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Bridles

Riders who have chosen to go bitless over the last ten years have been able to select from an increasingly wide range of products. It can be difficult to know which bitless bridle is best suited to both your riding style and to your horse. This list attempts to group products in terms of the action on the horse and to describe how each group of products functions

Crossunders

Hackamores

Bosals

Halters

Sidepulls

Others

Crossunder Bridles

These bridles have emerged and been developed in the last decade and are one of the most popular bitless bridles available. These bridles are easily identified by the straps which cross from just below the ears and pass under the jaw to the side of the nose on the opposite side of the face. The main reason for this is that the bridle contacts around the whole head with a gentle action, as opposed to contact being concentrated on specific areas.

The simplest, and most popular, of these is the Dr Cook Bitless Bridle which has been in production for almost ten years, and is available in a variety of sizes and materials.

HazelRed

The Nurtural No-Bit Bridle has two additional distinctive features - the noseband is lined with a textured rubber (to help with horses who throw their head up or lean a little on the bridle) and has the circle x (a circular section that the cross straps pass through that sits under the jaw and keeps the cross straps on the widest part of the face). This prevents the straps twisting and fully tightening around the face which can be helpful with sensitive horses.

The British designed Be-Kind Bridle has rolled cross straps to aid in the quick release of pressure. It has a highly padded noseband and headpiece for maximum comfort and the cheekpieces incorporate elasticated sections to minimise any pressure on the poll.

Bekind

Other variations include rope versions such as the Crazy Ropes Bridle, the Gawani Pony Boy Bridle and the Free Rein.

Bridles
Be Kind Bitless Bridle - www.equinewhispers.co.uk
Nurtural Bitless Bridle - www.nurturalhorse.com
Dr Cook Bitless Bridle - www.bitlessbridle.co.uk
Crazy Ropes Bridle - www.crazyropes.com
IV Horse Cross Under - www.4horse.co.uk
Australian No-Bit Bridle - www.nobitbridles.com
Gawani Pony Boy Bridle
Barefoot Bridle

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Hackamores

Mechanical Hackamores, which include the German Hackamore and the Blair’s Pattern (also known as the English Hackamore) all employ leverage in their action. Pulling on the rein causes the shanks to pivot, applying pressure on the poll, the nose and the chin. The severity of the action is increased by the length of the shanks. The amount of force  created by the leverage that these bridles produce has the potential to be severe and care must be used as in extreme cases horse’s noses have been calloused from the pressure and even the nasal bones have been damaged

Little S – A small design change from a mechanical hackamore but the action is still similar.

Bridles
German Hackamore
American Hackamore
Blairs pattern – English Hackamore
Little S Hackamore

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Bosals

The main identifying feature of this group is that the reins are attached at a single point behind the horse’s jaw and neck reining is the favoured method of guiding the horse.

The Western Bosal is a rawhide loop which sits on the nose and is balanced by the fiador in order to create the correct effect and is typically used for starting young horses in western riding. These bridles have existed for centuries and there are many texts describing their construction and use.

The Rope Hackamore consists of a rope halter with the reins attached to the knot behind the chin. It produces a mild action on the nose and is usually favoured in natural horsemanship methods (including Parelli) as it is a simple transition from the rope halter used for groundwork.

The half bosal riding halter is an enhancement of the rope hackamore developed by Lodge Ropes in Australia, the rope-bound noseband is more rigid to give the bridle stability and enable clear communication, whilst still being softer than rawhide.

Gentle control – The gentle control hackamore is a noseband with a fulcrum plate underneath the jaw which it also attached to the throatlatch to give three points of suspension. The plate puts pressure on the left or right hand side of the jaw and underneath the jaw depending on how the reins are used.

Bosal

The other two bridles in this group are the Meroth and the Indian Bosal which have a similar action to each other in that the noseband continues and crosses behind the jaw before passing through loops or rings on the opposite side of the nose, where it is attached to the reins. The Indian Bosal is traditionally made using rope and whereas the Meroth makes use of leather with a short section between the side of the nose and the ring that the strap passes through.

