What Is The Best Bitless Bridle On The Market?

There is a growing movement for the more “gentle” methods of horsemanship for many years now. With the advent of “horse whispering” techniques from the likes of Monty Roberts, Kelly Marks and similar, being more gentle with our horses has become considerably more popular. There is great reason for this. It is not only good for our horses but good for us; using gentler techniques can increase the bond and relationship, ensuring a better ridden behaviour and manners, both on the ground and off it.

If you are thinking of, or have already, embarked on a more gentle way of riding your horse, then you will want to start looking into the best bitless bridle.

Best Bitless Bridle Reviews

We have selected three of the best ones out there, namely:

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Bitless Bridles

Price

Nylon Side Pull Bitless Horse Bridle With Padded Non-slip Noseband Nylon Side Pull Bitless Bridle With Non-Slip Noseband

An inexpensive bridle, great for young horses.

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Weaver Leather Justin Dunn Bitless Bridle TOP PICK: Justin Dunn Bitless Bridle

A high quality, strong and effective English leather bridle.

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English Leather Crossover / Crossunder Bitless Bridle Headstall with Reins (Brown, L) English Leather Crossover/Crossunder Bitless Bridle

A great bitless bridle that is usable straight away.

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1. Nylon Side Pull Bitless Bridle With Padded Non-Slip Noseband Review

Nylon Side Pull Bitless Horse Bridle With Padded Non-slip Noseband

This bridle has all the benefits of riding in a halter, with added brakes! It is a gentle bridle which will still offer you plenty of control.

Pros

  • An inexpensive foray into the sidepull – If you want to start getting into the bitless sidepull style of riding but are not ready to splash out on an expensive leather version, this is a great start for you to try and see if it suits you.
  • Padded noseband for comfort – So that you won’t be putting too much pressure on your horse’s sensitive nose area, this bride has a soft padded noseband to allow them extra comfort.
  • Extremely durable and hardwearing – The nylon fabric of this bitless bridle is virtually indestructible, meaning that it will last you for a long time.
  • Great for training youngsters – For a young horse learning to be ridden, a bitless bridle can be very useful as it is one less thing to get used to.

Cons

  • Sizes run large – It may be worth trying out a smaller size than you are used to, as this bridle tends to be on the bigger size.

Recommendation

For an inexpensive, high quality step into bitless bridles, you won’t go far wrong with this one. Padded for extra comfort, which makes the whole experience much nicer for you and your horse. It’s great for young horses in particular.

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2. Justin Dunn Bitless Bridle Review

Weaver Leather Justin Dunn Bitless Bridle

This is a beautiful leather bridle which comes without reins so you can put your own onto it. It is high quality, strong and well made, making it a good investment.

Pros

  • Soft leather for comfort during wearing – Although there is no padding with this bridle, the soft supple leather allows comfort.
  • Available in different colors – With a choice of colours you can easily match this bridle to your colour scheme.
  • Strong enough to withstand hard wear – Even on a horse who pulls, this bridle will stand up to some heavy use.
  • Keeps your horse light and responsive – Using a bit can make your horse heavy in the mouth, hard to stop and difficult to control. This bitless bridle keeps them light as it does not pull on the mouth, simply moves them via the nose, allowing for softer aids.

Cons

  • The buckle can be too close to the horse’s eyes – Even with adjustment, the buckles can end up nearly parallel to your horse’s eyes, which can make them uncomfortable.

Recommendation

A really good, high quality bridle in handsome leather with attractive silver buckles, this bridle is not only highly functional but very pretty!

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3. English Leather Crossover/Crossunder Bitless Bridle Headstall With Reins Review

English Leather Crossover / Crossunder Bitless Bridle Headstall with Reins (Brown, L)

A bitless bridle with attached reins, so it is usable straight out of the box, as it were, this one is an attractive prospect for someone who wants to get started on the bitless bridle scene.

Pros

  • Flexible out of the box – It doesn’t need oiling to make it supple, this quality leather already has a stretch and softness that allows it to be much more forgiving to the horse’s face.
  • Quality English leather – Long renowned as the best leather you can get for tack, the fact that this is English leather is a great selling point.
  • Comes with reins attached – This means that you won’t have to purchase reins separately, or mix and match with what you already have. Attached reins makes this bridle simple and easy to use straight away.
  • Padded nose and browband – The nose and brow are the places which will experience the most contact, so having these areas padded allows your horse far more comfort.

Cons

  • Sizes run small – If you have a larger horse you may be wise to order a larger size than you normally would, as this bridle reportedly errs on the small side.

Recommendation

If you know you want a bitless bridle, and you have decided on a good, well made piece of kit, then opt for this one – it is made of good quality leather so should last you for years to come.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What types of bitless bridles are available?

