North East Adult Riding (NEAR) Club
Scottsdale Tas. Contact Chris on 03 63524254
Suncoast Pony and Adult
Riding Club - St Helens, Vice President: Gina Jetson Ph. 0363722547
Bendigo Bitless – Huntly Riding Club –
NEW SOUTH WALES:
Darkes Forest Riding Club – Darkes
American Competitive Trail Horse Association - USA
who allow and promote Bitless Bridles:
Australian Equine Behaviour Centre - AEBC clinics held in Hobart, Brisbane,
Sunshine Coast Qld, Perth WA, Sydney NSW.
Carlos Tabernaberri – Whispering Acres Mel Fleming
Cynthia Cooper - Golden Valley
Melissa O'Rourke - Equus Equestrian Centre - Sandford
Nan Catmur – Nan’s Riding School - Longford
Scilla Sayer - Leslie Vale
Samantha Goss - Devonport Ph. 0414 486493
NEW SOUTH WALES Janene Clemence - The Academy of Equine Performing
Arts - Byron Bay Natural Equestrian -
Instructor Suzanne Bellette promoting Bitless Bridle On line and Ridden
in Arcadia ( near Sydney) Ph. 0419 603 122. Steeve Croucher, Coffs
Harbour - www.steevecroucher.com
0418 235 359 Deb Shearim KalEquine
Services – Central Coast NSW Mobile: 0417268884 www.kalequine.webs.com
Kathy Boettcher, Meadowsweet Ranch, Spring Grove, IL
welcome contacts for bitless riding:
AUSTRALIA Tasmania Leslie Vale: Scilla Sayer Phone 0409476624. Hillwood: Anne Bowden - 041 7274340 firstname.lastname@example.org
Victoria Glen Waverley: Melissa Carstens - 0402 857 862 email@example.com
Tallangatta Valley: Kelly Bick and Glenn Wilson, NE
Victoria, 02 6071 0210 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Vic: Elaine Moores – ElaineM@peacocks.com.au
New South Wales Grace from Macksville,
North Coast NSW - email@example.com
Queensland South Maclean: Jenny McCubben -0437 118 570 firstname.lastname@example.org
South Australia Northern Hills:
Jenny Austin - 08 8289 0395 or 0404 168 395.
IRELAND Co Armagh/Richill: Lesley Harvey - 07733 262511 http://www.intouchequestrian.co.uk/
Buddies at Leslie Vale - What We do by Michelle.
The Bitless Buddies Group
which Scilla has integrally formed with a great deal of passion and
I would like to tell you my reflections of the two sessions so far.
The first session was on Sunday 12th December 2010 and began with Scilla
arriving late with a freshly broken wrist after tripping and falling
whilst leading Salty and Pumpkin amidst a group trail ride! (she did
continue to ride one-handed for the rest of the 14km ride!).
horses and their human partners, with a few additional spectators seemed
the perfect begining for our group. When asked to introduce ourselves
(and horses) and give personal insight about our expectations and desires
for attending, many of us commented we would like social support with
like-minded people about ethical horsemanship and we would like our
horses to enjoy social time with other horses in a safe, respective
and supportive environment. I was particularly happy to see a young
girl and her pony come along with her Mum after trying the more traditional
teaching of horsemanship and not really being able to accept it, nor
get anywhere with it.
There was also discussion about different types of halters, lead ropes
bridles (with bits and without), reins and the pro's and con's of each.
We then announced some of our individual problem areas with 'on ground
respect' etc. and Scilla happily gave support and suggestions with how
to correct our 'on ground' behaviour to project clearer communication
for our horses to accept what we ask of them.
We then gave the horses some social time (after discussing the safety
and risks of our horses being free together and whether appropriate
etc.) - we all enjoyed observing and analysing their true selves as
A cup of tea, biscuit and much chatting was then in order and Scilla
suggested we watch one of her DVD's about a woman and her revelations
of 'Mindful Horsemanship' and the effects of riding in high pressure
equipment such as bits, spurs etc. We were all quite speechless with
the cruelty of such human behaviour - the impact was extraordinary.
We finished with all of us being very greatful that the horses have
brought us all together to learn how we can harmonise our ways with
Session 2 was on the 2nd of January 2011 and began with a few of us
preparing our horses with 'ash paint' markings to show our horses individuality
with ourselves in a fun, semi ritualising way.
When we arrived we were struck with a 'vibrant', new horse member -
a 5 yr old bay, Arabian gelding named Scout who was displaying all his
Arabian spirit at liberty in a small paddock on his own. Scilla wanted
time for the horses to be free with each other for a time before our
interaction of Bitless learning etc. No-one felt confident to let their
horse run with 'wild' Scout except Erin with Zebbie.