Bridles
Western Bosal
Indian Bosal
Meroth Bridle
Rope Hackamore (lodgeropes, parelli)
Half Bosal Riding Halter - www.lodgeropes.com
Gentle Control Hackamore

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Halters

The Enduro Bridle, another development by Lodge Ropes, is similar in appearance to a halter, with the addition of rope loops at each end of the noseband, to which the reins and chinpiece are attached. As the reins are not attached to solid rings any action on the rein causes the chin piece to lift and contact with the back of the jaw. It provides a gentle and subtle cue that produces a positive response in many horses.

The Dually is similar to a headcollar with a second noseband made of rope which passes through rings on either side. The noseband has rings at each end that attach to the reins, providing contact with the top and sides of the nose. The Dually can be used for riding but is often used as a training aid or in conjunction with a bitted bridle to aid young horse with transition from a halter to a bit.

Enduro

Riding halter – Very simple riding halter which is a regular rope halter with rings attached below the side of the noseband and allows the halter to be used with two reins.

Light Rider Bitless Bridle – Currently made of rope, though a beta and a leather version are being developed, it features a soft webbing stabilising strap that passes behind the jaw, through rings either side of the noseband and attaches to reins. The noseband is padded for extra comfort and is one of the lightest, softest bridles available. Also like many rope bridles it incorporates a halter for leading making it excellent for Endurance or Trec.

Bridles
Aeron Mack Riding Halter - www.naturalhorsemanship.biz
Enduro Bridle - www.lodgeropes.com
Dually
ALL-IN-ONE Training Halter Bitless Bridle (missy wynn)
The Light Rider Bitless Bridle - www.naturalhorseworld.com

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Sidepulls

The sidepull is more common in the USA than in the UK and is available in a wide range of materials and configurations. In its simplest form it can be described as a bridle with rings at either side to which the reins are attached. Its action is similar to attaching reins to either side of a headcollar and acts by using the reins to pull the head towards the direction that the rider wants to go.

Bridles
Pluvinel Bridle
Vienna cavesson
All In One Bridle (kaarenjordan)
Lindell Bridle

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Others

The Equibridle has a plain leather strap across the nose and a curb chain with a leather guard. The cheekpieces are rolled leather and pass around a pulley situated at either side of the noseband and then to the reins. The purpose of the pulleys is to distribute the contact on the poll, nose and chin.

The Orbitless Bridle is designed to produce the most versatility of all the bitless bridles while retaining excellent release properties, it is designed to have a neutral state. Comprising of elliptical side pieces the noseband and the chinstrap can be moved to give greater emphasis on the nose or on the poll. The rein position can be altered from a simple sidepull through varying degrees to a strong action.

The LG Bridle consists of a leather noseband and either a chain or leather chin strap. The wheel allows different settings ranging from a side pull action, to varying degrees of nose, chin and poll contact, through to an action similar to a mechanical hackamore, via a shank attachment.

The Scawbrig consists of a straight noseband and a chin piece which passes through rings on either side of the noseband and back to the reins. The main action it has is to tighten on the back of the jaw, but also produces some tightening around the nose.

Bitmore – The Bitmore bridle has straps which attach from the reins through rings at either side of the noseband and then up the cheeks to rings either side of the head below the ears. This puts pressure on the nose and the poll.

Micklem Multibridle – This is a combination bridle with the option of a sidepull, scawbrig and crossunder action as well as allowing for a bit for bit to bitless transition.

Callisto - a simple yet cleverly designed bridle. The reins attach to a chin strap which is designed to have pressure over the nose and/or under the chin depending on how the reins are attached. the bridle is designed to have good release and no poll pressure.

Whiz

Bridles
Equibridle
Orbitless bridle - www.orbitlessbridle.co.uk
LG bridle - www.lgbridle.com
Bitmore bridle
Scawbrig Bridle - www.libbys-tack.com
Micklem multibridle
 

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If there is any bridle you think we may have missed on this list then please let us know

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