“How to” Ride Bitless – Stopping a horse in a trot and canter

“How do I stop my horse in a trot or canter when riding bitless”?  I get this question all the time. It is a myth to think a bit in your horse’s mouth is enough to stop them – how many times have you been on a runaway horse with a bit in his mouth?  I can count the times on both hands, did the bit help me then NO!!  So when I started riding bitless I used the classic bitless bridle on the market that has the reins over the poll and crossing under the chin.  I was told this bitless bridle gives a new meaning to the word whoa, NOT.  It created a vise grip action that caused my horse to toss her head trying to get out of the grip.  It didn’t do any good with our relationship either that’s for sure.

I liked using a rope halter to ride with, but I didn’t get the lateral flex I wanted since the cues were coming from under the chin where I tied the lead rope.  Necessity was the mother of invention for me so I sat down and spent 3 days tying rope halters and figuring out how to tie side pull loops just behind the horses smile.  I finally did it!  The All-In-One bitless bridle was born and that’s all I use from start to finish from training to trail riding, dressage riding ALL RIDING & TRAINING!!  Any horse from any age it works.  Watch below how to use the All-In-One Bitless Bridle for you and your horse


About Gentle Horse Trainer Missy Wryn

Specializing in problem and dangerous horses Missy Wryn is an internationally recognized Gentle Horse Trainer and member of the Association of Professional Humane Educators. Missy's Training the Whole Horse® methods & techniques and the creation of her widely popular All-In-One Bitless Bridle have been featured in media such as Alaska Airlines Magazine, Equine Monthly, Natural Horse, NW Horse Source, Stable Management, The Horse Show with Rick Lamb, Horse Girl TV and more. For more information visit Missy Wryn’s website at MissyWryn.com or call toll free (888) 406-7689.
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6 Responses to “How to” Ride Bitless – Stopping a horse in a trot and canter

  1. Tracy says:

    Hi, i simply had ro respond to this post, as normally i am on the same page as you with softness and like a lot of your posts…..but what the heck was you doing with the riens to make any bitless device have a “vice grip” ? This is down to the hands using the bridle not the bridle design itself, and riders should be taught to use less not more rein, as you are very much aware, therefore there should never be any situation where any bitless bridle clamps on, like you describe. i could make your bitless bridle, and any other type hurt horses if i used it like that! Tracy from http://www.naturalhorse.co.nz

    • Hi Tracy – thank you for your comment. I understand your response and would like to add that hopefully a rider does not need to pull on the reins to stop their horse with great force, but we’ve all done it out of a quick response during a bolt or sense of out-of-control which is why I teach my horses and students the emergency handbrake one-rein-stop. The bitless bridle I am referring to is a Dr Cook’s which has a design of the crossed reins under the chin which I found would not release the pressure when the rider releases the reins causing a continual pressure like a vise-grip action from poll to chin. Even the slightest pressure would not release the reins and as you know horses learn from the release of pressure not the pressure itself so I found this style of bitless bridle to be confusing for the horse. Hope this is helpful. Missy http://missywryn.com/

  2. Ava Williams says:

    I had also heard that some bitless bridles don’t release. I bought a Nurtural bitless bridle which seemed to fit and work ok, but haven’t had the occasion to ride enough to fully test it out yet. Has anyone had problems with the Nurtural bitless bridle not releasing? I also have a sidepull bitless bridle for my pony that I’m getting ready to try out. I am also thinking about Missy’s bitless bridle if the bitless bridles that I have don’t work out well for me.

  3. Joyce Melnyk says:

    I have used Missy Wryn’s bitless bridle – on a green 3 yr old filly. She responds well. I credit this to my watching the Missy Wryn videos – especially the emergency stop and training on the ground before mounting.. I am not an experienced horsewoman, though – so just my experience thus far.

  4. Ava Williams says:

    Thank you Joyce. I appreciate that information. My pony came with a mechanical hackamore, and another copper looking bit with some round keepers on the sides that had some leverage. I was told that small kids used this bridle when riding her. I’m not experienced but both of these look like too much for my 13 2 hands pony. I bought a sidepull, but my new trainer said that horses really need bits and that the sidepull or any bitless bridle is not going to give me reliable control. I had two people ride my 15 hand horse in the Nurtural bitless bridle and both said he was controlled by it once he got used to after a few minutes riding around. However, this was in a round pen, so who knows.I’m so confused. I want to do right by my horse and pony by using the least hurtful bridle that will also give me enough control to be safe.

    • Hi Ava – control comes from the relationship between you and your horse and learning your horse’s emergency handbrake (one-rein-stop). I cannot tell you how many runaway horses I’ve been on with a bit in their mouth which only made the horse go faster the more I pulled on the bit. That’s because a horse has a fight or flight instinct that is set off from a hormone in their brain that says “run” when they are in pain which in these numerous situations was the bit. Many will tell you that your control is in the bit, but I disagree based on personal experience and the many people who use my All-In-One Bitless Bridle and training methods with great success. You can watch my Training the Whole Horse videos on my website FREE at http://www.site.missywryn.com/Missy_Wryn_s_Horse_Training.html and how to Start Under Saddle http://www.site.missywryn.com/Starting_Under_Saddle__1.html. Hope this helps.

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