Bitless is becoming more and more ‘normal’ practice as time goes on. When I first learnt to ride I’d never heard of Bitless, and when I realised what it was I thought it would be exclusively for very good ponies!
The idea of getting on a horse without something in its mouth was a very alien thought to me not so long ago, and would have felt like driving my car without my seatbelt (or breaks!)
It wasn’t until I saw someone much more capable than me get on my own hot headed horse in nothing but a halter that I realised that the only thing standing in my way was me. There are loads of different options for you and your horse, I found keeping things simple worked for me.
Now let’s expel some Bitless myths!!
1) Not every horse can go Bitless!
Absolutely false, given the right time and training I genuinely believe absolutely every horse can go Bitless.
2) I would have NO breaks!
Again, false. If you think your horses breaks are in his mouth, you probably shouldn’t have a horse. Getting a horse to stop is 100% a mental action. You’re asking and they are responding, the lack of response is a hole in your training not a lack of metal in his mouth.
3) Bitless bridles can actually be more harsh than bits, those poor Bitless horses *sob sob*
Now this is a funny one because I could agree, however, if you have bad hands then it’s you bring harsh, not the bridle. On the whole, Bitless is a much nicer way to go about things.
4) my horse can’t work in an ‘outline’ without a bit.
Henry came to me three years ago and we went Bitless after about 6 months, however we went about it in our own way. Some people say ditch the bit all together and don’t look back, others go between the two for a while and that was the way I did things. I’ve got to the point now where 99% of the time he’s Bitless, some days I might hack out and take my bit with me but that’s really for my own mental state than he actually needs it.
Getting a horse to respect what you’re saying is a tough thing to do, and sometimes Henry will decide he has better ideas than me but we always get there eventually.