Vibrational Medicine

As I scour the internet for new information on how to help the horse, I stumble across an article about vibrational medicine. I wanted to research this a bit further and discovered (ok, I already knew) that our world is pure vibration. Much like solids aren’t really solids but a bunch of atoms smashed together to create, what looks like a solid object. This is hard for me to comprehend; however, I know that negative emotions are a low vibrational energy that has the ability to manifest disease within our bodies. Horses are no different! In the course of my information fumble, I find confirmation to Dr. Bradley Nelson’s book The Emotion Code. There is also information in the book Secrets of the Lost Mode of Prayer by Gregg Braden about how hurts can kill. James Blumenthal at Duke University recognizes that negative emotions have the power to cause physical problems and disease, and Neurologist Robert Scaer speculates that existing emotional issues are responsible for physical pain, when there is no definite cause, may be embedded because of earlier trauma.  In The Emotion Code, Dr. Bradley Nelson explains how we can release trapped negative emotions, we can also use this method on horses too. This caught my eye today “Since the emotional and physical bodies of animals are so unified, this fear can suddenly manifest as disease.” ~Sage Holloway~ from her book “Animal Healing and Vibrational Medicine. Yes, I purchased the book, it should be here on Friday. 

Earthing is a new term scientists are using as reference to being barefoot outside, of course I thought of the horse and the metal shoes nailed to the bottom of the hoof in order to protect it. Stephen E. O’Grady, DVM, MRCVS states, “It has been discovered that the horse has receptors in the bottom of its foot and it is speculated that these receptors function in a stimulatory capacity. So the first thing that happens when shoes are applied is that these receptors lose contact with the ground” (2007). When horses turn two years old, we begin to train (or the old term break) a horse. The hoof capsule construction is still undeveloped. The hoof is a flexible structure that becomes immovable with the application metal shoes. Of course, there are exceptions, and some horses require to wear metal shoes to alleviate pain.

The receptors of the hoof simulate the barefoot human reconnecting with the electrons of the Earth. The earth’s electrons promote fascinating physiological changes of well-being. To date, there have been 21 published articles of the benefits of going barefoot, I believe this to be true of the horse also. Granted, I am not talking about the exceptions noted in the previous paragraph. Published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health, by Chevalier, Sinatra, Oschman, Sokal & Sokal states, “It is an established, though not widely appreciated fact, that the Earth’s surface possesses a limitless and continuously renewed supply of free or mobile electrons.” “Mounting evidence suggests that the Earth’s negative potential can create a stable internal bioelectrical environment for the normal functioning of all body systems” (2012).

There are abundant integrative therapies that help to maintain the body and alleviate the stressors that cause dysfunction and disease. The horse is an extremely sensitive animal and again; no different.

Emotional causes of stress for the horse:

  • changes in the environment
  • loss of a herd member – either to death or sold
  • being alone
  • seasonal changes
  • loading and riding in a trailer
  • preparing and going to shows
  • a stressed handler or rider
  • stall rest due to an injury

These changes, which seem minute, can initiate hidden fears from unresolved past issues. Mental anxiety, or fear, is stored within the muscles; particularly at the pole, neck and shoulders, which is the same for humans. However, when tension is accumulated in  the muscles of the horse, there is no way to release that tension without the aid of a human; through muscle manipulation, or releasing the trapped negative emotion. The body utilizes emotional issues and manifests them in to physical symptoms. It is scientific fact that emotion changes the DNA inside the body.

The amygdala, a roughly almond-shaped mass of gray matter inside each cerebral hemisphere, involved with the experiencing of emotions, and the limbic system, a complex system of nerves and networks in the brain, involving several areas near the edge of the cortex concerned with instinct and mood, controls the basic emotions (fear, pleasure, anger) and drives (hunger, sex, dominance, care of offspring) hold the association of not feeling safe with a past unpleasant event. This is exactly what happens with horses that have abused, ignorantly and arrogantly trained, as well as a host of other unpleasant events. The horse has the largest amygdala of all domestic animals.

