On October 31, 2008, during the annual conference of the Certified Horsemanship Association held at the Kentucky Horse Park, Dr. Robert Cook, a veterinary researcher, conducted a demonstration to assess performance of horses being ridden with bits and without bits.
The demonstration took the form of a scientific experiment in front of witnesses. Four volunteers, all of whom were CHA certified riding instructors, rode four horses that were offered by owners for the purpose. A four-minute, exercise test was first completed using a bitted bridle (jointed snaffle). Immediately afterwards, the same rider/horse partnership repeated the test using the Bitless Bridle. Prior to the demonstration, none of the horses had ever been ridden in a crossunder bitless bridle. The horses’ behavior and performance were evaluated and a videotape recording supplemented the ‘laboratory notebook.’
An independent judge scored the tests on a scale from one to ten, for each of the 27 phases of the test. The average score when bitted was 37% and, when bitless, 64%.
The results provide evidence of the need for rule change proposals to be submitted so that the crossunder bitless bridle is made available as an option for competition. In the past ten years, the crossunder bitless bridle has been thoroughly tested on horses of all types, temperaments and stages of schooling; by riders of all ages and ability; in nearly every discipline; and under diverse conditions, worldwide.
Members of pony clubs, national equine federations, the international equine federation (FEI), and administrators of racing are urged to submit the necessary rule change proposals. The Royal Dutch Equestrian Federation (KNHS) has led the way by approving the crossunder bitless bridle for dressage and for certain driving competitions. The South African National Equine Federation (SANEF) launches a year’s trial for separate bitless dressage competitions, starting in 2009.
Committee officials now have a chance;
A stroke of the pen will make horses dance.
For additional evidence visit www.bitlessbridle.com or contact Robert Cook FRCVS, PhD, Professor of Surgery Emeritus, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, Massachusetts, USA; Chairman, BitlessBridle Inc. Present address: 206 Birch Run Road, Chestertown, MD 21620 USA
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