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Would you ride in a bitless dressage test?

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  • Would you ride in a bitless dressage test?

    Just that.

    Rules might state that bitless bridle/hackamore would have to be without any kind of shank.

    "Acceptance of the bit" would be acceptance of the bitless bridle.

    If one was offered at a schooling show would you ride in it?

  • #2
    YES! I would LOVE that option! I already ride my horse in a bitless bridle at schooling shows, but have to go HC. This is fine with me, because I go for the experience and help from judge's comments... though I must admit, I'd be okay with a ribbon every once in a while, too.
    RIP Jove 1993-2016

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    • #3
      Would be a nice option to have, yes
      www.muskokalakesconnemaras.com
      Wonderful ponies for family or show!

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      • #4
        Nope.

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        • #5
          I think it could be a good option for some people. "Bitless dressage, test of choice."
          You have to have experiences to gain experience.

          1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

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          • #6
            I would not because I never met a horse that didn't go well in a bit (even with retraining). I have not met all horses so I can't comment on horses who don't go well in bits.
            Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

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            • #7
              Yep as long as long as the hackamore could have a short shank. I ride my mare in the Herm Sprenger Short Shank Hackamore all the time. The only time I use a bit(happy mouth mullen mouth) is when I have done a dressage test. I never school in it, use it only for the class. My mare goes much better in the hack.

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              • #8
                You bet. My horse did well in his Dr. Cook's bitless bridle. He has a small mouth, fat tongue, low palate, and did great in the BB.
                "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Thank you for your responses.

                  I am looking into making this happen locally. I think we would have to describe what would be allowed or not allowed. I don't think a hackamore with long shanks would be allowed. But we would have to limit the length or do without. There are many different kinds of hackamores and sidepulls out there that don't have shanks. Do a search and you come up with many.

                  I like a shank for jumping but that is a bit different!

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                  • #10
                    I think some of the bitless bridles (Dr. Cook, for one) are actually quite severe in the wrong hands (as can be bits, for that matter) .They can put a lot of pressure on the lower jaw and act as a curb chain/strap, not allowing the horse to move freely into the bridle with much contact. I know this for a fact, as we used them on many beginner lesson horses at the college where I taught in the equestrian program.
                    Call it a bitless test but don't call it bitless dressage,please.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by pook View Post
                      I think some of the bitless bridles (Dr. Cook, for one) are actually quite severe in the wrong hands (as can be bits, for that matter) .They can put a lot of pressure on the lower jaw and act as a curb chain/strap, not allowing the horse to move freely into the bridle with much contact. I know this for a fact, as we used them on many beginner lesson horses at the college where I taught in the equestrian program.
                      Call it a bitless test but don't call it bitless dressage,please.
                      Huh.


                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5XUq56P_I0&

                      This looks like "dressage" to me...
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by pook View Post
                        I think some of the bitless bridles (Dr. Cook, for one) are actually quite severe in the wrong hands (as can be bits, for that matter) .They can put a lot of pressure on the lower jaw and act as a curb chain/strap, not allowing the horse to move freely into the bridle with much contact. I know this for a fact, as we used them on many beginner lesson horses at the college where I taught in the equestrian program.
                        Call it a bitless test but don't call it bitless dressage,please.
                        Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
                        Huh.


                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5XUq56P_I0&

                        This looks like "dressage" to me...
                        Yep. I'd say that qualifies as "dressage."
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                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by pook View Post
                          I think some of the bitless bridles (Dr. Cook, for one) are actually quite severe in the wrong hands (as can be bits, for that matter) .They can put a lot of pressure on the lower jaw and act as a curb chain/strap, not allowing the horse to move freely into the bridle with much contact. I know this for a fact, as we used them on many beginner lesson horses at the college where I taught in the equestrian program.
                          Call it a bitless test but don't call it bitless dressage,please.
                          I actually don't care much for Dr. Cook's. I don't like the fact that you need to tighten the noseband for it to work. Mine gathers dust. I have two of the common shanked variety and one that I created with the help of my farrier that I am using for flat and jumping on one horse. I have two kinds of side pulls and have researched bitless options quite a lot. There are many different kinds out there of the non-western variety.

