Bitless Bridle 'For a true
connection with your horse'
The story behind the design by Cynthia Cooper.
and Zach testing a LightRider bridle protoype. Photo by Jenny Pearce.
I designed the LightRider
bitless bridle in early 2006 as I wanted something bitless to
ride my educated horses in, rather than the natural hackamore or rope
halter I'd been using.
I wanted a bridle that would be the logical next step up from the
rope halter/hackamore that replaced the bit, and would allow similar
feel, communication and lightness.
Most of my research on bitless bridles
showed me that my simple idea of a sliding chinstrap wasn't a feature
of any other bitless bridle. As I wanted to keep it simple, I tried
this type of chinstrap out and was very pleased with how it worked
on my horses.
They seemed happy with it too, so over the past few years I have refined
the design, made it more adjustable, and developed various styles
to suit different tastes.
My background as a Parelli Instructor
helped me test the bridle on a variety of horses and in different
situations. I also discovered that it was suited to many more applications
than originally thought. Young horses can be started directly in the
Light Rider, just as they would be with a bit, except the experience
is a whole lot more pleasant for them.
Older horses who braced against the rein responded so much better
and even horses who hadn't ever been ridden bitless, accepted the
bridle with very little re-training required.
Below you can read about more of the
benefits of this unique bridle.
It makes me very happy to know that whenever someone buys a bitless
bridle, there will be another happier horse in the world.
With the reins attached in a similar position to a
bit, the Light Rider Bridle delivers a much clearer, more direct message
to the nose.
Some horses get confused or resist ‘whole head’ pressure
so they respond better to the simple but effective chinstrap of this
unique bitless bridle.
It works by the horse receiving release from pressure as the chinstrap
slides through each noseband ring.
“I just love it! It
has a snug fit for direct and clear communication, it doesn't
close down on the horse when you are having a conversation about what
you would like them to do.” Jenny Pearce (International Author
CONTROL AND LIGHTNESS
The unique chinstrap of the LightRider
Bridle offers effective control by tightening (to a point) when
pressure is applied. When the rein is relaxed, it releases to reward
Horses find it much easier to learn and become lighter when they receive
release from pressure.
"I was having real trouble
with my 20yr old mare accepting any bit whatsoever. She absolutely
hated being ridden with a bit, tossing her head, not listening to
the rein aids etc. We tried just a halter but there was no one rein
stop and she just pulled through my hands and left me with not much
control at all.
After chiro and dentist visits,
a friend suggested we try your bitless bridle and after one session
in the round yard to get used to it, the difference is amazing! No
tossing the head, she listens to the lightest of aids, she is easier
to handle, has emergency brakes and most of all she is happy. She
enjoys being out on the trail. She even cantered for the first time
for me the other day and loved it.
Thankyou for designing this product.
I can't believe the control and how much better I
feel riding her now that she is happy. Personally I have ridden horses
that accept the bit happily but still didn't feel as in control as
I do riding with the bitless bridle." Jenny
K. in Tasmania.
COMFORT FOR A
is nothing tight on the Light Rider Bridle to bother your horse.
The padded noseband
will not mark your horse or cause excessive sweating.
The soft nylon chinstrap
releases to allow easy eating and drinking with the bridle on, without
having to undo straps.
A calm relaxed horse
is a much safer ride.
“When I stop he actually gives
with his head instead of bracing against me which was really
nice. MY GOD what a difference – thank you Cynthia I have
my horse back!!!!!” Kylie Hutcheon. Endurance Rider - Tasmania.
The English, Stockhorse and Western styles are made from
leather or BetaBiothane. This vinyl
coated polyester webbing was developed as an alternative to leather
and is manufactured int he USA.
It has a soft leather-like
feel but is much stronger and easier to care for (wipe
with a damp cloth). It doesn’t fade, crack or absorb sweat.
The Natural and Performer styles are made from high quality marine braid
polyester rope, as are the reins.
The padding on
the noseband is a soft, anti-gall material, the same as that
used for girths. The Stockhorse style has padding over the headpiece
All bridles come with either top quality solid brass or stainless
steel hardware that is strong, durable and rust proof.
“It is a very beautiful thing
to look at! The materials and workmanship are of a really lovely quality.”
Jo Atkins, Tasmania.
MULTIPURPOSE – MORE FUN
Lead your horse
easily by unclipping the reins from the chinstrap then clip
to the lead ring or loop.
Lunge your horse
the lead ring or loop.
Play on the ground
with the rope reins extended to warm up/down, or attach a longer
line for more fun.
Ride with the
reins clipped to the chinstraps rings for maximum control, or
clipped to the noseband rings like a traditional sidepull bridle.