We were all amazed when Zebbie was free to play with Scout how much
his energy came down and when we decided to let all (but 2 horses -
one was injured from a previous incident and the other had partnered
with her) run together as a free herd. Zebbie was faced with the role
of mediator between his old herd and Scout.
Watching Sam and Salty 'joined together' like yin and yang and only
interfering in Campbell's behaviour when too threatening to the others
was truly reamarkable horse behaviour!
Time for a cuppa and cake again, whilst Scilla discussed different bridles
and their bits or no bits, with practical demonstration and discussion
(especially to show a young a boy from England who is accustomed to
riding traditional Engilsh pony club ways) before we all set out to
practice some on ground and mounted horseplay in the large sand arena.
all enjoyed watching, playing and supporting one another with our horse
companions. Scilla also gave a mounted demonstration (one handed of
course) on Sam - bitless and with a bareback pad, with a little 'dressage
flare' - proving bits are not necessary for a horse (and rider) to interpret
certain movement or head carriage - connection, feel and harmony are
instead the most influential and desired!
We all left feeling inspired and serene with another great day of learning,
social fun and support from our like minded group - Thank you Scilla,
Mandy, Erin, Nicola, Linda, Penny, Sam, Freya, Rosie (I've probably
forgotten a few) and all of our beloved equine teachers.
Also a huge thank you to you Cynthia, for your pioneering journey with
bitless riding and giving us the opportunity to develop and learn from
each other with you as our inspiritaion and guide.
companies with no Bitless Exclusion:
Logan Livestock Insurance
AON Risk Services
Ltd who insure EFA and EA (but their rules must be abided by) +
Australian Endurance Riders Assoc. as well as ATHRA who allow bitless
American Equine Insurance
Equine Insurance Services
Dressage in South Africa
the annual National Dressage Meeting in February, 2008, SANEF (South
African National Equestrian Federation) approved the introduction of
bitless dressage classes (Novice and Pre-Novice initially) at graded
dressage shows on a year trial basis starting later this year.
extensive representations to SANEF by a Bitless Dressage Committee over
a long period of time. All aspects of bitless riding and dressage competitions
were discussed and a proposal was then put to the National Dressage
Committee where it was debated at the February meeting. Final details
of the rules governing bitless dressage and classes will be announced
in due course as well as the starting date.
should be proud that our Equestrian Federation has been so forward-looking
as to be one of the first countries to give bitless dressage an official
years the art of horsemanship has developed and changed as new approaches
to equipment and training have evolved. Recently these changes have
become more profound as riders and owners of all sorts have embraced
modern concepts of horsemanship less anchored in military roots. One
of these new directions has resulted in many riders now riding bitless
in all manner of 'bridles' ranging from neckstrings through rope head-collars
to 'professional' bitless bridles. Riders riding bitless have ranged
from novices and happy hackers through to 'serious' classical riders
doing Haute Ecole dressage. This has opened up a whole new curiosity
as to how well dressage tests can be done bitless.
who are inspired to do 'formal' bitless dressage, whether they currently
ride bitted dressage or don't ride dressage but ride bitless and may
be keen to enter dressage, are requested to express their interest by
emailing their name, locality and experience to email@example.com
so that a register of bitless dressage riders can be compiled. Please
also state what bitless bridle you are currently using.
in Dutch dressage competition (July 2009).
After many requests, the KNHS (Royal Dutch Equestrian Federation) which
has around 203,000 members in all affiliated equestrian sports, held
a pilot dressage competition where a range of bitless bridles were used
in classes from Prelim. to Medium.
There were no restrictions on the types of bridles as the point was
to see which bridles were the most ‘horse friendly’.
The classes were judged by five listed judges and marked according to
the usual guidelines. All the riders were also interviewed to get their
Points made included the need for alternative wording in the collectives
as contact and submission would differ from the norm, and fitting of
some of the bridles needed attention.
Once conclusion was that those bridles with potentially excessive influence
on the horse’s nose, and usually used with loose contact such
as hackamores and western bridles, would not be permitted.
The most favoured bridle seemed to be the ‘sidepulls’ (not
The committee, including a veterinary surgeon, experts on bitless riding,
instructors, and judges will discuss and evaluate the outcome of the
competition using a video of the event and the judges comments.
Agreements need to be reached about the type of bitless bridle permitted,
and adjustments to the judges’ sheet.
Holland, like most, if not all countries, does not permit bitless bridles
in dressage competition, but I’m sure everyone keenly awaits the
outcome of this Dutch initiative to at least investigate the situation.
LightRider Bitless Noseband will work with a bit for transition or abiding
by rules The LightRider Bitless Noseband can
be attached to the bridle over the bit (as shown in
the photo) so you can use the reins to the noseband or the reins to
This is an ideal solution for people who
are unsure of their horse's reactions in all situations while transitioning
to bitless, or for those ocassions where rules state a bit must be worn.