There are several different styles available that work in different ways, they are:

  • The natural hackamore is also called a rope halter. This type of bitless bridle works by putting pressure on the horse’s nose.
  • The mechanical hackamore also applies pressure to the nose, and it uses a curb chain or strap under the horse’s jaw.
  • There are several different leverage styles that work like the mechanical hackamore by putting pressure on both the nose and the underside of the jaw.
  • Crossover or cross-under head stalls use the concept of the “head hug“. This applies pressure to the nose, the cheeks and also the poll or top of the head.
  • A side-pull bridle works by putting pressure on the top and the sides of the horse’s nose.

2. How do you decide which style will work best for your horse?

Think about your horse’s personality. If he or she is very sensitive and quick to respond, a looser fitting bitless bridle, such as a hackamore or rope halter, will probably do. If you’re very light handed, you might want to use a mechanical hackamore.

A horse that is a little bit slower to respond or tends to pull against the bridle will probably do bitter with a mechanical hackamore or other leverage style bitless bridle. Alternately, crossover and cross-under styles offer secure control.

Very unresponsive horses (such as those whose mouths have been ruined by harsh bridles or heavy hands) will do well with side-pull or cross-under options.

3. Is a bitless bridle appropriate for horses of all levels of training?

Generally speaking, yes, a bitless bridle is a good choice for starting a horse. It can also be a good alternative for a horse who is very well trained.

If your horse is well-trained, and you have a good relationship with him or her, you should be able to convey your wishes through body language, leg aids and seat signals. For this reason, you should be able to do well with any type of bridle.

Young horses just starting out can greatly benefit from being trained using a side-pull bridle or natural hackamore.

4. Is a bitless bridle right for all activities?

While it is certainly possible to ride or drive using a bitless bridle, you’ll need to keep the rules of your activity in mind. In many showing events, you will not be allowed to use a bitless bridle.

5. How should a bitless bridle fit?

A properly fitted bitless bridle should remain securely in place and yet still allow your horse to relax, yawn, graze and chew. The nose piece should rest below the horse’s cheekbones and above the soft tissue of the nasal passages, which extends about halfway up the face.

6. Is it safe to ride with a bitless bridle?

When your bitless bridle is properly fitted, it is safer than riding with a bit. A well fitted bitless bridle keeps you in control at all times.

It is not possible for your horse to take the bit bitween his teeth when there is no bit. Furthermore, a harsh bit can often cause a horse to panic.

With a bitless bridle, this possibility is eliminated. These types of bridles provide kind control.

7. How is a bitless bridle beneficial to your horse?

Without a bit, your horse can literally breathe easier, and his body is signaled to be ready for exercise rather than being ready for eating.

Having anything in your horse’s mouth causes triggers salivation, and this triggers the digestive processes. This is not ideal for a situation in which you want your horse to be paying attention to your signals and getting the most out of your schooling and work out. Without a bit, your horse can concentrate more on your guidance.

Many riders find that switching to a bitless bridle resolves problems that had been considered behavioral. For example, horses who shake their heads, choke up or retract their tongues away from the bit will naturally stop these behaviors when there is no bit in place.

8. Do you have to learn to rein differently with a bitless bridle?

No, reining is exactly the same bitless as with a bit. If your horse knows how to neck rein, he will continue to know how to neck rein using a bitless bridle. If he does not, you’ll need to continue to use direct reining, but you can train neck reining if you wish.

9. Will my horse have to be retrained to work with a bitless bridle?

You’ll probably want to work in a round pen, arena or other small, secure, enclosed area initially just so that you and your horse can get used to the new equipment. Otherwise, you should not anticipate any problems. Your horse will probably perform better and show his pleasure at being without a bit.


Conclusion

If you have joined the movement for making your horse’s life more comfortable, and your riding career more rewarding due to better control of your horse and a happier relationship with him, then a bitless bridle should be high on our list of priorities. You can control the horse just as easily as you can with a bit, as the nose and poll areas are so sensitive that you will be able to communicate with your horse without stress for them, or for you. Looking for the best bitless bridle? Look no further!

If you are curious about the method but unsure about spending lots of your hard earned wages, then the Nylon Side Pull Bitless Bridle With Padded Non-Slip Noseband is the option for you. If you want a high quality English leather bridle that is strong and effective, as well as gorgeous, the Justin Dunn Bitless Bridle is what you are looking for. The English Leather Crossover/Crossunder Bitless Bridle Headstall With Reins is for you if you want a great bitless bridle that is usable straight away.

Sam Ellis
Sam is a founder and editor of Horses & Foals. In personal life he is a proud father of a boy and twin girls. He believes it is more important than ever before to encourage children to experience the joy of horse riding. Horses make as much sense as the sunshine in our world.


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1 thought on “What Is The Best Bitless Bridle On The Market?”

  1. I feel more comfortable with my horse and a bridle he can bite on. I am not sure if there is a real reason, or if that is something I am just always comfortable using since I had one from the start of the training process.

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