I love this analogy…Can’t Hurt, Might Help. Whether you agree with alternative therapies or not, they do not impose any harm to the animal; I have personally seen tremendous, phenomenal  results with The Emotion Code. Science is finally catching up with quantum physics. It is fact that the body is an electric and a magnetic field and emotions regulate the electrical and magnetic fields. Studies have shown that horses do have and experience emotions. The Emotion Code works in such a way similar to that of the magnetic strip on the back of a credit or debit card. It erases all the information of the past negative emotion once the trapped emotion is found using a magnet along the Governing Meridian.

I personally believe it can correct many undesirable vices such as weaving and cribbing, but that has not been proven…yet!



Chevalier, C., Sinatra, S.T., Oschman, J.L., Sokal, K., & Sokal, P. (2102, January 12). Earthing: Health Implication of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Electrons. Journal of Environmental and Public Health. doi: 10.1155/2012/291541.

Holloway, S. (2001). Animal Healing and Vibrational Medicine. Blue Dolphin Publishing, Inc. Nevada City, CA.

Namka, L., (2011) The Five Element Meridian Release Technique. Retrieved from

O’Grady, S.E. DVM, MRCVS, (2007, June 18). Barefoot vs. Shod: An Equine Podiatrist’s Perspective. The Horse. Retrieved from




Equine Massage

Massage is one of the oldest forms of therapy and were practiced by the ancient Chinese, the ancient Romans, and recently noted by the Hopi Indians in the western region of the United States. Recent advances in alternative therapies allowed us to use these techniques on the human’s companion, the horse. The performance horse works hard to achieve top results; emphasis on nutrition, training and prevention aid them to reach their maximum potential; to perform at the highest level. Unfortunately, high performance results in high injury rate, more pain and premature retirement for the worn out animal.

Sports massage therapy plays a vital role in maintaining muscle suppleness, preventing injury, as well as quicker recovery time should an injury occur. Massage is a manipulation physiotherapy of the tissues within the body; muscles, fascia, ligaments and tendons are considered soft tissue.  Horses, like their human counterpart, benefit greatly from massage therapy. When practiced on a regular basis, massage aides in the alleviation of muscle soreness, improves athletic performance, and assists in restoration of full range of motion.

When muscles are worked, built up and made stronger, the creation of many small tears occur within the muscle fibers. The muscle will repair itself with scar tissue, which needs to be broken up to all flexibility to be restored. Massage helps the connective tissue to be more pliable, and increase blood flow, as well as the intercellular fluids, in order for the cells to do their job.  This prevents compensation to other parts of the body, therefore will aid in the prevention of injury.

Muscles connect to two or more bones, cross over one or more joints attached by tendons. Muscles are intended to carry 90% of the workload and tendons the other 10%; however, if the muscles are not working properly, the tendons will carry more of the load. Tension in the muscles can lead to injuries to the tendons.

“Equine massage therapy is a very powerful tool in injury prevention for horses.” ~Chrissy Harley, CEMT

Always remember that massage and other modalities are never a replacement for veterinary care.

Emotions, Stress, Vices and “The Emotion Code”

Have you ever had this gut feeling that turned out to be true? My gut tells me “The Emotion Code” can assist the equine to release trapped negative emotions and stop the undesirable vice.

Horses have emotions! Horses stress and act out their internal, emotional, stress through vices, such as weaving, cribbing, stall walking, etc. Chronic stress will eventually lead to health problems, and behavior problems. Chronic stress has the capability to cause reproductive problems, muscle tension, heart disease, colic, kidney disease, muscle damage, even death. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), each meridian is associated with an emotion. For instance, fear is associated with the kidneys or the bladder. It can become housed within the kidney or bladder causing havoc.

Let me explain; there is a growing amount of evidence that suggests our emotions lead to the failure of the body:

“Specifically, it is the unresolved emotions – our hurts – that have the power to create the physical conditions that we recognize as cardiovascular disease; tension, inflammation, high blood pressure, and clogged arteries. This mind-body relationship was documented recently in a landmark study at Duke University directed by James Blumenthal. He identified long-term experiences of fear, frustration, anxiety, and disappointment as examples of the kind of heightened negative emotions that are destructive to the heart and put us at risk. Each is part of a broader umbrella that we commonly identify as ‘hurt.’

