This section is where we will present news items for those who would like to hear about recent developments. Vistors are invited to submit items of news relevant to The Bitless Bridle for possible inclusion by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org
October, 16, 2013 BITLESS DRESSAGE INTEGRATED! “Good news published on 10/11/2013” and followed by another item “Confirmation published by the KNHS on 10/16/2013. READ MORE
October 15 2013 WRITE FOR YOUR RIGHT TO RIDE BIT-AND- PAIN FREE Facebook campaign launched!
In 2008, after the crossunder bitless bridle had been thoroughly field-tested and convincingly validated for a decade, Michelle Guillot filed a rule change with the USEF seeking its approval for dressage. In 2009, the proposal was ’tabled’ by the Dressage Technical Committee. In other words, no decision was made. On September 23, 2013, I wrote to the co-chairs of the committee and my letter, appended below, describes the history of the proposal and its stagnation. To date, I have received no response.
But the rule change is still ‘on the table.’ If you feel, as I do, that a century-old rule requiring one or more obligatory bits for dressage is obsolete and needs updating in the light of new knowledge, please write to the co-chairs of the committee; Jayne Ayers at email@example.com and Lisa Goretta at firstname.lastname@example.org. Post copies of your letters on Facebook as an example to others.
As USEF rules are followed by the U.S. Pony Club, 4H and many other organizations, this particular rule has a baleful influence on the whole of U.S. horsemanship. Whether or not you are a member of the USEF, your right to compete with a pain-free hand signal is blocked. This degrades the welfare, safety and performance of all competing riders and their horses. A painful hand signal is inhumane, unethical and unwise. Bit-induced accidents are avoidable. Much suffering, wastage and unhappiness will be prevented and the image of the sport improved if the crossunder bitless bridle is approved.
The Dressage Technical Committee has had ample evidence at their fingertips for four years. The time has come to apply new millennium science to a Bronze Age signal. Let’s make horse history. Read More....
September 2013 On September 21, 2013 Dr. Cook was [officially] inducted into the Faculty Hall of Fame of the Tufts University, Veterinary Alumni Association. To read a short bio that Dr. Cook was asked to provide for the occasion. Click here (PDF format)
Dr. Cook recently attended the 2013 Annual Conference of the International Society of Equitation Science held at the University of Delaware in July. He read his paper entitled, “A Method for Measuring Bit-induced Pain and Distress in the Ridden Horse” based on data from 56 behavioral profile questionnaires that riders completed between 2002 and 2008 as they switched from bit to bitless.
The number of unwanted behaviors in each horse when bitted ranged from 5 to 60 with a median of 32. The number when bitless ranged from zero to 16 with a median of 2. Not less than 94% of the unwanted behaviors were caused by the bit. The paper is believed to be the first time in 5000 years that the bit has been subjected to a numerical evaluation.
Read the full text and discussion of the paper in our ARTICLES section.
Arobridge-Equine First - New Zealand Presents: 2 Day Dressage Clinic: Bridle to Bitless to Bridleless, Click here for dates and details.
Memorable first FEI event for Georgina: Georgina McKewan tackled her first FEI one star event, with her two home-bred horses, Del Pierro and Dimmatta. Click here: FEI Event
The first harness horse to race in Dr. Cook's BitlessBridle with bit bypass straps placed second at Bollnas Racetrack in Sweden on 11th September, 2011. Fritiof Piraten, a 3-year-old colt, was trained by Susanne Richter for owner, Stall Bjornberget and driven by Kajsa Frick. After trailing the field, the horse produced an astonishing burst of speed in the last 400 meters. He finished in 1 minute 14.7 seconds to win prize money of 50,000 SEK (about $7,700 US).
In standard equipment, this horse is a hard puller and frequently bleeds from the mouth during work. Because of a couple of false starts in a race three weeks previously, the horse had incurred a lacerated tongue that prevented further training in a standard bridle. At this stage, Susanne Richter was introduced to the Harness Horse BitlessBridle by fellow trainer, Kerstin Keml'n, a recently appointed Bitless Bridle Associate Clinician for BitlessBridle Inc. USA.
Keml'n has taken a special interest in harness horse problems and solutions for 40 years. For the last two years, she has worked with Dr. Cook to develop a crossunder bitless bridle for the harness horse and test the bit bypass straps. During 2010, she trained several horses in the Harness Horse BitlessBridle at Boden racetrack. She is currently translating Dr. Cook's 2003 book, "Metal in the Mouth" into Swedish. .
July 2011 Congratulations to Cathie Hatrick Anderson!
Are you one of the many riders who would like to compete bitless but cannot because of FEI, national federation or Pony Club rules that mandate one or more bits? Here is a way in which you can signal your protest. Click here for more.
Dressage riders who would like to compete bitless can now do so if they are able to travel to Holland. The Royal Dutch Equestrian Federation (KNHS) have approved a rule that allows riders to compete bitless for the next three years. If this trial period is a success, there is a good chance that the rule will be made permanent and serve as an example to other federations, including the USEF. A Dutch rider has already competed three times bitless and gained promotional scores. So if you have bitless friends in Holland, please encourage them to take advantage of this opportunity. With the help of our contact person in Holland, USA riders could obtain a permit to compete in a KNHS competition. Write to Dr. Cook at email@example.com and give him the dates of your visit, location and dressage level.
"The warming-up ring is now referred to, I see, as the training arena. Perhaps it has always had this designation. Silly me. I had assumed that horses were already trained when they arrived and only needed to be warmed-up, a process for which 15-30 minutes is surely adequate. But if they still have to be trained, no wonder that such prolonged and draconian "techniques" are to be employed at the ninth hour.
To name the warming-up ring as the training arena seems to exemplify the short-cut training philosophy apparently being condoned by the present-incumbent-administrators-of-the-FEI (PIAFEI ... pronounced "piaffy"). Never mind! If one hour of training is not sufficient, the PIAFEI have thoughtfully made provision for this to be doubled or even tripled. Three hours should do it. Away with the need for those boring years of preparation."
Read the entire article by clicking here.
10th ANNIVERSARY OF THE IRON-FREE HORSE
In the year 2000, the horse industry first became aware of two welfare advances. Both freed the horse from metal accessories, bits and shoes. Since then, many thousands of equestrians, worldwide, have carried out what can be regarded as a natural experiment. Each horse has acted as its own control. The 'de-metalling' experiments have confirmed that the crossunder bitless bridle provides a painless and safer alternative to the bit and that barefoot management vastly improves the horse's quality of life. The removal of these metal artifacts has revealed that they are the cause of many accidents and diseases.
Dr. Cook was interviewed by John Bonner for Veterinary Practice magazine. The article is available in our Articles section, or by clicking here.
If you would like to sign the petition, cllick here.
Nancy Hohmann sent us this story of the success they have had with the Bitless Bridle at their therapeutic riding center. An exciting update to the story is that Nancy has been named Therapeutic Riding Instructor of the Year by the NAHRA, and ALL of their horses are now using Dr. Cook's Bitless Bridle. Click here to read the article in PDF format.
Sharon Small writes about her own experience switching to The Bitless Bridle. Click here for the story.
Endurance Competition in Kuwait
The Bitless Bridle comes to an endurance competition in Kuwait and fares rather nicely. Click here for the story and photos.