Dr W R Cook, a UK -trained equine vet, first marketed The BitlessBridle ™ in the USA in 1999. It is the only witless design that has been developed and physiologically validated by a respected veterinary surgeon, one who has focussed 50 years of his research on the mouth, ear, nose and throat of the horse, particularly unsoundness of wind, the cause of bleeding in racehorses and the harmful effects of the bit method of communication.
I was delighted to be appointed by Dr Cook in 2004 as a BitlessBridle ™ Associate Clinician (BBC) to promote the genuine BitlessBridle ™ in the UK ; after 13 years of selling the Dr Cook bridle in the UK, I am now running down stocks and won't be replenishing them. Read more about Laura & Tax driving witless in our articles section... Apart from its primary and obvious use as a bridle, The BitlessBridle ™ also easily converts to a halter (like the Be-Nice Halter) for leading, loading, lunging or training as well as a head collar.
A series of in-depth articles by Dr Cook “Why Horses Hate the Bit”, with accompanying diagrams and a questionnaire that you can download, detailing the many problems for horse and rider / driver which are caused by inserting a metal rod into a sensitive body cavity: Fear of the Bit For full information, articles and feedback (good and bad) from users of The BitlessBridle ™ please refer to the main website www.bitlessbridle.com.
Itless bridles are more popular than other harness types for ponies and horses. They are available in many styles and provide additional comfort for an animal when you do horse riding.
Just like bridles with bits, the witless models provide different levels of comfort for the animal. But, unlike the bit-based models, all witless bridles apply pressure through the harness points/knots on the horse’s head.
The point on the nose’s top is more preferable because it affects the horse during the training and at the same time provides maximum care, without hurting the animal. Usually, a nose band has to be adjusted above the area where the hard bone begins and the soft tissue ends.
Justin Dunn offers the premium bitlessbridle with a gentle but effective design for both a rider and horse. Instead of force, an animal responds to pressure through two strategically placed points (knots) located on the nose rope.
Besides the efficient and comfortable design, this harness is equipped with anti-rust buckles made of stainless steel. Tips for users: to make the harness a bit darker, you may use the special leather oil.
The manufacturer designed this harness for the animals who have problems with teeth or the history of injuries. Firstly, I’ve learned that a headgear without a bit and with reins attached to a nose band used for controlling a horse is called a sycamore (also known as witless bridles).
So, below you will find the results of my tests and a few tips for people who need to choose leather witless bridles or raw animal skin for making such headgear for a horse. Sensitive animals usually prefer being trained with a looser fitting bridle (think of the lightweight, rope halter).
Wide capsules are popular now, but if they don’t fit well on your horse, then you shouldn’t buy such a headgear. Bridles with wider reins will look good on a big head with a strong backbone.
To determine whether a bridle is made of high-quality leather or not, whether it will serve you for a long time or whether it will be enough only for one season, pay attention to the following things: Expensive bridle reins have leather inserts to give the capsule and headband a rounded shape.
If a cheap dye was used, the leather bridle will pour out into the rain and leave traces on the horse’s hair, soaking it with sweat. Dunn's hackamores will fit a small horse or large pony.
Most manufacturers offer the money-back guarantee because they understand that their product can be too large or too tight for the horse. The beauty is in simplicity, so learn, train, and make your life maximally simple by creating things that will please people for many years.
It will give you better control over your horse because he will respond to your slightest touch to the reins. As previously mentioned, some horses are really sensitive with a bit, and that’s why you should consider making that transition.
Just keep in mind that it takes a bit of time for the horse to get used to the new halter. If you have unsteady hands or if you are a novice rider, you should quickly transition from bit to witless as it would help you save the horse’s mouth and being a little kinder to the horse.
And what I’ve seen so far is that putting on a bitlessbridle on that type of horse will make them go much quieter. And you will also be able to get rid of some problems head tossing, teeth grinding, or some general anxiety that the horse is feeling just because of having that bit and the association that they have with that.
