowledge that I hadn’t added to his panic by a sudden jolt of pain in his mouth.

I was able to regain my composure fairly quickly and bring my horse to a halt in about the same amount of time it would have taken with a bit.

After four weeks, with his mouth finally healed, my trainer suggested that we go back to working with a bit so that we could gain more flexion.

In her opinion, without a bit George was able to “stick his nose out and run.” I disagreed and was hesitant, but took her advice and went back to a bit.

The stiff, lopsided, unbalanced freight train was back.

Today I ordered my own Bitless Bridle from your website.

I’m happy to sacrifice a bit of poll flexion for the increased forwardness, straightness, calmness, obedience, and lightness provided by the Bitless Bridle.

Thank you! ———————————————-Candace, 10/3/04: I have been using the Bitless Bridle on my horses for the past year and absolutely love it.

I use it primarily on my endurance horse ROUGIE.

At first I was worried that he would be too hot for me to handle at the beginning of a ride without a bit, so carried a bit with me just in case.

Well, I never had to use it and stopped carrying it after two rides. ———————————————-Leslie, 10/11/04: We train foxtrotters professionally and also ride lipizzans.

Quite a combination, huh!!!!! We should have good info and comments from our vast experience forthcoming.

I did move my noseband down to 1″ for the lipizzan.

He was not too responsive on the first ride.

The change seemed to really work for him and I had a nicely responsive ride on the 2nd half of the second ride.

But, I will also move it up to 1 1/2″ later to see if it was just a matter of becoming acclimated to the new bridle.

Do you have any suggestions or comment about what I just tried?? Also, I rode two foxtrotters in it and had immediate results that were more than satisfactory.

I went on a rapid 4 hour trail ride on one and the bridle served as well and better than a bitted headstall.

I have been using Myler bits and been satisfied with them more than other bits.

So, the Bitless Bridle replaced a Myler.

What was really impressive is that I put novice riders on one foxtrotter and they got along very well with the Bitless Bridle.

The horse also got along with them because of it, and there was no lack of control, if control had been necessary.

I will be starting one foxtrotter filly and on lipizzan colt this week.

I will see how it works for groundwork, and first ride, etc.

I will keep experimenting and observing.

It is a great idea!!! ———————————————-Ginny, Wichita, KS, 10/12/04: I had to send you a note about how much I love my Bitless Bridle.

I purchased it 2-3 yrs ago & had put it in the tack room & then forgot I had it.

I found it about a month ago & decided to try it on my current barrel horse who is an ex-race horse & “fidgeted” around with his mouth even with a simple snaffle in his mouth & me being very lighthanded with him.

I was a little concerned about having enough “control” as he is a big strapping horse with a 103 speed index.

If you don’t know how fast that means he is—it means he is very, very fast.

He was our state’s Champion Running Stallion as a 3 yr old.

He is now a gelding & is very, very strong.

He was trained by quiet, gentle methods & was soft mouthed & pretty easy to control……..BUT, when I tried the Bitless Bridle on him, it was like night & day as far as control was concerned! I barely have to touch the reins to ask him to flex his head, neck & spine as we enter the “pocket” of the barrel.

As we leave the barrel, I never have to worry about being “on his head” or “in his mouth” too much causing him to pause his forward momentum or have his head too high to effectively leave the barrel quickly.

My only real concern (& the concern of my friends) was—-will he STOP well at the end of the arena after we cross the timer line.

Many timer lines are close to the end of the arena & to win you must not slow your speed AT ALL until you cross that line, meaning you are headed into the fence with a tremendous amount of speed; & I seem to recall some law of physics that says: a certain amount of mass going a certain speed requires a certain length of space to stop in! Not only does he stop—-he stops very well, hindquarters up under him-self, head broke at the poll, & very willing.

Most (if not all ) of barrel racing at the higher levels is done by direct rein.

It is so true that the horse responds to the “push” of the opposite cheek to turn, rather than the “pull”.

That makes perfect sense, as horses interact with one another by “pushing” each other with looks, stares, physical pushes, etc.

They do not “pull” one another.

This bridle uses a language a horse understands by nature—it does not have to be “taught”—-I believe that is why it works so well…..

So, I just wanted to say THANK YOU for the BITLESS BRIDLE! And, my horse surely thanks you! ———————————————-Barb in southern Illinois, 10/18/04: Subject: Letter from thrilled user In August of 2003, I was given a Third Level Danish Warmblood, ATIKUS.

He had been abused (flipped by a trainer to assert dominance!), and had obvious spinal issues.

He hadn’t been ridden regularly in about two years.

He also had grotesque ringbone and sidebone on his right front foot, which completely distorted the hoof capsule.

The outside of the coronet band was probably 1.5″ higher than the inside.

He wasn’t sound at the walk, trot or canter.

Poor Atikus was only 11 at the time.

A good chiropractor; 24/7 turnout; herd lifestyle; an expert equine dentist (who found scar tissue from harsh bits); and the Strasser method of trimming started him down the path to recovery.

I must confess that the first time I rode him my heart was in my throat, since he’s 17 hh and 1400 pounds.

I had no idea how he would feel about being “put back to work” again.

Fortunately he’s a very kind and sweet horse that didn’t seem to mind.

We’ve eased him back into having a job.

My trainer said it was obvious that he’d been driven into the bit, then held back.

His movement is extremely large and powerful, and we felt that he’d been “dumbed down” to accommodate his riders.

He was “crammed and jammed.” At the time I was riding him in a French link snaffle.

I truly try to use seat and leg aids before using my hands.

He seemed fine with his bit until January.

