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Re: [RC] [RC] Bitless Bridle - Beverley H. Kane, MD

I have been using a Dr. Cook's Bitless Bridle in leather for over a year now
and Dream, my 23 yo finely tuned, but trail-nervous,  Arab mare is entirely
happy in it.

I originally bought it b/c I was new to riding, didn't like the idea of
bits, wanted to -force- myself not to use hands and bit pressure to get
movements from and control of my horse, and wanted to make sure that if I
-did- in a tense moment over-rely on hands, I wouldn't hurt Dream's mouth.

I was unaware of the lawsuit at the time; if I had been, I would have
investigated the claims on both sides. I was impressed that Dr. Cook is a
vet who specializes in Equine Ear, Nose, and Throat pathology. It seemed he
designed the bridle to alleviate problems with head shaking, orthodontic
disorders, and respiratory problems. (I -did- look at a couple of his
original research papers, which were not on the bridle per se, but which
looked medically cogent.)

My mare took about 5 min in the arena to get used to the new signals. On the
trail, I was "forced" to learn other ways to calm her down and stop jigging
than pulling on her mouth.

Since I got my BB, my instructor (w/ 50 yrs' horse experience) bought one
for one of her project horses w/ head tossing--cured! And several other
horses in the lesson program w/ "issues" have been switched over to BBs w/
success. I know of no horses who were given the BB who had to go back to
bits.

Some other data points--
1. For the first few times, there was a slight delay in Dream taking the
aids. The delayed reaction time disappeared after a few times out.
2. I don't fasten the nose band very tight. I can get my finger under it
easily.
3. I don't understand the concern over lateral control. I thought the idea
is to get lateral movement off the leg, not by pulling the head around.
Dream and I did a lot of work w/ the BB and my made up version (b/c I
couldn't understand the written version) of Lyons hip-shoulder-shoulder. (I
think it's a variant on the universally varying One Rein Stop.) This gave me
control on the trail, but again, it uses considerable leg action.
 The few times I needed to cheat and pull her head around--usually in tight
spaces from a halt--the BB worked fine in concert w/ seat & legs.
4. The BB is officially not allowed in dressage shows.
5. I am loving the BB--especially on these winter mornings when I don't have
to shove a cold or hastily-armpit-warmed bit in Dream's mouth.
6. Dream uses her hiney and rounds up ("collection"..."on the bit(less)") w/
the bitless as well as w/ a bit. Again, it's from the legs, not a pull.
7. I have handled therapeutic riding horses and ridden them in side pulls,
which, like regular bridlges and hackamores, are higher up on the nose than
a BB. Because there is nothing on the poll, under the chin, I feel the
control is less.
7. The people and customer service at Dr. Cook's are wonderful. They have a
money back trial period and a sale rack. When I needed a larger brow band,
they exchanged it promptly and for free, inc shipping, even tho the original
one had been on sale and the replacement wasn't.

Beverley
Woodside, CA









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