(some rules don't state that reins must be attached to the bit!).
It's even a good option for when young horses are transitioning from
bitless to a bit (if its absolutely necessary) - the rings of the bit
and the chinstrap can even be clipped together to limit bit action as
the next step up from just wearing the bit, if you really need to ask
your horse to do this. At least the progression is then easier for your
It's a good idea to have two quite different
sets of reins so you can easily see which ones to use, and to have the
reins to the bit (which you may use less frequently) knotted on the
neck, and/or tied with something breakable like a shoelace to the saddle.
That will still allow you to use the reins while keeping them in postion
so they don't slip forward or to the side.
The best type of bit to use is one with
smaller rings, or something like this french snaffle as shown in the
Collection with a LightRider Bitless Noseband
See how soft vertical
flexion and a responsive relaxed horse can lead to true collection via
In this first video, Instructor Suzanne Bellette with her colourful
Paint gelding, Tombay, shows how this is achieved with the
LightRider Bitless Noseband
and the appropriate education of course.
Tombay's ridden education started with the halter. Once Suzanne moved
onto using the bit her horse developed a history of head and neck problems
which on occasion led to front end lameness. Suzanne now puts this down
to pain and discomfort from the bit. After numerous body work treatments
and continuous use of the bit there was no consistent improvement so
she went back to using the halter.
Searching for a solution that would give her the finesse of the bit
yet no pain to avoid, she added the LightRider Bitless Noseband to her
bridle and found it worked brilliantly with no more recurring front
end soreness and a happier bitless horse.
and barefoot eventer –
Freyr and Scruff competed at the State Eventing Championships They were
sponsored by LightRider Bitless Bridles.
“Scruffy was a little distracted in the dressage and the test
was not so great, but he jumped clear on a very wet cross country course,
followed by probably the best round of showjumping I've ever had on
him. He was so lovely to ride and jumped up through his withers with
much more freedom. Everyone watching our round said that he looked like
he was enjoying himself and yes I did showjump in the
LightRider Bitless Noseband. He did have a rail down but that was
my fault because I asked for an extra stride where he didn't have room.
The judges came up to me after the class to look at his bridle because
they had spent my whole round debating whether he had a bit in or not!
We finished in 5th place and I know Scruff enjoyed the competition more
than any other he has done.
Scruff must be one of the few horses actively competing barefoot and
bitless. I know it sparked a lot of interest from the other competitors,
so maybe it will spark some debate and there might be more jumpers out
competing bitless in the future.
Thanks so much for sponsoring the Bitless Noseband, and a big thanks
from Scruff, he is definitely happier.” Freyr Colvin. Tasmania.
at the Masters Games - pics
taken by Lisa Dolbel.
Joylene Dudink on Maelong Anawa's Marionette competed in the Master's
Games 'A' Grade winning games team recently and reports: “She
loves the LightRider bitless and is extremely light and responsive.
My team mates stated that we were the most consistent combination of
the team - steady and accurate - because I have the most control! Some
people commented later on in the day about how good she was and were
even more impressed when they noticed the bitless. They said that they
hadn't even realised.
was very happy to be able to do games bitless because sometimes in the
adrenalin rush etc, it can be a little difficult to always be so gentle
on the reins, but I didn't feel so bad bitless.”
NSW Instructor, Shelly
Broomham says: "This is my 4yo Clydy x Andalusian gelding GP Amadeus
(Clan). My goal with him is to train him to high level dressage bitless,
treeless and barefoot. The bridle I am using is a Bitless Dressage type
side pull, the saddle is a FreeForm Elite treeless Dressage. In this
video Clan has only been ridden less than 30 times. Although I am riding
bitless I am still applying Classical principals to his training. I
will try to update as often as I can for those of you who are interested
in this type of training. "
Safety Australia Endorses LightRider Bitless Bridles
The Association for Horsemanship Safety and Education
Horse Safety Australia Executive June 2011:
Safety Australia is happy to endorse the LightRider
Bitless Bridles and Nosebands.
These items are made of good quality materials, with attention to
When properly fitted to the horse, and with appropriate training of
the horse, they work as effective equipment for riding horses.
Horse Safety Australia sees these products as useful not only for
individual riders but also in a riding school situation, if the horses
are properly trained and well behaved. The bitless bridle provides
the opportunity for a new rider to learn to keep their hands still
and develop a light touch.
As with any products, they need to be used properly, correctly fitted,
and used on horses which respond well to this different kind of pressure. www.horsesafetyaustralia.com.au
The information contained within this website is soley the expressed views
and opinions of the author, unless otherwise stated, and the author accepts
no responsability for the way this information is used by viewers. The
information is provided to help PREVENT problems, not to replace veterinary
Natural Horse World
Wattle Lea Lane, Golden Valley. Tasmania, 7304. Australia.