Wondering about going bitless? If you think your horse is uncomfortable in a bit or if the horse has physical problems in his mouth or injured in the tongue, or perhaps you want a gentler approach, you need to go bitless.
If you want your horse to be as comfortable and happy as you can make him, go with the best bitless bridle. It will give you better control over your horse because he will respond to your slightest touch to the reins.
Let’s talk about some of the reasons why you might want to consider using a bitless bridle.
What Is a Bitless Bridle?
It’s basically a bridle that doesn’t have any bits. As previously mentioned, some horses are really sensitive with a bit, and that’s why you should consider making that transition.
Now, I know there are a lot of mixed opinions about halters without a bit. But that’s a topic for another day. Just keep in mind that it takes a bit of time for the horse to get used to the new halter.
Benefits of Using A Bitless Bridle
As I’ve said before, if holding a bit is making your horse uncomfortable, whether it’s because of the pressure or the positioning of the bit, the bitless bridle can be good in those cases.
If you have unsteady hands or if you are a novice rider, you should quickly transition from bit to bitless as it would help you save the horse’s mouth and being a little bit kinder to the horse.
Another reason is that some horses have some sort of negative association with the bit if they have been handled really roughly with a bit. And what I’ve seen so far is that putting on a bitless bridle on that type of horse will make them go much quieter.
And you will also be able to get rid of some problems head tossing, teeth grinding, or some general anxiety that the horse is feeling just because of having that bit and the association that they have with that.
The following section is for those of that don’t even know what I’m talking about.
Top 7 Best Bitless Bridle Reviews In 2021
If you are confused and don’t have a clue where to begin, let this article guide you through the buying process as well as a list of top 8 bitless bridles that are at the top of the popularity chart and horse riders.
1. Justin Dunn Bitless Bridle
If you care about your horse, you should consider going bitless. This product from Weaver Leather was designed in collaboration with Justin Dunn to create a gentle, yet effective design for better communication between you and the horse.
It allows the horse to respond to pressure by using two strategically placed knots. This is much better than using metal bits. The bridle is handcrafted from genuine leather that is quality ensured by the Weaver Leather company.
Thanks to the high-quality leather, this bridle gets better with age and can withstand rugged use. The harness is durable, and it is also weather-resistant. It is also available in a draft size and features three color options.
To make it even longer lasting, the hardware is solid to give you the confidence you need for a long ride. If you are worried about the fitting, this is the same as a hackamore. It fits nicely on a quarter horse too.
As with any new tack, this bridle is a bit dry when first get it out of the box, but with a bit of conditioning, the leather really shines. That is an indicator of top-quality leather. With that being said, if you want to start riding a young horse, this the perfect headstall to start with.
2. Nylon Side Pull Bitless Horse Bridle
If you are looking for a side-pull style bridle, you are looking at one. This Nylon bridle is a great alternative to an expensive leather bitless halter. It’s the ideal bridle for someone that just wants to try out a side pull but don’t want to spend too much for a top-quality leather product.
Interested to see how your horse responds to a side pull? Well, you can try with this one as it is the perfect halter for training young horses. There are a lot of horses that will respond quickly to the action of a side pull.
Since it has a close-fitting style, this one works a lot like a halter but with more security. It’s well stabilized, and you won’t have any problem with the bridle twisting around the nose of your horse. It won’t even get tugged onto the eye of the horse.
Certain design changes were added to keep the noseband in place. It features a padded noseband with a waffle weave fabric that is soft, comfortable to the horse, and grips well. This adds the extra grip you need to keep the band in check.
Since it’s made from nylon, this bridle is machine washable. It is constructed from soft woven nylon webbing that makes it soft and tough without making it rough or stiff. You won’t lose control over your horse with this one.
3. Ultimate Bitless Bridle - Classic Biothane
The Classic Biothane is a uniquely designed bitless bridle that is unlike anything you have seen before. It has a patented revolutionary design that makes it very stable. Let’s talk about the changes in the noseband section.
Instead of one, this one has a double noseband and a dual cross-under rein strap. The straps help you adjust the bridle underneath the jaw automatically. When you pull a single rein, this bridle will not shift position.
