LightRider Bitless News

January 2012 

Bitless at Equitana Sydney

Life is just getting back to normal after Equitana and Christmas. The past couple of months have been hectic but that translates into one thing - lots more happier bitless horses and riders. 
Equitana Sydney was a huge success. More people than expected came to see the constant line up of entertainment, education and to shop! 
Thursday and Friday were incredibly busy with three of us kept busy helping customers choose their bitless bridles and other goodies. Suzanne Bellette and I also did our ‘Benefits of Bitless’ educational session starring Tombay, Suzanne’s beautiful 16yo paint gelding. He showed everything from the basics to advanced in hand work on the ground, to collection with the LightRider Bitless Bridle beautifully and calmly, then repeated the performance on Saturday afternoon.
Lots of lovely comments were received with people appreciating that you could actually get to quite a high level of education with a bitless bridle. 

While we focused purely on education this year, we have some exciting and entertaining ideas for future Bitless Presentations at Equitana to show that riding bitless can be done by anyone or any horse successfully. If you live near Melbourne and would like to be part of this please get in touch with me soon. 

Some of our enthusiastic customers took their purchases straight home and reported back to us the next day, thrilled  with how their horses responded with better stops and turns, and much happier all round.
We also found very diverse owners buying bitless bridles with racehorse trainers, campdraft competitors and polocrosse players preferring to train bitless. It was also lovely to see several RDA groups taking bridles to try on their horses too.  This sort of feedback is what inspires us to put in the very long days and time out to be at these events so more horses can experience the comfort of being ridden or driven bitless. I’d love to hear from you if you have some feedback on your bitless experiences too.
And so for another year, our biggest event is over! There are still prizes to be sent out for the lucky winner of the LightRider Bridle + Bitless Riding Basics DVDs. Congratulations to Elise Davis of Booral, NSW who wins $200 of LightRider products and a DVD, and to the following winners of Bitless Riding Basics DVDs: Debbie Bennett, Elizabeth Moir, Kirsty Gilmore, Cathy McCallum, Esther Tilcroft, Linda Doughty, Clancy Erlin, Valla Tribe, Yvonne Gough and Nicky Gusterson. 

Product News

Some Stockhorse Style LightRider bridles now come with stainless steel hardware. These are available in dark brown english leather and black or dark brown beta biothane in full size only at present. Click here for the LightRider Stockhorse. 

We now have new leather Western style LightRider bridles (pictured right) with stylish silver conchos to enhance the scalloped browband and cheek straps. They come in tan brown or black regular leather for $119. Click here to see them in the store.

 DVD Special Offer

If you own a LightRider bridle or are purchasing one, save 40% off the DVD using this coupon code:  I916RY1B6W8 when you buy: This reduces the price from the RRP of $49 to $29. 
The Bitless Riding Basics DVD features 4 hours of footage from a clinic I held in Albury. Topics covered include: 
~ Selection and fititng of bitless bridles
~ Teaching methods using positive reinforcement
~ Lateral Flexion (on the ground and in the saddle)
~ The hindquarter yield (ground and riding)
~ The back up (ground and riding)
~ Stopping and going forwards (ground and riding)

Minimal editing of the clinic footage means you get to see the whole learning process as 10 different horses present their individual issues. You will also hear lots of snippets of my philosphies on teaching horses. 
Get yours from the online store now

“The Bitless Riding Basics DVD has arrived and I've watched it several times already. Love it! I have been riding my boy in a cross over style bitless bridle for about eight years now and he goes well in it but I learnt a lot from your DVD. Also I will be getting a new horse after Christmas who has only ever been ridden in a bit and I feel more confident about changing her to bitless after watching your DVD.” Sylvia – South Australia.

LightRider Bridles Now in New Zealand are now the exclusive resellers of LightRider Bridles in New Zealand. Their shop is located near Hamilton with Sandy and Geoff Rawlings at the reins. Sandy will soon be offering a fitting and 'try before you buy' service at the store - you will be able to bring your horse along and ride in an enclosed arena to find which bridle suits your horse best. Check out their online store and contact Sandy for more info. You can also find them on Facebook - click here.

LightRider Bridle Training Tips – How do you use the reins?

Some people new to bitless bridles are unsure if they should use the reins the same as when they ride with a bit. Should you follow the head movement? Should you use the same aids for turning and stopping?

Essentially the answer is yes, mostly.
The only difference you need to keep in mind, is that its best to use a rhythmic feel on the rein whenever you have constant contact.This will ensure your horse doesn't learn to lean on the bridle and will also keep them light and responsive to the rein.

Because the LightRider bridle allows close communication, you can usually use a lighter rein aid than is necessary with a halter or hackamore. This will ultimately depend on the horse and its level of sensitivity and education – something that can be achieved with an equal amount of sensitivity and communicaiton from the rider!

The Straw Experiment

At Equitana in Sydney, 61 people took part in the ‘Lucky Straw Draw’ –  experiencing how it feels to hold a plastic drink straw in their mouth like a bit, for as long as possible. Some barely managed 2 minutes, others did it for 20 minutes!

Here’s what they felt…..

17 found it ‘Uncomfortable’ – several ‘Really Uncomfortable’
11 found it ‘Annoying’
11 found they needed to ‘chew on it’ or ‘play with it continually’
10 said they were ‘Preoccupied’, ‘Couldn’t Concentrate’, ‘Distracted’, ‘Couldn’t focus’
7 said they felt ‘Restricted’ or ‘Blocked’
7 said they produced ‘Lots of Saliva’
7 found it ‘Hard to swallow’ or Couldn’t Swallow’
4 felt ‘Tension in their neck/head/face/jaw’
4 said they ‘Don’t like it’
3 said the ‘Corners of their mouth got sore’
3 ‘Wanted to get rid of it’
3 said they ‘felt numb/tingly’
2 said their ‘Tongue was restricted’
2 said it ‘Irritated their mouth’
2 said it was ‘Not Pleasant’

Other comments included:
Hard, Pain, Strange, Un-Natural, Couldn’t get used to it, Sore tongue muscles, Irritating, Sore jaw, Awkward, Stressed, Sick to my stomach, Felt stupid/ un-dignified/ embarrassed, Pulls lips, Can’t lick lips, Dry mouth, Tired mouth, Hitting teeth, Can’t breathe properly, Would make me cranky, Horrible/yucky, plastic better than a steel bit, Painful gums (where there was no teeth – just like in a horse!), Would kill if someone reefed on it!

A small group of high school students (non-horsey) also took part in this experience and made the following comments:

“Hard to swallow, annoying, more dribble, bad, can not chew, can not talk properly, hurts teeth, want to chew on it, want to spit it out.“
Time in = 5mins 44 sec.

“Difficult speech, more saliva, uncomfortable, annoying”
Time in = 3mins 42sec.

“Annoying, boring, don’t like it”
Time in = 1min 27sec.

“My throat feels kind of sore and painful and uncomfortable. I am making more saliva. My head keeps being pulled down and I can’t lift it up. My gums and teeth are painful I want to chew on it. My neck feels hard.”
Time in = 2min 2sec and 1min 5sec

Many thanks to all those who took part. If you haven’t yet tried this, next time you see a plastic straw give it a go.

Men competing bitless

Curtis Freeman and Cassidy at an endurance ride in Montana, USA. He is using his LightRider Bitless Stockhorse bridle and Easyboots, and was very happy about being allowed to use them.

Fabulous Feedback

“The bitless noseband arrived today. It is so beautifully made. What a wonderful concept you have come up with. It’s the best designed bitless I have ever seen. Thanks again,” Sharon

The bitless noseband is beautifully made, the leather is very nice. He paid attention brilliantly - walking, turning, stopping, reining back - which I knew he would, because of all the time he spent bitless (mostly in a headstall with rope reins) trail riding in 2009. It's a brilliant design and very comfortable and the directness of it really resonates with my smart pony.” Lauren G. USA


