Lots of (internet) talk about Riding Without Bridle!

After a post on the Horse & Hound facebook page, there has been lots of buzz around riding without bridle, just with a leather bit.

For those of you, who have seen this. What is your opinion? Would you give it a try?

Here an article “Is a leather bit right for me and my horse?”

I think that some people assume the bit is being held in place by the rider’s hands, which is what gets people talking. In reality, those bits are strapped around the jaw so that a loss of contact does not equal a loss of the bit.

I started riding my horse in a leather bit (custom-made rolled, not the flat variety with the strap used for going bridleless) two months ago and she much prefers it to any previous bit, but she also has mouth problems that required it. I think that most horses can be comfortable in a metal bit, as well as in some type of bridle.

For my horse that I am riding now? No, I would not give this a try. She goes quite well in a conventional snaffle bridle, standard cavason, added some pole padding just because, this bit.

I don’t think securing the bit via a strap around the jaw would be any more comfortable for her - and I question how much tongue relief there would be when contact with the reins is dropped.

I would perhaps consider this for a horse that had bridle / bitting issues - but I have no issues of that manner with my horse (who I started myself, and have always been very careful about her mouth).

Yeah, I’ve also wondered how much pressure is put on the lower jaw itself as well as on the tongue in comparison to a bit that hangs in the mouth from a more neutral location and can move about.

So I think the niceness in this kind of thing would be due to a mouthpiece that doesn’t clank and conforms to the mouth shape. Lots of people like the Herm Sprenger Duo - a leather bit is along the same lines, perhaps more affordable. I bookmarked this out of a recent COTH thread that I think would be very interesting to try for certain horses:


But as far as riding without a bridle? Pfft. A leather bit is not riding without a bridle. A leather bit is a leather bit. Jimmy Williams made a bridleless bit arrangement for Samsung Woodstock, with a metal bit.

Real bridleless is riding without reins, which indeed I have done. Not as brilliantly as these ladies, but inspired by their forebears: