Event rider Julian Trevor-Roper was recently spotted show jumping at Great Witchingham Horse Trials using what looked like a noseband with reins attached to it.
What is this bridle?
IT is a Western product used for training young horses before they have a bit in their mouth. It is known as a Side Pull, and the version used by Julian is made by American company Weaver.
How does it work?
THE Side Pull works by teaching horses to turn and stop using pressure on the nose, so that when a bit is introduced they are already responsive to the rider’s aids. It comprises a piece of rope that fits around the nose, with two rings either side where the reins attach.
Why opt to go ‘bitless’?
JULIAN has actually been using this product for some time — he discovered it 15 years ago.
“It’s so useful, I bought several and gave them to other riders to try,” he says.
“Some horses don’t accept the bit well, for various reasons — and this seems to offer a good alternative. The horse pictured is very strong and shortens his neck when ridden in a stronger bit. With the Side Pull, he cannot shorten and is more easily controlled.
“I’ve used it on different horses and have competed across country using it as well. I prefer it to other combination bits because when you don’t need to apply pressure, the nosepiece hangs loose like a headcollar. It’s also perfect for horses that don’t lead well or for difficult loaders,” adds Julian.
How do I get one?
WEAVER Side Pulls cost around £48 and are available through Arizona’s Western Tack Store Tel: 01672 851570 www.arizonas.co.uk
This Q&A was first published in Horse & Hound (24 May, ’07)