“Therapist Tim Laurence, founder of the Hoffman Institute in England, describes the potential impact of our failure to heal and forgive what he calls ‘old hurts and disappointments.” (Braden, 2006)

The Vagus Nerve (Cranial Nerve ten or CN X) is one of the largest nerve systems in the body.

The vagus nerve sends updated sensory information about each organ within the body to the brain. Approximately 85% of the nerve fibers of the vagus nerve communicate the condition of the viscera to the brain. Gut feelings are emotional intuitions transmitted to the brain through the vagus nerve and have been linked to changing mood, unique types of anxiety and fear. Likewise, the messages from the brain travel downward via the vagus nerve to the organs with the body.

The vagus nerve is the command center for the operation of the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the same system of the horse when a bodyworker is able to get your horse relaxed and release tension within the muscular system.

The vagus nerve stimulation starts at the base of the brain and travels to 1. the pharynx, 2. left lung, 3. right lung, 4. heart, 5. stomach, 6. liver, 7. spleen, 8. pancreas, 9. right kidney, 10. small intestine, 11. large intestine. It is my belief that every emotion has direct contact with the vagus nerve and is associated with almost every major organ system in the body. We all know that stress is a major health concern. The energy of the emotions have the power to cause havoc within the organs.

Stress raises the body’s level of epinephrine and norepinephrine. The epinephrine and norepinephrine accelerate the sympathetic nervous system to over-ride the parasympathetic nervous system. When your horse’s stress level rises, the sympathetic nervous system kicks in and releases epinephrine and norepinephrine; the vice (weaving, stall walking, cribbing, etc.) releases endorphins, which lower the stress level and allows the parasympathetic nervous system to take over again.

The vagus nerve has a duel directional communication between the periphery and central nervous system, and is said to be an intricate part of a feedback system. The vagus nerve serves as a governing task in the communication of emotions because feedback from the heart to the brain via the vagus is independent of the spinal cord.

Because the horse has an impeccable memory, second only to the elephant,  traumatic events can stay within the physical body and become trapped, another more familiar term  is ’emotional baggage.’ Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D. explains, “Long after a traumatic experience is over, it may be reactivated at the slightest hint of danger and mobilize disturbed brain circuits and secrete massive amounts of stress hormones.”

Trapped emotions cause interference with healthy functions of the body’s organ systems and tissues, causing pain, fatigue, illness, and undesirable vices. The invisible energy of the trapped emotions continue to go undiagnosed by conventional medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and other ancient modalities of healing believe that disease (dis-ease) is initiated by the imbalance within the body. Trapped emotions are the most common imbalance sentient beings suffer from. Because the emotional energy is invisible, emotions cause a wide variety of physical problems without being revealed.  Everything the horse has ever experienced, good or bad, is recorded in the subconscious mind.

Each trapped emotion is separate and exists in a particular area of the body, vibrating at its individual frequency. After a while, the surrounding tissue begin to vibrate at the same frequency (phenomenon resonance). Perfect example of this is when an agitated person infects a roomful of people, or walked into a room after an argument; this invisible energy effect is incredibly powerful.

After releasing the emotion, what happens to it? When a magnet is run along the Governing Vessel Meridian, an opposing energy is created in the shape of magnified intention, consequently, the trapped emotion gets voided, it dissipates and disappears. Think of the releasing the trapped emotion like the magnetic strip of a credit card encoded with information. When a magnet comes in contact with the magnetic strip, all pertinent information disappears and renders the card useless.

The release of trapped emotions will generate a rapid, remarkable result; however, much of the effects are subtle, yet they produce a sense of contentment and peace.

The Emotion Code should never replace veterinary care, but used as an adjunctive therapy. This type of therapy can never interfere with other equine modalities, including but not limited to Craniosacral therapy, chiropractic therapy, tension release therapy, and massage therapy.

