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The LightRider Bitless Bridle

'For a true connection with your horse'

The story behind the design
by Cynthia Cooper.

Cynthia 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.

CLEAR COMMUNICATION
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 and Clinician).

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 the horse.
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 CALM HORSE
  • There 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. (photo above).
EXCEPTIONAL QUALITY

The English, Stockhorse and Western styles are made from leather or Beta Biothane. 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 too.

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 easily from
    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 humans.)

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 a bit.


A STYLE FOR YOUR SPORT
  • LightRider English for shows, pony club, jumping, dressage, hunters and adult riding clubs. (photo at top of page)

  • LightRider Stockhorse 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 below)

  • LightRider Natural & Performer for training, trail riding, endurance, horsemanship, ponies and pleasure.
    (photos below)

  • NEW - LightRider Bitless Noseband - for attaching to any regular bridle cheek pieces just like a bit...only bitless! Gives you far more flexibility.
Styles, Sizes & Colours
  • Available in quality leather and Regular or Deluxe Beta Biothane - Click here for more info on Biothane

  • LightRider English
    (photo top of page)

  • LightRider Stockhorse
    (photo above right)

    LightRider Western (Photo right - with plaited horsehair browband).

  • LightRider Bitless Noseband (pictured here in dark brown beta biothane).

    Sizes:

  • Pony (fits 11-13.3hh)
  • Cob (fits 13.2-14.3hh/134-152cm).
  • Full (fits 15-16.3hh/152-175cm).
  • Warmblood/Draught (fits solid 17-18hh/175cm to183cm)
  • Go to the size chart here to check your horse's measurements

    Colours: Matte black or dark brown in Beta Biothane and black, tan or dark brown in leather.
  • Bitless Bridles - check the store for current specials.

    Rope Bridles
    :

    LightRider Natural (photo left)
    has a covered noseband.

    LightRider Performer
    (pictured below) with antigall padded noseband
  • Sizes: Mini, Small (pony), Medium (cob), Large (full) and Extra Large (warmblood/draught)

    Colours: Black/gold zig zag, Brown/gold zig zag, Black, Blue or Purple headstall with black browband, noseband and reins (included).



  • HOW TO MEASURE FOR SIZING:
  • If you think your horse may be in between sizes or are just not sure, please check the following measurements:
    • Around the nose where the noseband sits (3 fingers below the cheekbones - see photos)
    • From one side of the noseband, up over the poll, to the other side of the noseband.
    Go to the size chart here to check your measurements

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 and materials.

Free email photo consultation to check the correct fit of the bridle on your horse
your photos (email reduced size please).


NEW - 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 bridle.

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.

The uses for the LightRider Bitless Nosebandare as endless as your imagination.

  • Add it to your show bridle for in-hand classes or lunge-line events (as shown below right on a western show bridle)
  • Attach to a driving bridle for harness (as shown below left)
  • Start young horses under saddle and in long reins without the bit
  • Swap it between various bridles for different sized horses (the sizes have a reasonably large overlap)
  • Can also be used to transition to bitless with the bit still in place. Just add a second set of reins to the Bitless Noseband chinstrap to use before resorting to the bit.


  • Starting from $49! Buy one from the store.
  • BITLESS NOSEBAND FANTASTIC
    Hello Cynthia, New Noseband arrived safely. It is FANTASTIC! Works brillantly.
    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)
    ."
  • To see how you can also use a bit with the Bitless Noseband for transition or abiding by rules, click here

"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 is.
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 have been!"

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.

Read more Feedback from LightRider bridle owners here


Why 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 your horse.

The LightRider 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.

This 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.

"I 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.


The 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 out.

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.

Conclusion: The 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


Frequently Asked Questions

Bitless Riding Info
- a resource listing clubs/organisations and instructors who accept bitless bridles along with updates on rule changes worldwide.



Here are some useful articles on Riding Bitless:

Bitless Bridles - What's the Difference?

How to Transition to a Bitless Bridle
+ Riding Bitless 'On the Bridle'

Disengagement is a Powerful Control

Why the LightRider Bitless Bridle is Better For Endurance

IS THE BIT REALLY SO CRUEL?

To Bit or Not To Bit - by by Janene Clemence
This article details the damage bits can cause to horses.

To Bit or Not To Bit by Dr Amanda Warren-Smith looks at Responses of young horses to bitted and bitless bridles during foundation training

Tradition and Status Quo or Science and Advance?

Here are some more Bitless Riding websites:

Horses prefer bitless bridles

Bitless Horse.com

Bitless Bridles and Bitless Dressage Explained

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The LightRider Bitless Bridle is the best thing for your horse - gives you control, and your horse comfort...to eat and drink and be led or ground schooled without removing the bridle.

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Disclaimer: 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 advice.

Contact:

Cynthia Cooper -
Natural Horse World

46 Wattle Lea Lane, Golden Valley. Tasmania, 7304. Australia.

Ph. 0419 372279

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