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What determines your choice for a bit or bitless bridle? Well, it depends on a various amount of factors. This includes but is not limited to, style of riding, horse breed, skill level of the rider, level of your horse’s training, and how much money you can put into purchasing tack. The tack we use on our horses is there to control the horse and to keep us on the horse. Ultimately you have to determine what is best for you and your horse. Here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding between a bit and a bitless bridle. 

What is the purpose of a bridle and a bit? 

Before we take a closer look at the differences between these two types of bridles it’s important to understand what a bridle does. Bridles are a key tool that helps the rider to control the horse’s head, as well as the direction and speed of the horse. Riders use bridles on their horses to communicate directly with them while riding. There are numerous bit designs but they all share similar placement. A Bit fits in the gap between your horse’s front teeth and back molars, resting on the bars of the mouth. The bridle is there to keep the bit in the horse’s mouth. Bridles and bits should not be used to control an unwilling horse. 

It’s all about preference. 

It’s no secret that deciding between a bit or bitless bridle in the horse world has been a well discussed topic. Choosing to ride with or without a bit is not only about the rider preference, but also what the horse prefers as well. A bit that fits properly will rest neutrally on the bars of the mouth, as discussed above. It is argued that all bit-equipped bridles cause horse pain. However, this is not always true. A horse will only be in pain if the bit is not resting in the neutral position. In other cases a horse could also feel discomfort if harsh hands are used to direct the horse.

If your horse is feeling discomfort they will try to open their mouth to avoid the bit, curl their neck to avoid bit pressure, or move his head in the air. When this happens some riders choose to reevaluate how they are riding and what they are asking their horse to do. In this case riders make changes to help prevent discomfort in the future. Other riders like to avoid this all together by using a bitless bridle. If you choose to go this route there are plenty of options including, side pulls and rope halters with rings. Bitless bridles still help the rider communicate with the horse through nerve bundles on the horse’s face. Either way it all depends on what you and your horse respond to. 

Bridles are a key way that the horse and rider communicate with each other. No matter if you choose to use a bit or not use a bit, proper contact with your horse will get the job done. It’s all about preference!