There often is a bit of confusion when it comes to all the different styles of bitless bridles. And that is no surprise, because there are so many options and not too many places to go to for answers and help.
I will give you some insight into the 3in1 Bitless Bridle I designed, and show you the different bitless styles possible with this bridle.
After reading this, you might like to make up your own mind about what type of bitless bridle is best for you and horse.
The 3in1 Bitless Bridle is basically a rope halter that I have redesigned and fancied up. But it still works as just that; a halter. Clip a lead rope into the fiador knot or swivel knot, and lead/train/work with your horse from the ground.
I have 2 different halter designs. The standard halter with the fiador knot, and the training halter alternative with the swivel knot. The swivel knot is excellent for groundwork and lunging. I won't go into details about it, but if you want more info on it, please click here.
2. Side Pull
This is the most common and widely-known bitless style. You clip your reins to each end of the noseband, and off you go.
There is a huge variety of side pull bitless bridles out there, some work a bit better than others. What you want to look out for is stability and comfort. You want the bridle to sit snug with minimal movement, in order to eliminate "white noise" when cueing your horse, and to prevent rubbing. Ideally, your horse should still be able to chew and open its mouths (this is especially important for tension release!).
I designed the 3in1 Bitless Bridle primarily with these factors in mind, and used with the Comfort Straps, you get a Side Pull that does not move on the horses head, does not tighten in any way when the reins are picked up, and still allows your horse to chew and yawn for all-round comfort.
To use the 3in1 Bitless Bridle as a Side Pull, you don't need any extras. But if you want the stabilised (and most amazing!) Side Pull experience, grab yourself the matching Comfort Straps. (The Side Pull that already comes with the Comfort Straps is the Comfort Bitless Bridle)
The best known crossover (or crossunder) bitless bridle is the Dr. Cook bitless bridle. The style of this bridle asserts pressure in 3 places: the nose, cheeks, and poll. It is one of my personal least-favourite styles, because the horse experiences an increase of pressure when the reins are picked up.
The biggest issue with this style is that the pressure is not immediately released when you drop the reins, and in some designs, never fully releases.
This can be irritating to the horse, and it might start head shaking or other unwanted behaviour in response to the pressure.
Other horses like the "hugging" effect, and tolerate it well.
Often, this style is used by a rider looking for a "stronger" bitless bridle, or one that gives "more control".
Ultimately this is only an illusion, but if it calms your nerves and makes you a more relaxed rider, then it might be the right style for you at this time in your bitless journey.
To use the 3in1 Bitless Bridle as a Crossover, you need the matching Crossover Straps
The Scawbrig, or often incorrectly referred to as Scrawbrig or Scrawbridge (I have done this in the past!), is the Side Pull option with an added chin strap.
The chin strap tightens when you pick up the reins. It adds pressure to the horse's entire nose, but most of it is asserted to the top of the nose.
When the reins are released, so is the pressure around the nose.
Some chin straps release better than others. In any case, you won't have the immediate release that you get from a simple Side Pull, but the chin strap is still a gentle version that is very well tolerated by most horses.
Choose this option if you want a bit more contact with your horse to make training easier.
To use the 3in1 Bitless Bridle as a Scawbrig, you need the matching Chin Strap.
The matching Bit Hanger or Bit Attachments are perfect for those wanting to try bitless riding but are a bit scared (use 2 sets of reins, one attached to the bitless bridle and one attached to the bit), or for trail riders, endurance riders, and those competing where a bit is compulsory.
The Bit Hanger simply slides on over the bitless bridle, and the Bit Attachments clip into the top rings of the bitless bridle.
When placing your order, let me know that you want cavesson nose rings worked into your 3in1 Bitless Bridle.
The Cavesson option lets you refine your training by allowing gentler cues and facilitating correct movement during lunging and groundwork. The rings can also improve your long reining game.
To use the 3in1 Bitless Bridle as a Cavesson, you will need to inform me before I make your bridle. Unfortunately, this cannot be added to an already existing bridle.
Where to buy this bitless bridle and add-ons:
If you have any questions, feel free to email me at email@example.com