“Animals can communicate quite well, and they do. And generally speaking, they are ignored.” ~Alice Walker~

“If the trials of your life seem overwhelming to you, remember that God has a purpose for you and that you are loved.” ~Dr. Bradley Nelson~


Nelson, B. (2007). The Emotion Code. Mesquite, NV: Wellness Unmasked Publishing

Sircus, M. (2014, December 4). Function of the Vagus Nerve. Retrieved from

Van Der Kolk, B. (2015). The Body Keeps The Score. [Kindle Edition]: New York, NY. Penguin Random House LLC.



The Equine Emotion

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines emotion as a conscious mental reaction (such as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavior changes in the body.

Google defines emotion as a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood or relationships with others.

Dictionary .com defines emotion as an effective state of consciousness in which joy, sorrow, hate, fear, etc. is experienced as distinguished from cognitive and volitional states of consciousness.

So…how do you define emotions. What are they? What is the difference between “feelings” and “emotions?” According to Marc Bekoff, “…emotions are psychological phenomena that emote us, that make us move. A distinction is often made between ’emotional responses’ to physical reactions and ‘feelings’ that arise from thoughts.” Feelings are the psychological phenomena that happens in the brain. Feelings communicate as different moods and help to shape our relationships with others in difference social situations.

We as humans must understand that animals have emotions. Mounting scientific evidence, as well as animal emotion stories are increasing in frequency. There have been stories published in scientific journals; such as Science, Nature, Psychology Today, and Trends in Ecology, and there is still doubt within the scientific community.

“The more people understand that animals, especially group-living mammals with complex brains, have rich emotional lives and, above all, are capable of suffering-mentally as well as physically-the sooner we may succeed in changing the inappropriate ways in which so many millions animals are treated.” Jane Goodall.

The emotions of a horse, much like human emotions is located in the limbic system, often classified as a ‘cerebral structure.’ It is the area of the brain that is strongly related to feeling of emotions, and sustains many bodily operations, which include long-term memory, olfaction, adrenaline flow, behaviors and motivation. The equine limbic system is essential to the survival of the horse. The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) signals the ‘fight-or-flight response when danger is present, and when it is safe to rest. Social animals attune to each other for reassurance and comfort, which is why it is essential for horses to feel a sense of belonging within a herd.

Lets talk about emotions; has it been proven that animals have emotions? Leading animal scientists believe they do. We see that they mourn when an offspring or pasture mate is sold or dies. Cows  bellow when separated from their young. Positive emotions open and invite the world in; the body is relaxed. However; in contrast, negative emotions cause a tight, contractual feeling and everything shuts down and turns inward. In horse training, positivity  invite unity, negativity invites isolation.

The emotional stress of weaning, training, and competing, also called human interaction or interference allows for the negative emotions to become trapped. In the wild, If a mare is pregnant she will wean her foal around 10 months of age to allow for the production of colostrum for the new foal. If the mare is not pregnant, the mare will nurse the foal for nearly two years. A far cry from the 5 months the human allows for mares to nurse their foals;  pure human convenience, and the cause of stressful situations.

Now, what happens when you purchase a horse with a lifetime of negative interactions. That horse is sure to have trapped emotions. How then can we humans release those trapped emotions and create a happy, healthy horse? First step…acknowledge that trapped emotions are possible, second…be open minded!

For more information about releasing trapped emotions in your horse, contact Carolyn Wright at 919-200-8796, please leave a message with your name and phone number.

Equine Back Pain

Detection of equine back pain is difficult. It seems as though when humans become aware of any pain in the equine partner is when the horse presents immobility or lameness. If humans would only pay attention!

