I started riding him again this past spring. It's been glorious. But I wondered if he'd be happier without a bit. I mostly ride him around on the buckle anyway. No need to ask my handicapped horse to collect and go on the bit. I'm not a slave driver!
I decided to try him in the hackamore that I already own. He hated it. He hated that it had sheepskin on it (he's terrified of sheepskin, it's very strange). He hated how it sat under his chin. He just hated it all over. Sorry buddy.
One day I saw a photo over on the 900 Facebook Pony of Henry going in a sidepull. And I thought that might be something Rio could like maybe... I also remembered that we had a horse at school that wore a bitless bridle which was much different than a hackamore. So I started searching both things on Ebay to see what I could find. I decided I might want a little more control than it appears the side pull would give. But most of the bitless bridles crossed under the chin in a way I knew Rio would hate. (I know my boy really well.) And then I saw the Pegasus bridle. It looked so much like my favorite Joseph Sterling Bridle, but it was bitless! Could it be?! Oh it could my friends.
Meet the Liberty Bridle, Pegasus model everyone:
I opted for the Pegasus Pelham model which has the figure eight and the cheeks look like a pelham. The other Pegasus option has a kimberwick style cheek. You may also choose to have a dressage bridle with either of the cheeks. They are all the same price of $199. The pelham comes with two sets of reins which I thought was pretty great.
I fiddled around with the bridle for awhile trying to get the correct fit. And I rode in it a few times before figuring out exactly how Rio and I both like it. I wound up making a few modifications. I bought some rubber covered hooks for the curb chain because Rio kept shaking it undone (due to the flies). I also added a bit converter so I could use just one rein. When I tried just removing the curb rein, the bridle didn't function properly. But it's perfect with the converters. Now that I've told you of my changes I made, I can show you some better photos. (They were taken after I made the alterations.) Also note, I haven't had a chance to hot oil this guy yet. I think the leather will be a lot more supple once I get that done.
|That hole up there was one I added trying to fit Rio. He's awkward. You won't see any holes up above the browband normally|
I'm really happy with the Pegasus Bridle. Rio seems much happier without a bit, and so far I feel like I have an appropriate amount of control. The quality is decent. It's not the softest most sturdy leather bridle I own, but it will surely do the job. I like the fancy stitching and the comfortable design of the crown. I think the cost is pretty on point for the product. I wouldn't pay that price for this if it were just a normal bridle, but with the modifications to make it bitless, I do think it's worth the cost.
What do you think? Have you ridden bitless? If you want more information or to get one for your horse, head over to the Liberty Bridle site and check them out here!