“We just completed the 100-mile Tevis cup race on Oct. 8 using your LightRider Bitless Noseband! We finished in 37 position out of 188 riders. It was so nice not to have a bit to deal with. He trailered 2 days to the ride camp in his halter/bridle headstall, camped 4 days in the snow, tacked up in the dark at 4 a.m. and handled well on the trail and through the vet checks, then travelled two days back home - all without having to change headstalls.
Ferrari and I also finished a 50-miler in the top 10, using the Renegade Boots, Taylored Tack breastplate and headstall with the "LightRider" bitless Noseband. It all worked so well and I really appreciate your support.
Renegades ruled the ride! Many riders with Rens on all 4. Lots of deep sand, but I did not remove the boots at the lunch break, and had not a problem all day!
The LightRider Bitless Noseband works well for this horse and I never had a problem rating him. He respects it as if I were using a bit - So much so that my partner is trying it on his mare to see if she can transition out of a bit. ” Terry – USA

LightRider Natural

"Wanted to drop you a line and say how impressed I am with the Natural LightRider bridle.  Tried it out on my Arab first, who has a less than perfect set of teeth, a penchant for turning the other cheek and for being jumpy and generally holds his head up very high with a yucky choppy stride when he gets really agitated or unsure by his surroundings.
Your bridle is fantastic. Very, very light, no need for heavy handedness. He did not fight against my hand once and gave with his head. He was much more relaxed and forward going when usually I am having to work him. It felt like he had no bridle on at all. I am super impressed and attach a photo of him in it. When the pennies come in, I will buy another one and ride all my ponies in them. Very pleased. My hackamores will now become dusty relics in the shed!” Jane – QLD

Bitless, bareback dressage

Another example showing you don't need a bit, or even a saddle to do some very nice moves. I like the end of this video the best. So nice to see a rider give back to the horse. Click here to see it.

Men riding Bitless 2

“Snickers and her bitless bridle I got from you. She has become a dream with it.” Dave – Nebraska, USA  

Bitless Noseband Best

“I purchased the LightRider Bitless Noseband about 6 months ago and it has been a lifesaver. My horse had fought the bit ever since I got him, the only place I could ride him was in the ring and even there he was hard to control. A lot of head shaking and bobbing, I even had to use a Standing Martingale.The moment I put his bridle on with the bitless noseband attached, he became a different horse. We are going on trail rides now and he even jumped over a 3ft. crossbar.
Your product is the best on the market, the quality is superb, the only negative is the shipping cost as I live in the USA, but it's worth it.” Dorothe – NY USA

Fantastic Feedback

“I just wanted to let you know that I am going on two years with my LightRider and I (and my horse) love it more and more every day.  Our rides are so much more fun--we're both relaxed and in sync with each other because I know how comfortable he is.  As a result,  he has become so happy and responsive, we have resumed jumping courses--something I had to give up when my cross-under bridle failed to loosen.  And the best is I know that even when I don't release over a fence perfectly or am caught off guard by a spook, I'm not hurting his mouth. The happiest day for him and me was when I stumbled upon your web site. Thank you again. “ Joanne Aswell.

Bareback & Bitless

“I just wanted to share a couple of pics of me and my daughter and our Arabs, going barefoot, bareback, and bitless with your LightRider Bridles. I love them - I tried several other bitless options but my gelding did not do well in them. We did our first NATRC competitive trail ride in it and got a first place. Just wanted to let you know how much we love the LightRider bridle and thank you for creating it!
We went to a local show this past weekend and show rules dictate the horse MUST have a bit in its mouth. I warmed my horse up in the LightRider bridle and he was so happy and relaxed and well behaved. I switched to the bit right before our class and his head went up, he tossed his head the whole time and just wanted to fly around the ring not listening. I wish someone would change the AQHA show rules that require a bit... I hate it and probably won't show again because of it.” Robyn – Georgia, USA

I love your feedback

One of the highlights of my job is to receive emails and photos from people using my LightRider bitless bridles. If you would like to share your successes, suggest improvements or have a problem solved, please email.
If you've recently sent me feedback and it hasn't appeared yet, don't worry - I am holding some over for future newsletters. I'm looking forward to hearing from you soon.

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