According to Joyce Harman, DVM, “The most common symptom of back problems is behavior problems.” (emphasis mine). Does your horse move about or sidestep when you mount? Does he reach around to snap at you, pin his ears back? Does he refuse to get his haunches under him for that great spin? Does he refuse to back up? News flash…your horse isn’t  being cranky or difficult because he is having a bad day; your horse is trying to tell you something!!! Listen up…his back could be hurting. A sore back is very common and very difficult to diagnose. The back is extremely complex, consisting of 23-24 thoracic and lumbar vertebrae stemming from the withers to the tail head. The spinal cord runs through the vertebrae; muscles and ligaments hold vertebrae together; the muscles are anchored around the joints and connects the spinal column to the appendages (Craft, Equus Magazine).

Behavior Indicative of Back Pain

  • evading contact
  • pinning the ears or biting as he is being saddled
  • sinking, bucking or rearing when being mounted
  • is difficult to catch
  • develops infuriating habits while under saddle
  • does not want to back up
  • often prefers one direction over another
  • unwilling to fully engage the hind quarters
  • is tense, unable to concentrate
  • is less responsive to cues and aids as the riding session proceeds
  • a roping horse may stop too soon or too late to avoid the jarring of the saddle
  • a reining horse may not “sit down” in is slides because rounding the back is painful
  • a jumper may jump in a rush, with a hollowed back or refuse a jump all together
  • a trail horse may rush the hills or go downhill sideways to avoid the pain

If your horse exhibits any of these behavior problems, pay attention to his performance. When is the pain being triggered? Paying attention to a pattern; the problems can alert you to the possible physical pain factor.

Possible Causes of Equine Back Pain

The most obvious is saddle fit and it doesn’t matter how much you paid for the saddle, if it causes pain it isn’t worth a hill of beans. The saddle sits on the 12 Association Points along the Bladder Meridian, which are connected directly to the horse’s 12 internal organs. One thing to remember, using a thicker saddle pad will not fix the problem. Do you put on a thicker pair of socks if your shoes are too tight?

Getting ready for show, working in sand before entering competition season. Working hills; although hill work will strengthening the back, introduce it gradually. Work on slight inclines at first, then graduate to increasing the challenges. I would not suggest working hills to reduce back pain. You cannot train pain!

Soreness in the limbs, which causes the horse to compensate the stress, will create back pain. Pain in the hocks and stifles are most frequently connected to back pain. If the hocks or stifles are ignored then the back muscles become more painful and tense. Alterations in the stride due to forelimb soreness may cause tightness in the shoulder and back muscles. Incorrectly trimmed hooves, low heels and/or long toes, on the back feet tends to alter the movement pattern, overstressing the muscles of the back.

The inappropriate bit, or heavy, insensitive hands, as well as dental problems, also can create secondary back soreness. Trying to escape pain, the horse will elevate his head and hollow the back, which tenses the entire spinal column.

Treatment for Equine Back Pain

The treatments consist of corrections. Find an expert saddle fitter, correct contributing hoof problems by consulting with your veterinarian and farrier. Ride considerately, be mindful of your horse’s well-being. Increase turnout time, inactivity can cause stiff muscles and discomfort; also, turnout keeps the horse mentally stable and content. Your horse contributes to his healthy back by grazing, swatting and biting flies. A horse that is content is less likely to be tense and have back problems.

Medications can be prescribed to control the pain, but I do not recommend them long-term. Regular visits by your acupuncturist/acupressurist, massage therapist, as well as chiropractic adjustments; however, a chiropractic adjustment should never be violent and has the best results after tensions release therapies.

In the case of “kissing spines,” which is caused when there is bone-on-bone contact of the vertebrae. This conditions might be alleviated by releasing muscle tension of the topline with acupressure/acupuncture as well as tension and emotional release therapies.

The equine back was not intended to carry weight; it is the human who decided to use the horse for his purpose. Be aware of uncharacteristic behavior because it is indicative of a painful problem.

Balance = Health

If you have read any of my posts, you realize that I believe alternative therapies are just as important as a veterinarian checks and a farrier’s hoof balance to maintain the health of a horse. Many of the types of therapies I write about I use on my horses. Tui Na and Shiatsu are holistic therapies and complementary with veterinary equine care. Isn’t it funny how Western medicine is now recognizing Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which is approximately 5000 years older.