Then he started tossing his head when I approached him with the bridle, and refusing to open his mouth.

I had the vet come out to do a complete check, and all he found was excessive flesh inside his mouth.

He’s got Mick Jagger lips! HA! He had no idea why Atikus would suddenly resist the bit.

Because I am 100% convinced that the barefoot/Strasser method is THE way to go, I found a link to your website.

I ordered the Bitless Bridle in January.

Our first ride was in our paddock, and Atikus gave me a bit of grief when I put it on him.

I do believe he thought I’d shove a bit in his mouth again.

When I mounted him I could tell he was REALLY concentrating on what this new piece of equipment was.

We did a right turn; a left turn; and then a soft halt.

The second he stopped I leaned forward and gave him a treat to let him know that what he just did was PERFECT.

The look on his face was just incredulous.

A light came on in his eyes, and I saw joy and happiness spread over his face.

My husband was also watching closely, and unsolicited, said the same thing. “He is really focused on you and what you are asking, but he’s so relaxed and happy,” was his comment.

I did two more paddock rides before taking him out in the open.

Our first ride was down to my neighbors, and my friend rode TULSA, my QH.

Even though we had wind gusts up to 45 mph, Atikus was steady as a rock (same for Tulsa).

He did exactly what I asked, and was calm, sane, and eager to go.

The fourth ride just brought tears to my eyes.

I put on his saddle, and when I approached him with the Bitless Bridle, he actually TURNED HIS HEAD TOWARDS ME AND DROPPED IT!!!!! He knew what was coming, and made it quite clear that it was acceptable. For now we are trail riding and doing hunter paces.

I’ve never felt out of control with him, and I’ve even started throwing some dressage into our rides.

We did a beautiful half-pass in the parking lot at the county park the other day! Many people have asked me how I “trained” him to have that beautiful headset, especially at a trot.

LOL! When I tell them that I restored his feet to their natural, God-given state; allowed him to move his body with relaxation and freedom; took all the artificial junk off his face; and encouraged him to gain his pride and self-esteem back, they think I’m nuts.

Yeah, well.

We just go our merry way, and with each step I feel Atikus’s confidence, trust and spirit grow and thrive.

I can’t tell you how blessed I feel that I was privileged to witness that rebirth.

BTW, I’m ordering a medium for my QH, Tulsa.

I’ll need one for my Belgian draft, too.

Is the “large” the biggest that you make? I think I have the large for Atikus, and I know it won’t fit Mac, my Belgian.

Thanks so much! Feel free to put my email in my testimony if someone wants to contact me (RT66KIX@aol.com) [Customer Service responds: We make a draft size, too.] ———————————————-Doreen, Dallas Center, Iowa, 10/24/04: I decided to purchase the Bitless Bridle after buying a new horse who is extremely orally fixated.

She constantly was chewing, biting, and playing with the bit on rides no matter where we rode; round pen, pasture, trails or on the road.

I found this to be extremely annoying to me to the extent that I was no longer really enjoying this horse, and we had begun to fight about her playing/chewing on the bit, which made the rides even worse.

She would also toss her head quite a lot, which on occasion interfered with control.

I decided to purchase the bridle before things became too far gone to fix.

I had had this mare for approximately 8 weeks.

This past Friday the bridle came in and I tried it immediately on Saturday and Sunday.

The results have been wonderful.

Although my mare is stilling playing with her tongue and chewing, because there is no bit, there has been an immediate relaxation on my part and I had two fantastic rides! On Saturday, it was cool, crisp and very windy–a good day for spooks, jumps and general feisty behavior.

I decided to lounge her before starting and clipped the line to the O ring on the noseband.

She did very well although was startled the first time she felt the pressure of the headstall when she tried to run on the longe line.

We proceeded straight from the lounge work to a ride on roads and harvested fields.

There was basically no adjustment in style for either myself or my mare.

Hand aids all remained the same, and I found, as others have, that it took less of a hand aid for a greater correction than with the bit.

My mare seemed more relaxed by the second ride.

Her head carriage was lower, and horizontal rather than vertical.

Since she no longer had a bit to chomp and chew, and me to argue with about it, she was paying a lot more attention to her surroundings and therefore less spooking.

She did spook twice, just enough for me to say, as others have as well, that it was easier to regain/maintain control at the time of a spook.

There was a quicker settle time as well.

I also had a much easier time getting a flat footed walk from this youngster at the beginning of our rides!! I found the directions concise and easy to follow.

Adjusting the bridle to my mare was easy, although I might suggest a few more holes for adjustment on the nosebands.

My Arabian

Read more about old Tennessee Walking horse mare, that I exclusively use for trail riding:

Equestrian Products – Guardian Horse Bedding, Equiderma Skin Products, Equilinn Sports Bra

Other Sources:

  • saddle – definition of saddle by the Free Online Dictionary …
  • SCA, Inc. | Society Equestrian Officer
  • Equine.com: Horses for Sale | Horse Classifieds, Pictures, Horse …
  • Equestrian Products – Guardian Horse Bedding, Equiderma Skin Products, Equilinn Sports Bra, Learn more about Ruby’s choice (5pc in bag) – Natural Horse treats – For the Horse Horses-store.com HERE:

    Horses-Store.com and  old Tennessee Walking horse mare, that I exclusively use for trail riding
    Horses-Store.com - old Tennessee Walking horse mare, that I exclusively use for trail riding
    Horses-Store.com and  old Tennessee Walking horse mare, that I exclusively use for trail riding
    Horses-Store.com - old Tennessee Walking horse mare, that I exclusively use for trail riding