No matter how much you pull, it won’t even twist. This is what makes it the best bitless bridle because no other bridle can pull this off. The unique design also eliminates the need for a throat latch and a chin strap and makes it very easy to put it on a horse.
It’s the simplicity and freedom you get that really matter the most. It gives your horse the freedom to graze around, eat, chew, and lick as much as he wants without restricting any movement. You clip this bridle into the rein strap rings, and this one will function as a halter.
It can be used right out of the box because you don’t need to make any adjustments. This multi-functional bridle also features built-in elastic for quick release. It has soft contact, which is preferable by a lot of horse riders.
4. Horze Leather Bitless Bridle
This leather bitless bridle from Horze has a halter-style fit that features soft genuine leather and comes with web reins. It’s really well made, and silver buckles look appealing on any horse.
This will the ideal halter style bridle for riding in the winter because, in the cold, metal bits are no fun. If your horse has dental issues, consider getting this one. It comes a bit stiff, but that’s what you get from 100% leather products. Some oiling will soften the leather and make it shine.
If your horse is very responsive, this should be an easy transition. If the horse has anxiety, riding without a bit will help a lot. This bridle is easy to put on and to take off. It’s also lightweight.
There are some horses that resist the bit, and for that, riding without a bit is the only way. Not all horses are the same, and some have difficulty accepting the bit. That’s why this bridle controls the horse through pressure points.
By creating pressure on nose, chin, and poll, you can easily control and steer the horse easily, and your horse will respond to you quickly. To complete this bridle, it comes with web reins that are also made from high-quality leather.
5. Wonder Care Genuine Leather Crossover
This is one of the best bitless bridle. This crossover style bitless bridle from Wonder Care is made from 100% genuine vegetable-tanned leather that is chrome free and long-lasting. The hardware is solid and made from stainless steel, which makes them rust and corrosion resistant. This will allow you to use this bridle all year round.
The action is different on this one. It isn’t anything like the side pulls or the hackamores. This bridle consists of two loops, one is over the nose, and the other is over the poll. It’s a simple but subtle system that embraces the whole of the head.
This gives you a benevolent headlock over the horse, which gives you more control and also gives the horse more freedom of movement. Because with bits, you are restricting the horse’s ability to stride freely.
Even if you have unsteady hands, this bridle will not frighten or injure the horse. To steer, all you need to do is squeeze on one rein, which will create a push action on the opposite half of the head. The horse will follow where the head goes, simple.
It’s because they react better when being pushed rather than being pulled. Since it distributes the pressure over a large area without causing any pain, the horses are more likely to respond to this action.
6. PRORIDER English OR Western Horse Brown Leather BITLESS Bridle
Looking for a bridle that would be a good choice for training aid? This side-pull leather bridle from PRORIDER is a good option to look into. It has a double-layered noseband with soft padding and a comfortable grip.
This noseband is also highly durable. Speaking of durability, the hardware is solid stainless steel to increase the lifespan of the bridle; heavy reinforced stitching is applied. It comes with split reins that are 7-inch long.
The bridle is assembled in Texas and made from 100% genuine leather. There is no doubt about the leather quality of this one. It will come stiff but will get better over time.
Try applying some oil or leather conditioner. That should speed up the process. The product looks better in person, and as with any quality leather, this will get better over time.
It’s primarily made for a full-size horse, but you can get the cob size bridle to fit an Arabian. Overall, considering its construction, quality material, and adjustability options, you won’t go wrong with this one.
7. Stunni Genuine Leather Horse Bitless Bridle with Reins
Want to get your hands-on free leather made reins? Get this bridle. In fact, the whole bridle is made from fine quality leather. It features a beautifully curved noseband and browband that are padded, soft, and comfortable. It’s available in both black and brown.
When it comes to sizing, this one does run a bit large. However, it is adjustable like a regular bridle. It is good enough for training but not suitable for heavy-duty use. It doesn’t have strong stitching, and I don’t think it will last long.
That’s probably the only reason why I would recommend this bridle for training purposes only. Because you never know how your horse will react to a bridle without the bit. Also, it’s inexpensive, which makes it worth buying.