                          I know plenty of people whose horses go nicely bitless and I think it is time to offer a class for them. You can argue whether it is "dressage" or not but I think that if the interest is there, why not have a class?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by J-Lu View Post
                            I would not because I never met a horse that didn't go well in a bit (even with retraining). I have not met all horses so I can't comment on horses who don't go well in bits.
                            I've known a few who really did need to go bitless because of mouth conformation issues. One of my co-boarders had a mare that was suffered a pretty bad head injury. She recovered, but her head was all sorts of misshapen and crooked afterwards. Like, to the point that it made visitors to the barn get all bug-eyed when they saw her. She went fine bitless, though.

                            But I do agree that the vast majority of horses do go just fine in a bit.
                            "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
                            -Edward Hoagland

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                            • #15
                              I'd participate
                              I trained my jumping horse to second before his career (and bridle) change. He much prefers his side pull to his bit. There isn't much space for a bit in his mouth; it's understandable.
                              www.destinationconsensusequus.com
                              chaque pas est fait ensemble

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                              • #16
                                Nope, wouldn't ride in it - but I don't have a problem with adding bitless classes at schooling shows. Just wouldn't personally choose that option - I've only seen one horse in my life that couldn't learn to go well w/ a bit and that was due to some abusive riding he experienced (they used him as a school horse without ever doing dental work - he had big wolf teeth and came to associate bit w/ pain).

                                I think it is like western dressage - could be a separate division, but can NOT be included in the same classes as regular dressage. I would have a definite problem w/ a rule change that allowed bitless bridles in regular dressage classes though!

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                                • #17
                                  [QUOTE=meupatdoes;7015832]Huh.


                                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5XUq56P_I0&

                                  I agree that it a superb rider and a wonderful horse. I would like to see a closeup of what kind of bridle it is and how it is adjusted.If if stop-frame the video, it appears that the horse also has a flash from the noseband to around the lower jaw.

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                                  • #18
                                    Looks like a bosal is allowed in western dressage.
                                    "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran

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                                    • #19
                                      I'm all for the option....I like inclusion. But not (at this point in our evolution)
                                      to be scored side by side with bitted horses).

                                      I don't like the Dr Cook's the way it tightens under the chin and does not release. Too many horses have a little piece of sheepskin to protect the jawbones. There are many types out there that are not tightened, and used as a sidepull.

                                      If a horse is never ridden in a bit, I doubt it would reach GP - but the other way round, a GP horse can go bitless (as per video above). I'm not sure I could achieve the same lightness I expect from my horse in a bit. ???

                                      I do know of one bitless person whose horse goes better bitless, longer, freer.

                                      I'm all for the discussion. Certainly, in jumping they work very well.

                                      Is there ever a substitute for that feeling of the horse balanced and light in your hands with the mouth softly answering? It is kind of majical.
                                      Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by MysticOakRanch View Post
                                        I would have a definite problem w/ a rule change that allowed bitless bridles in regular dressage classes though!
                                        But why? I guess I don't understand what so many people have against bitless? I don't currently ride bitless, but I have in the past, and my horse was much more comfortable in it. Rules have changed to new products on the market to be accepted (presumably for the horse's comfort - thinking some Myler bits and the Rein-Aid reins as examples), why the anti-bitless? Some horses just are more comfortable that way.

                                        The way I see it, a horse should be accepting of the bridle. If that bridle has a bit and the horse is comfortable in it, then fine. If that bridle doesn't have a bit and the horse is comfortable in it, then fine.

                                        I would school my TB bitless a lot of the time and then put the bit on for shows because I had to play by the rules. But if a bitless option had been available I would have gone for that.
                                        "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran

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