If you are confused and don’t have a clue where to begin, let this article guide you through the buying process as well as a list of top 8 witless bridles that are at the top of the popularity chart and horse riders. It allows the horse to respond to pressure by using two strategically placed knots.
This Nylon bridle is a great alternative to an expensive leather witless halter. It’s the ideal bridle for someone that just wants to try out a side pull but don’t want to spend too much for a top-quality leather product.
There are a lot of horses that will respond quickly to the action of a side pull. It’s well stabilized, and you won’t have any problem with the bridle twisting around the nose of your horse.
The Classic Biothane is a uniquely designed bitlessbridle that is unlike anything you have seen before. The straps help you adjust the bridle underneath the jaw automatically.
When you pull a single rein, this bridle will not shift position. The unique design also eliminates the need for a throat latch and a chin strap and makes it very easy to put it on a horse.
It gives your horse the freedom to graze around, eat, chew, and lick as much as he wants without restricting any movement. You clip this bridle into the rein strap rings, and this one will function as a halter.
This will the ideal halter style bridle for riding in the winter because, in the cold, metal bits are no fun. To complete this bridle, it comes with web reins that are also made from high-quality leather.
Halter-style bridle 100% genuine leather Controls the horse via pressure points It comes with high-quality web reins This crossover style bitlessbridle from Wonder Care is made from 100% genuine vegetable-tanned leather that is chrome free and long-lasting.
The hardware is solid and made from stainless steel, which makes them rust and corrosion resistant. Because with bits, you are restricting the horse’s ability to stride freely.
Even if you have unsteady hands, this bridle will not frighten or injure the horse. To steer, all you need to do is squeeze on one rein, which will create a push action on the opposite half of the head.
Since it distributes the pressure over a large area without causing any pain, the horses are more likely to respond to this action. Speaking of durability, the hardware is solid stainless steel to increase the lifespan of the bridle ; heavy reinforced stitching is applied.
The bridle is assembled in Texas and made from 100% genuine leather. It’s primarily made for a full-size horse, but you can get the cob size bridle to fit an Arabian.
In fact, the whole bridle is made from fine quality leather. It features a beautifully curved nose band and brow band that are padded, soft, and comfortable.
It only lacks a chin strip, but apart from that, I would say it’s a good bridle for beginners. To kind of put them roughly in categories, we have witless bridles like the side pulls that work off of just direct pressure.
General Opinion The main reason why most horse riders prefer to go witless is that these are generally easier to put on for trail riding, and they also provide more freedom to a horse to eat and drink and if you are doing long-distance riding. You need to know how it’s working, where the pressure is being applied so that you can understand if your horse is doing certain things and how it might be potentially triggering those certain behaviors.
For example, it applies pressure straight back on the nose, and it also uses a little of pulley action to tighten the strap underneath the head. There are some horses that don’t mind this at all, and there are others that react strongly to this squeezing pressure in the beginning.
Give him time to develop cues to the new type of pressure that he is feeling in this different style bridle. For example, it’s not quite easy to trigger responses such as flexion or some sort of bending.
There is also a little more definite control over the nose because it doesn’t have the squeezing action of a cross under style. For example, there is the natural sycamore which works by applying pressure on the nose of a horse.
While both put pressure on the nose, the mechanical one has a strap or a curb chain under the horse’s jaw. There are other leverage style sycamores the put pressure on both the underside of the jaw and the nose.
If you are just trying to go witless for the sake of it, and your horse seems more agitated when you use one, which might happen, you should totally avoid using one. But you have to understand the pressure points and how the cue is being applied with the style you choose.
Go with the inexpensive ones first and if it suits your horse, buy a more expensive high-quality bridle. If it fits well, you will have better control, and you won’t have to worry about putting unnecessary pressure.
Because with any piece of equipment, you can use them harshly, but these don’t use a lot of leverage pressure. There are a lot of different ones out there, but this list contains only the bestbitless bridles that you can easily use to transition from bit to witless or just try them out for the first time.