World Bitless Association Asks FEI To Reconsider Bridle Rules

Credit : World Bitless Association

Wednesday 03 April - 00h49 | Lulu Kyriacou

World Bitless Association Asks FEI To Reconsider Bridle Rules

The World Bitless Association  (WBA)   has issued a statement asking the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) to reconsider the rules regarding riding horses without bits in competition.

In a statement published on the WBA's social media page, the association  call the FEI's attitude to the use of bitles bridles 'outdated'  and 'unfair'  and ask for the rules concerning them  to be reassessed in the interests of horse welfare.

​Bitless bridles of various sorts may be used in some disciplines but not all. Most commonly seen are shanked hackamore types or those using a snugly fitting leather  headpice like the cavesson, Micklem or cross-under  can also be used on occasion, mainly in jumping and reining disciplines.  But even in jumping there are rules precluding their use in certain phases, such as the cross country  section of eventing. In dressage they are not allowed at all.

​The FEI have been considering special sections for dressage and jumping for riders prefering to go bitless but  this is not sufficient for the WBA who want their memebers and supporters to  be able to compete in the normal classes.  However this is unlikely to ever happen in   dressage or eventing cross country.  The former because  the contact the horse takes with the reins via the bit is integral  to  the way dressage is judged. Bit less bridles have not been allowed on cross country counrses because often there is less directional contrao, when riding at speed in a bitless bridle, and also an incorrectly adjusted one might interfere  with the horse's ability  to breathe at maximum  exertion.

​There have been calls in the past to change these rules but so far they have not been acted upon but with more and more riders choosing bitless bridles in the interests of their horse's comfort, the FEI may well have to revise it's postion in the near future.

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