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Try Bit-FREE in 23!

If you lead with your headcollar - transition to a bit-free bridle is easier than you think!

The World Bitless Association has set a fun challenge for Bitted riders around the world to try riding Bit-FREE in 2023.
Riders are encouraged to share their experience with the positive reactions of their horse when they ride their horse bit-free .
Riders can enter a short video in a Free Prize Draw for a variety of prizes in November. (Rules Apply)

Enter in the Bit-Free in 23 Event on FACEBOOK  with the tag #bitfree23 Link here Bit-FREE in 23 Challenge!
World Bitless Association advocates horse friendly training applications, please reward your horse often when you are training new behaviours and remember to take little learning steps, to achieve final goals. Calm horses are listening horses that learn with optimum response.   A good benchmark to aim for is the LIMA principles of Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive, interaction between human and horse.  
We look forward to seeing your beautiful horses!
Benefits of Going Bit-Free
  • With a FREE mouth, a horse enjoys many welfare benefits as it is able to perform natural behaviors, like swallowing, breathing, tongue movement, eating, drinking and yawning.
  • A contented mouth leads to a calm and relaxed, tension-free, head and body, encouraging an extended gait, engagement and impulsion.
  • Mouths free of pressure or pain lead to the extinction of 69 or more unwanted behaviors such as bolting, bucking, rearing, head tossing, mouth chomping, etc.,
  • Bit-Free riding enables a harmonious rider/horse relationship creating a calmer, safer, more responsive and willing partner.
Are there any health and safety reasons why riders should not try bit-free riding?
  • Since 2000 and the inception of a burgeoning bit-free movement by recreational riders, no such reasons have been reported.
  • There is ZERO scientific evidence to support the use of a bit and a mountain of peer-reviewed evidence why a bit should not be used.
  • The only reason for using a bit is that rules for some equestrian sports currently mandate its use or consider bit usage standard practice.
  • The FEI has initiated a review of such rules in 2023. 
Help on how to transition to a Bitless Bridle a free download! –
Do you need additional help, support or advice?  Contact us directly by message on social media or by email  For WORLDWIDE links to Trainers, Bitless Buddies & Bitless experts for one-on-one help!  We are here to help you and your horse x
Resources including Peer reviewedStudies, Research papers and Links to WBA affiliated trainers
1. The effect of bit-induced pain in the horse on the feelings of riders about riding (2022)
2. What is a social licence to operate?
3. Social Licence to Operate: What Can Equestrian Sports Learn from Other Industries?
Janet Douglas et al. Animals (Basel). 2022.
5. Equine Discomfort Ethogram
Catherine Torcivia and Sue McDonnell
6. Development of the Horse Grimace Scale (HGS) as a pain assessment tool in horses undergoing routine castration
Emanuela Dalla Costa, Michela Minero, Dirk Lebelt, Diana Stucke, Elisabetta Canali, Matthew C Leach
PLoS one 9 (3), e92281, 2014
7. Equine welfare during exercise: An evaluation of breathing, breathlessness and bridles
DJ Mellor, NJ Beausoleil – Animals, 2017
8.Mouth pain in horses: Physiological foundations, behavioural indices, welfare implications, and a suggested solution
DJ Mellor – Animals, 2020
9. The effect of noseband tightening on horses’ behavior, eye temperature, and cardiac responses
K Fenner, S Yoon, P White, M Starling, P McGreevy – PLoS One, 2016
12. IAABC Statement on LIMA
13. International WBA Representatives
14.The psychology of learning, clicker training and bitless riding


The World Bitless Association cannot be held responsible for any information that might be incorrect on its website.
The World Bitless Association does not take liability for potential damage that may occur as a consequence of incorrect or incomplete information on this website or as a consequence of incorrect translation.
It is very important that you seek professional assistance when you have no or little experience handling, riding or training horses or are having issues with your horse.
Working with and around horses can be a dangerous activity, which could result in serious injury or death. Because of the unpredictable nature of horses due to their previous training and experiences the World Bitless Association will not assume any liability for your activities related to information contained within the website.  Personal instruction may be more suitable for some individuals​​.

It is highly recommended that you:

  • ​Be sure that you are in​ good physical condition​ and fit to ride​
  • Wear appropriate attire including an approved riding helmet and appropriate riding boots
  • Attempt all riding in the first instance in a controlled environment where your horse is contented to work with you, your horse should be physically sound, calm and responsive to the cues from the ground and in the saddle.
  • Ride with supervision or a friend for the initial transition sessions – Do not take unnecessary risks when you trial any new tack for the first few sessions.
  • Please consult one of the World Bitless Association affiliated trainers if you are ​aware of​ behavioural or conflict behaviours with your horse
  • As information on this website is not specifically tailored to the needs of individuals, persons using it, or acting in reliance upon it, do so at their own risk
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