Kim Bong Han, a North Korean surgeon, has verified the existence, prevalent function and the location of the meridians; He has also verified accessibility and benefits of the cavities in the skin known as the acupuncture points. Western medicinal scans prove their existence. “Acupuncture points have a higher density of micro-vessels and contain a large amount of involuted microvascular structures. The non-acupuncture points did not exhibit these properties.”

The meridians are created soon after conception and before the organs formed or developed. They are very closely connected with the cell nuclei of tissues, the nervous and endocrine systems. Stimulating acupuncture points causes the release of endorphins, which are known as natural pain killers. Fluid taken from meridians have shown to contain a unique, high concentration of DNA, RNA, amino acids as well as hormonal matter, such as adrenalin and corticosteroids. Interesting! It has been thought that the meridian system and the nervous system were the same; however, further research visually confirm the meridian system is a separate, unique, and independent throughout the molecular and cellular structures of a living body. The Governing Vessel and the Conception Vessel are main pathways that run midline and meet at both ends to make up a continuous loop around the body. When doing emotional releases, I use a magnet along the Governing Vessel to release trapped negative emotions once I pinpoint the emotion needs to be let go.

Tui Na is an ancient method of meridian massage originating in China that utilizes a push (Tui) and a grasp (Na) vital energy that has been continually practiced for nearly 4000 years. It follows the TCM of body meridians that the chi, blood and body fluids flow within the body via the meridians. The intent of Tui Na is to eliminate obstruction and to create harmonious chi flow and energy, much like acupuncture and acupressure.

Shiatsu is also an ancient method of massage with Japanese origin that is gentle, profoundly effective, non-invasive, credibly proven, highly sensitive, simple and safe holistic system. Deeply entrenched in philosophies and theologies of Eastern medicine, with the understanding the universal energy. All energies of life forms and matter are interconnected through universal energy; researchers of modern medicine and physics agree.

Tight muscles impede the natural flow of chi energy, blood and body fluids and if not attended to, the horse will compensate with other muscle groups to avoid pain. Within a few days, the equine body is out of balance, it does not function properly, and starts to fail. Tui Na techniques, as well as acupressure, Shiatsu, and acupuncture, stimulate chi, blood and bodily fluids to move along the meridians to eliminate stagnations and energy blockages. Because Tui Na works with both the meridians and acupoints, the flow of chi, blood and bodily fluids are reestablished, the pain is gone, muscles and tissues are restored, meridians are regulated, joints and sinew is soothed, circulation is initiated, balance to the internal organs is restored and the immune system is strengthened. Phew! Obviously the whole horse is brought back to optimal health.

When giving any type of alternative treatments, be patient and confident; work together with the horse, allow as much time as it takes and do not make judgments. Always remember alternative therapies are to be used in conjunction with traditional veterinarian medicine and not a replacement.

“For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.” ~Henry Beston, 1929~


Hannay, P. & Kaselle, M. (1997) Touching Horses Communication, Health & Healing through Shiatsu. Great Britain, London. J.A. Allen & Co. Ltd.

Snow, A. & Zidonis, N. (n.d.) Equine Tui Na: Hands-On Pain Relief. Holistic Horse Integrative Care for Horse and Rider. Retrieved December 10, 2016 from

World Wide Web. (January 4, 2014) Retrieved from


The Bit and Behavior

Humans have been using the bit for centuries. Understanding how a bit works is controversial.

The bit, which is the mouth piece to the bridle, is inserted into the horse’s mouth. This permits the rider to place pressure in and around the horse’s mouth to control speed and direction. There are disciplines that use two hands on the reins for constant “light” pressure with the mouth.  However; inexperienced or “… incorrectly trained horses may be confused and respond adversely to the type or intensity of pressure applied by some bits.”  “Applying single episodes of long-term pressure encourages resistance and avoidance of cue” (Extension Magazine, 2015). Regardless of the type of bit and pressure, the rider must understand how the bit works as well as pressure applied. Lets take a journey of how the bit works and see how many problems can be avoided.

