Dressage has been around for centuries, and the way we ride horses has changed but not a whole lot. One of the newer movements in the equestrian community including the dressage community is bitless riding. But what is bitless dressage? How does it work? And why are people choosing to do it? In this blog post, we will answer all of those questions and more!

Growing movement
Bitless dressage is a growing movement in the equestrian community, and it is becoming more popular by the day. Bitless riding is exactly what it sounds like: riding your horse without a bit in their mouth. This can be done in any discipline, from dressage to show jumping. Some people choose to ride bitless because they believe that it is more humane for the horse, while others do it for other reasons such as improved communication.

So, how does bitless dressage work? The answer to that question depends on the individual horse and rider. Some people use a sidepull, which is a type of bitless bridle whilst others prefer to use an under-cross bitless bridle of hackamore bridle. The key is to find what works best for both the horse and the rider.

One of the benefits of bitless dressage is that it can help to improve communication between the horse and rider. When riding a horse a horse should be ridden with the body language of the rider. We often compensate for this by using the reins more than we should. By doing this with a horse with a bit in their mouth, they can become resistant. This can lead to tension in the horse's body which is something we do not want when practising dressage.

With bitless riding, we can eliminate this issue and help the horse to understand what we are asking of them with our body language alone. This can be a huge benefit in the show ring.


Another benefit of bitless dressage is that it can be more humane for the horse. When a horse has a bit in their mouth, they can sometimes become resistant to it and start to fight against the bit. This can lead to pain in the horse's mouth and even damage to their teeth, tongue or even their palate.

Bitless riding eliminates this issue and allows the horse to relax and move more freely. This can be especially beneficial for horses who are sensitive to the bit.

So, is bitless dressage right for you? That depends on your individual horse and riding style. If you are interested in trying it out, we recommend giving it a try!

april 03, 2022 — Marthe Mouthaan

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