“My students loved using
it and found it much better. Tulley was even more responsive
with it than the halter/rope reins we had been using. He
went like a dream”. Nan Catmur (Riding instructor)
"I have seen horse after horse
relax and rejoice with the gift of the Light Rider. It is
perfect for all phases in Le Trec - which covers everything
from precise ground play to flying over cross country fences. Thank
you, Cynthia." Scilla Sayer (coach and therapist for horses and
LOOKS LIKE A REGULAR BRIDLE
With the noseband positioned closer to where a cavesson
sits, the LightRider Bridle enhances
the look of your horse.
You can use the English, Stockhorse, Western and Bitless Noseband
knowing you will blend in with bitted horses. However, your horse
will be happier and more relaxed without the discomfort caused by
STYLE FOR YOUR SPORT
English for shows, pony club, jumping,
dressage, hunters and adult riding clubs. (photo at top of page)
for endurance, working, camp-drafting, sporting, starting young
horses and trail riding (photo at right)
LightRider Western for
trail, shows, pleasure, reining, cutting and western breeds. (photo
LightRider Natural &
Performer for training, trail riding, endurance, horsemanship,
ponies and pleasure.
Risk Free Guarantee If you or your horse are not completely
happy you can return your Light Rider Bridle (in ‘as new’
condition) within 30 days of receipt for a full refund (less postage).
Conditions Apply - please click here
12 month guarantee on workmanship
photo consultation to check the correct fit of the bridle on your
your photos (email reduced size please).
- LightRider Bitless Noseband
For those that would love to use
their own bridle, the revolutionary LightRider
Bitless Noseband allows you to go bitless in your favourite
Its just like buying a different
bit, and will fit most standard 5/8" to 1/2" cheek straps.
Make use of those bridles you have at home by converting them to
bitless gving you options for more horses and ponies, and equestrian
pursuits like driving.
Available in black and dark brown Beta Biothane and leather,
the Bitless Noseband consists of the LightRider noseband with cheek
piece attachment points, webbing chinstrap and connector strap with
leading ring. The connector strap attaches to the throatlatch, helping
to share the pressure between noseband and headpiece when leading,
during groundwork or lungeing. It can be removed when using the
bridle in shows/competitions where leading is not required.
Hello Cynthia, New Noseband arrived safely. It is FANTASTIC!
Very easy to change the bridle.
Will be purchasing another of the Nosebands soon, to use on
other good bridles I have.
Thank you soo much for developing this. You are wonderful! :)
Happy Riding, from Nan (& her horses too)."
"I purchased a LightRider
bridle from you last week. I have to say the response was so fast.
Thanks brilliant service.
I have ridden in
it now a few times and have found it to be excellent. My horse, Rivers,
has responded well to it is able to understand things a lot better
than the older style bridle I was using which was a side pull with
a bosal type noseband. The “Light Rider Bridle’ firstly
looks so much better and is so much softer on his face.
My instructor and a friend also used the bridle and were extremely
impressed with it.
It fitted Rivers
fine and has been the only bridle I have found to fit him properly.
All the other traditional style bridles (prior to me going bitless)
were either too big or too small. They were not as adjustable as yours
Thanks so much for
your follow up and information prior to delivery and after. I found
the ‘how to fit instructions’ fanstastic. Thanks again
Cynthia - hopefully you will have a lot more happy customers as I
Kind Regards and thanks from
Alison Fyfe and Rivers
"We went out last night
for a hack in the LightRider. Light being the optimum word - very
light cues to go any which way. Thank you for your super
help, information and understanding of horses and your great bridle
design. I know we will have many many hours of riding in comfort,
style and with a very happy and contented horse in your bridle."
Jo in the UK.
a LightRider Bitless Bridle is better for your horse.
Whether you already ride in bitless
headgear or still use a regular bridle and bit, there are more options
to choose from when it comes to practical, comfortable headgear for
Bitless Bridle designed by Cynthia Cooper (successful competitor
in many different equestrian events) is proving to also meet the pleasure
rider’s needs, most importantly the ability to safely control
the horse without a bit in its mouth.
Secure on the head, so offers more control than a halter.
The unique design of the chinstrap keeps the noseband from twisting
and sliding when the reins are used.
This in turn puts more direct pressure on the nose and causes the
horse to listen to a lighter feel on the reins.
The soft webbing chinstrap
releases when rein pressure is relaxed, providing an instant reward
for the horse.
It is much safer than a halter
because the communication is more direct to either side of
the horse’s head (and therefore easily understood), and the
reins cannot become stuck on the neck if the horse tucks its head
in to avoid pressure.
Lighter so more comfortable for the horse.
The lightweight materials used and light rope reins make the overall
weight of the LR bridle around 500 grams (depending on the size).
The padded noseband relieves the pressure and doesn’t mark the
nose like a rope halter will.
Allows easy eating and drinking.
Because the chinstrap is loose until the reins are used, the horse
can fully open its jaw to eat and drink. Of course with no bit, your
horse will find it easier to drink – no sucking in air with
the water, and easier to chew grass when you have a break or go on
those long rides.
Allows easier breathing than with a bit.
A bit obstructs the horse’s breathing, especially when the reins
are held firmly, as the tongue is forced towards the back of the mouth.
