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Sidepull Bridle Home

What Diana Thompson's Sidepull Bridle Offers

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Sidepull Bridle Measurement Form
Chart and Photos

Photo Examples of the Bridle in Upper and Lower Position

How to Fit the Sidepull to Your Horse
(pdf article)

Self Carriage - How a Sideways Turn of the Head is Key to Proper Movement (article)


Article Reprints from Whole Horse Journal:

Diana's Bitless Bridle - A Fascinating Training Tool
(pdf article)

Introducing the Sidepull to Teach Proper Turns

(pdf article)

A Bitless Wonder
(pdf article)

Diana Thompson's Bitless Bridle is an Improved Sidepull Design

Sidepull BridleSidepull Bridle

What is a sidepull bridle?

A sidepull is a bitless bridle which allows the reins to be attached to the headstall on the side of the horse's face -thus its "side pull" designation. Most sidepulls have a lariat rope or narrow nylon rope as the over-the-nose piece to give the rider a way to exert some directional and stopping pressure on the horse's nose.

Why should I ride my horse in a sidepull bitless bridle?

• Reins on the side -
Because they offer reins attached to the side of the bridle, sidepull bridles (if well-constructed) allow the rider to give the horse very clear turning signals left and right. As such, they are the perfect starter bridle for young horses who are learning to turn or a helpful training device for older horses who are stiff and resistant to turning.

• No bit -
Many horses have been injured in the mouth by riders using poorly designed and improperly fitted bits, unbalanced hands and harsh training methods. To protect their sensitive tissues, these horses fuss and chew on the bit, clamp their mouth and brace their neck (becoming stiff to stop or turn), or toss their heads frequently. In order to stop this behavior (which is the horse's reaction to discomfort), riders add tight nosebands to keep the horse's mouth closed. They also add martingales or other "tie downs" to prevent head tossing and rooting against the bit. A sidepull goes to the root of the problem - it removes the bit from the horse's mouth completely. This allows the horse to relax his mouth, jaw, head, and neck and learn how to carry the rider in a supple, athletic manner.

What horse could benefit from a sidepull bridle?

The sidepull is a good choice for:

• Ground driving or riding young horses who are just learning the basics of turning and stopping.
• Any horse who doesn't turn well or is unable to turn or flex at the poll.
• Horses who chew on the bit; horses who grab the bit with their teeth or those who do not want a bit in their mouth at all.
• Horses who tuck their noses back towards their chests.
• Horses who are fussy and tense when ridden in a bit and unable to relax, lower and lengthen their necks.
• Horses with a history of dental problems or mouth injuries (broken jaws, damaged tongues).
• Well-trained horses on recreational trail rides.
• School horses being ridden by novice riders with unbalanced hands.

The sidepull is not a good choice for:

• Inexperienced riders riding head strong horses.
• Horses who habitually carry their heads up high in the air and are prone to flipping their nose to evade a rider's request.

Is a Sidepull Bridle used for English or Western Style of riding? Can it be used on gaited horses?

A sidepull bridle is appropriate for any type of horse doing any sport. It is a bridle which uses direct reining rather than indirect or "Neck" reining. For instance, in the sidepull bridle, your left hand pulls on the bridle's left rein to turn the horse to the left.

For those interested in riding the western pleasure horse, Diana Thompson has used the sidepull in training horses which need to neck rein in recreational or competitive events. In training these horses, she uses the direct rein of the sidepull to properly position the horse's head to the inside of the turn and arc his body to the inside of the turn; then lays the outside rein across the horse's neck (and places her outside leg on the horse's barrel) to signal for the turn.

Some show regulations may not permit the use of a sidepull in competition. When Diana was training young horses for both dressage and Western pleasure competitions, she rode them in the sidepull several days a week and rode them in the bit several days a week. Using the sidepull in this manner, Diana was able to teach the horses how to use their bodies in a relaxed athletic manner and stay soft and responsive in their respective bits.

For more information on Diana Thompson's Sidepull Bridle click What Diana Thompson's Sidepull Bridle Offers