The information for this blog comes from written reports from owners and riders submitted to W.R. Cook of the School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, 200 Westborough Road, North Grafton, MA 01536, USA.

In this published study there were 440 written reports from equestrians who have switched from a bridle with a bit to one without. The assessment was an examination of equine behavior with a bitted bridle to one that was bit less. Many believe the bitted bridle to be invasive and agonizing form of control, while the bitless bridle offers a non-invasive and painless style. “The survey demonstrated that the bit is responsible for at least 50 problems.”

Please take a few moments to view this video produced by Dr. Cook about the effects of the bit. You will gain a much larger understanding of what happens inside the mouth of the horse when using even the most gentle of bits.

Many equestrians of both English and Western riding styles will probably argue the interference the bit has. Dr. Cook illustrates in the above link as well as the evidence indicative of pain with a thin, metal rod in the mouth and how it disturbs almost every major body system, with the exception of the reproductive system (2000).

The bit less bridle is designed to be used in all disciplines both English and Western riding styles. It’s design is user-friendly for the experienced and inexperienced rider; it is usable for all equine breeds and temperaments; the horse can be switched instantly because there is hardly any learning curve for the horse or rider.

According to Dr. Cook, “…the bit method of control is not compatible with the physiological requirement of an exercising horse for breathing and striding…” (1999). When comparing the two methods, there is an obvious distinction in the behavior of the horse with and without the bit.  The removal of the bit eradicated all the negative behavioral responses listed but not limited to:

  • Tacking-up
    • Suspicious attitude
    • Eye contact avoidance
    • Nervousness
  • Mounting
    • Refusal to stand still
    • Tense with ears pinned back
    • Took off before rider was situated in the saddle
    • Rearing up when the rider gathered the reins
  • Schooling a green horse
    • Progress ceasing because of resentment
    • Parrot mouth
    • Bulldog mouth
  • While exercising
    • Bad attitude
    • Slow or hesitant in responding to the aids
    • Panic to the least amount of rein pressure
    • Lack of cooperation or partnership between horse and rider
    • Lack of trust or courage
    • Absence of spirit, dead eye
    • Looking for the excuse not to work
    • Bolting toward the barn
    • Refusing to relax
  • After exercise
    • Fear of the bit rattling against the incisor teeth when removing the bridle
    • Grinding the teeth or the bit
    • Loss of appetite, resulting from a sore mouth

Osteological evidence: There is tangible evidence as to the source of pain that the bit inflicts. Sixty five domestic equine skulls aged 5 years or older showed bilateral exostoses (bone spurs) in 75% of the skulls examined. The area studied does not have any tendinous or ligamentous insertions, concluding that the bit caused the bone spurs. There was not such finding in a survey of 35 zebra skulls, and none were found in equine skulls taken from the wild.

It also seems, according to the results W.R. Cook’s survey, the leading cause of headshaking syndrome is the bit. According to the survey, “This has been demonstrated many times (46 times, see item #4, table 1) by the convincing manner in which the headshaking problem has been eliminated by simply removing the bit” (Cook 1998).  There have been many etiological theories of headshaking syndrome, which have included, vasomotor rhinitis, photophobia, dental pain, upper airway obstruction, and equine protozoal myeloencephalitis. It appears that the clinical indications as to the cause of headshaking syndrome is consistent with bit-induced trigeminal neuralgia. If your horse demonstrates headshaking syndrome, removal of the bit will alleviate the problem. Craniosacral therapy, emotional release therapy and tensions release therapy with aid in getting your horse back on track.

All horse behavior problems result from the human. If your horse demonstrates any of the problems stated in W.R. Cook’s  equestrian survey, why not give the bitless bridle it a try.


Cook, W.R. (n.d.) The Effect of the Bit on the Behavior of the Horse. School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University. Retreived November 25, 2016 from

Extension. (2015, December 4) Understanding Bits for Horses Learning Lesson. Retrieved November 25, 2016 from