The leather is nice and soft, but it’s somewhat thin. It’s a supple leather, and for the price, I would expect more. Think of this bridle as an economical way of going from bit to without a bit.
You can easily spend over 200 dollars for a name brand bridle, but what if your horse doesn’t like it? Keep in mind that it won’t help if you have a crazy horse. It only lacks a chin strip, but apart from that, I would say it’s a good bridle for beginners.
Things to Know Before Buying the Best Bitless Bridle
So, there are a lot of different kinds of bitless bridles available. To kind of put them roughly in categories, we have bitless bridles like the side pulls that work off of just direct pressure. There are also some models that work off of just leverage.
And there are models that kind of a combination of both, which are also known as cross under style. When you are using one, it is generally good to know why you would want to use them in the first place.
1. General Opinion
The main reason why most horse riders prefer to go bitless is that these are generally easier to put on for trail riding, and they also provide more freedom to a horse to eat and drink and if you are doing long-distance riding.
These are just some of the benefits why most riders prefer them. Whatever style you choose to use, it’s good to understand why you are using them in the first place.
You need to know how it’s working, where the pressure is being applied so that you can understand if your horse is doing certain things and how it might be potentially triggering those certain behaviors. There are also some limitations which I’ll discuss later on.
2. Cross Under Style
In this style, when direct rein pressure is applied back, it puts pressure in several different places. For example, it applies pressure straight back on the nose, and it also uses a little bit of pulley action to tighten the strap underneath the head.
Also, that action pulls down on the top of the pole. So, it’s kind of a general squeeze action of the whole head. There are some horses that don’t mind this at all, and there are others that react strongly to this squeezing pressure in the beginning.
So, if you are transitioning your horse, from a bit to a bitless bridle just to try it, you have to be aware that the horse is feeling pressure in a completely different way, and you might have to kind of re-train your horse.
Give him time to develop cues to the new type of pressure that he is feeling in this different style bridle. And that’s how a cross under style bridle works.
The limitation of this type of bridle is that you have a little bit of less direct control over the nose that you would usually have with a regular bitted bridle. For example, it’s not quite easy to trigger responses such as flexion or some sort of bending.
You can absolutely do it once the horse understands some of those cues. But I found that it might take a little bit longer and might be a little bit tougher to train because it’s harder to have that control over the nose that triggers those responses in a bit less setup.
4. Side Pull Style
The side pull works more off of direct pressure. When pressure is applied back with the reins, it’s basically just putting pressure on top of the nose bone.
There is also a little more definite control over the nose because it doesn’t have the squeezing action of a cross under style.
5. Other Types
There are also different styles of bridles that work in different ways. For example, there is the natural hackamore which works by applying pressure on the nose of a horse. This is also called a rope halter.
The mechanical hackamore is slightly different than the natural one. While both put pressure on the nose, the mechanical one has a strap or a curb chain under the horse’s jaw.
There are other leverage style hackamores the put pressure on both the underside of the jaw and the nose.
When you use a bitless bridle and start to see, certain behaviors developing, that particular bridle is mainly responsible for triggering those behaviors. You have to make a choice here.
Is it something that wants to work through or use a different type of bridle? If you are just trying to go bitless for the sake of it, and your horse seems more agitated when you use one, which might happen, you should totally avoid using one. You should go back to a simple soft bit.
Frequently Asked Question
1. Can I still train my horses to perform different actions using a bitless bridle?
Yes. But you have to understand the pressure points and how the cue is being applied with the style you choose.
2. How do I know which style will be suitable for my horse?
The only way to tell which one will be suitable is by trying out a bunch of them. Go with the inexpensive ones first and if it suits your horse, buy a more expensive high-quality bridle.
3. Is it safe to ride with a bitless bridle?
A properly fitted bridle without a bit is a lot safer than riding with a bit. If it fits well, you will have better control, and you won’t have to worry about putting unnecessary pressure.
Bitless bridles are pretty hard to be abusive with. Because with any piece of equipment, you can use them harshly, but these don’t use a lot of leverage pressure.
You only have to be more careful with is the styles of a bridle. There are a lot of different ones out there, but this list contains only the best bitless bridles that you can easily use to transition from bit to bitless or just try them out for the first time.