Here are photos of Pie (top) and Sovereign (bottom) in their bitless bridles. Sadly, these shots don't show their pretty heads that well, but you can see the bitless bridles and their adorable bitless lips! (smiling)
Another blogger, Sydney over at her fabulous blog, Bitless horse: Science VS. tradition asked me about my own "bit to bitless" journey.
My family has had horses on our farm since 1957. Here is a photo of my mom jumping on an outside course in a show. At that time, bits were fairly severe.
When I was born in 1967, my first pony, the sweetie pie, Dimples, was outfitted in a tiny bridle with a snaffle bit. I started lessons proper in 6th grade and most of the school horses I rode had
D-ring snaffles. Thankfully, many stables today are starting students in bitless bridles. In a bitless bridle, beginning riders can learn to use their seat and hands independently without damaging the mouth of the school horse. As I advanced through the school program I graduated to riding George, the stallion. He had a Pelham bit with two sets of reins, one to the snaffle and one to the curb. I believe I have soft hands, but I still shudder to think back on poor George, with all that metal in and around his mouth.
In 1980, my mom and dad bought me my amazing mare, Penny Lane. I showed her in a snaffle, but she was known to wear a twisted wire and even a Pelham when hunted because she could get strong. She never refused a fence for me and was a light-hearted show pony, but she had a tendency to go heavy on her forehand and would trip, stumble and even fall. Because of this unsafe situation, I started taking dressage lessons with her when I was in 8th grade. It was then that I realized how little my hands had to do with the entire riding experience. As I sat deeper and rode with my seat and legs, my smart little mare pulled herself up and balanced evenly. No more tripping, no more racing. My 8th grade brain wondered if I needed the bridle at all!