Combine that with some vertical flexion when a horse is held in, and
you decrease the size of the airway in the throat by as much as 50%.
(Ref. ‘Metal in the Mouth – the abusive effects bitted
bridles’ by Dr Cook & Dr Strasser.)
Removes pain and damage from
the horse’s mouth.
When you take away the bit, you immediately take away a lot of pain
from pressure applied to the reins.
A bit acts directly on the bars of
the mouth which are only covered by a thin layer of skin and tissue
– a bit like your shin bone.
When a horse experiences pain, it’s
instinctive reaction is to fight and become harder to control. Also,
the bars are damaged and eventually bone spurs form from bit pressure.
The horse also reacts to pain by throwing its head up, tossing
its head repeatedly or opening its mouth.
then causes the rider to need a martingale or tight noseband to keep
control and makes life very uncomfortable for the horse.
A LightRider bitless bridle, even in
heavy hands, will not cause pain unless it is fitted extremely low
on the nose where it can obstruct breathing.
It won’t rub the horse, even if you have constant contact for
longer periods, as the chinstrap keeps everything from slipping and
the padded noseband protects the hard bone of the nose.
The reins unclip to make a
long rope for leading.
When you have to get off your horse out on the trail it takes a few
seconds to unclip the reins from the chinstrap and one end onto the
halter loop/ring. You then have up to a 3m length of rein for leading
or tailing your horse up hills, or tackling those challenging obstacles
from the ground.
No need to change head gear.
From the time you catch your horse to the time you release him/her
back in the paddock, there’s no need to change from halter to
bridle and back again. Please note the rein clips are not designed
for tying a horse – but a regular rope can easily be clipped
on for this.
Easy to clean and dry.
The LightRider Natural Rope bridle
is easily washed in water, and a little scrub with a brush gets out
all the sweat and dirt. Or you can throw it in a net bag in the washing
machine to get it looking like new again.
Hang it up to drip dry and its ready to go again the next morning.
The LightRider Biothane bridle range
wipes clean quickly with a damp cloth.
have ridden bitless for a couple of years now with a crossover bridle
and then progressed to a simple rope hackamore. So my mare is quite
used to being without a bit, especially for hacking. The crossover
does not have the release my mare needs being sensitive, and so the
responses to my cues are often delayed and therefore my cues have
to shout louder over the noise levels to get her attention.
And all I can say is thank you for designing such a wonderful
piece of equipment. It is so simple, yet so effective.
" Jo UK.
LightRider Bridle passes tests with excellence!
Cinch Magazine - an online magazine
based in Canada have been running independant tests on various bitless
bridles including the LightRider Bridle
(model tested: Biothane Stockhorse) and here are the results which
of course I'm very happy with!
Scores out of
5:(1= poor 2= satisfactory 3=good 4=excellent 5=outstanding)
- Base Price (not including shipping): 4
- Versatility (disciplines): 4
- Quality of Materials: 5
- Ease of Use (adjustments, riding): 5
- Durability: 4
- Cleaning: 4
Comments: The LightRider is a unique bitless bridle design
featuring a sliding chinstrap. Its composition focuses on being light
on the horses head, but nonetheless offering clear, light signals.
It is one of the best looking bridles of the batch, and is available
in many designs so neither english nor western riders will feel left
The LightRider cleans readily with
soap and water and does not fade in the sun. It is the perfect all
around bridle for use during trail rides, endurance or recreational
pursuits. This bridle is not available in leather, which may be
a downside for some, and may perhaps limit its popularity in a showing
atmosphere (where bitless is allowed).
A nice advantage to the LightRider
is that it is abundant with versatility. It can not only be used
for riding, but has a removable strap that converts the bridle into
a lunging cavesson-type head gear and halter. This saves time and
money long-term, and is convenient that you can easily tie the horse
during a trail ride or for grooming and saddling.
It is especially nice in that the
bridle is not fitted tightly- there is no need, as the reins do
not attach directly to the noseband- and there is no displacement
of the noseband during its use.
In Use: Throughout
hacks, jumping and schooling, the Light Rider never missed a beat.
Horses responded well and rode confidently in through the bridle.
Through work the horses responded lightly and effectively to cues.
The only minor complaint being that from a standstill (using solely
the bridle) a couple of the horses were able to resist the aid to
turn- during faster work, this never proved an issue.
LightRider is a surprisingly effective bridle in an easy to clean,
light weight package. It is one of the gentlest bitless bridle designs,
but yields fantastic results. It may not be suitable for the show-ring
because of its material, but it is well-adapted to schooling, hacking
or endurance ventures.
A general observer would not notice
that there is no bit in the mouth, except upon closer inspection.
Some riders will especially appreciate that the Light Rider is very
traditional in styling- it doesn’t compromise style or safety.
Individual rider stories to come
in a future newsletter or you can view them soon at www.cinchmagazine.com
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.