The organisers of the first “world bitless horse day” hope to raise awareness and “give all riders the opportunity to think about going bitless”.
The World Bitless Association (WBA), which was formed last November, says it hopes events, including trail rides, competitions and demonstrations, will be held across the world on 7 September.
Charity trustee Johanna Richardson, who also sits on the WBA board of directors, told H&H the organisation aims to “help facilitate and promote more humane methods of horse training and to promote equality in competition for modern bitless bridles”.
“We hope the day will allow bitless riders to network, and also for bitted riders who might want to explore going bitless, or who want to switch,” she said.
“All sorts of things will be happening. No one’s registered yet as registration hasn’t opened but it’s going to be global; we’ve had interest from Brazil.”
Ms Richardson said the organisation will provide support packs and relevant advice, for individuals, organisations or event organisers who want to run events or training.
She added that the main aims of the WBA are to represent bitless riders and raise awareness of welfare in riding and training.
“It’s not just saying ‘remove the bit and put a bitless bridle on’, it’s about the whole way horses are ridden, and how all of us can improve in everything we do,” she said. “Everyone can make changes and bitted or bitless, we represent everyone on that angle.”
The final WBA aim is to “fight for rule changes” to allow riders to compete bitless and “on a level playing field” with those who use bits in all disciplines.
But Ms Richardson stressed that the charity is not anti-bitting.
“We’re not against them; we just want to bring about opportunities for personal choice,” she said. “It depends on what the rider needs from the horse and how the horse reacts to the bridle it’s in.
“It all comes down to quality of riding; an independent seat and hands. We’re not anti bits, we’re pro choice.”
Anyone interested in taking part in events on the world bitless day can contact the WBA on its website.
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