The Bitless Shop
Why ride BITLESS? Why not? Technology has advanced, and we have new and better tools for communication with our horse partners. For the conscientious rider, we proudly offer this section of our store, where we will explore the best bitless designs we have ever tried. We feature a very special type of bitless bridle that we personally use and recommend to our students - we call this type, "Bitless Bits" - because they look like round metal wheels on the side of the face, just like a bit (only nothing goes in the mouth!). Technically they are shankless (or minimal shank) mild mechanical hackamores - and they ride like a dream. This is an undiscovered treasure training tool of the horse world!!!
Our extensive collection of articles and links to bitless information.
A Bitless-Bit for Dressage/High School Riders • My Bitless Story
Star Wheel Hackamore
Click here for Star Wheel Testimonials!
A "bitless-bit" style of bitless bridle, with 2 metal wheels/rings which create evenly distributed pressure to control the horse's head. To the rider, feels just like a bit!
Star Wheel Fitting Instructions *Scroll down below for accessories - Padded Lunge Strap and Double Chain Curb Strap.
Click to enlarge image
The Star Wheel Hackamore was created by Markus Holst of Sweden, who offers custom classical dressage equipment. This innovative and fun design will add real style to your ride! An effective alternative to the bit, the Star Wheel Hackamore features a simple and flexible design that uses leverage to apply gentle, evenly distributed pressure to the poll, nose, and chin when the reins are engaged. You can control the degree of leverage by varying the position of the metal wheel, with 6 holes for rein and bridle attachments. It is easy to customize the fit, with both the noseband and chin strap fully adjustable. Choose from a neoprene padded noseband, or a synthetic fleece padded noseband, for gentle action across the nose and to prevent excessive rubbing or discomfort.
• The silver colored "star" wheels are stainless steel, 9cm (3 1/2") in diameter.
• Straps are all leather.
• The neoprene padded noseband has a thin leather lining over the neoprene.
• The fleece padded noseband is lined with a natural colored, fluffy, synthetic fleece/fur padding.
• The all leather chin strap is plain, unlined leather.
Yvonne's notes: I was delighted to discover Markus Holst's shop, with his selection of classical dressage equipment which included unique, innovative bitless-bit designs!! I immediately decided I needed to start importing his products to the USA - and the Star Wheel Hackamore was my top pick. The simple and beautiful design is an exciting addition to my Bitless Shop!
I have successfully used these "bitless-bit" designs (they all work pretty much the same) on a variety of horses ranging from green to advanced. For horses that are strong or inclined to be naughty, the bitless-bit is enhanced by the addition of a chain curb strap, which makes it stronger (see accessories below). With correct, snug adjustment of the bridle beforehand, you can easily do a one-rein emergency stop with the bitless-bit. With correct adjustment, an advanced rider can ride with the same level of finesse they experience in traditional dressage bitted contact - one might find the "bitless-bit" comparable to the effectiveness of a double bridle! You might feel like I do - that this is actually BETTER than a bit - with no loss of quality, and improved connection with your horse, full lateral control, and the ability to more effectively communicate. For more about my previous experiences with this style of bitless, read A Bitless-Bit for Dressage/High School Riders and My Bitless Story.
Star Wheel Fitting Instructions
WARNING: USE AT YOUR OWN RISK! This bridle does NOT train your horse! This bridle will not physically stop your horse using pain. Use caution when riding at fast speeds. There is no "magic" tack. You will still need to train your horse. The bridle and bitless-bit need to be carefully fitted. Use common sense whenever introducing any new tack to any horse. Every horse is different. If you lack experience, please seek expert hands-on guidance. Please inspect all leather straps carefully before every use, as leather straps on any tack can break if worn. Please care for the leather using appropriate cleaners and conditioners.
Star Wheel Hackamore
And it is beautiful!
The Star Wheel Hackamore includes 2 Star Wheels in stainless steel, a leather noseband (with fleece or neoprene padding), and a leather chin strap - with matching stainless steel buckles. Headstall and reins not included. Attach the Star to your own headstall and add your own reins and rein snaps. (See below for accessories.)
Sizing: One standard size. *Note: Sizing is VERY generous! In fact, this noseband/chin strap diameter is HUGE. But that's okay - it means it will fit nearly ANY HORSE (even a draft). For example, I had to punch 5 more holes in the chin strap to fit my warmblood with a slightly finer muzzle. For typical American breeds, expect that you will need to adjust the noseband to the tightest buckles, and add more holes to the chin strap to get the correct tightness. The excess leather ends can easily be trimmed off. Please refer to my Star Wheel Fitting Instructions to get the correct fit on the chin strap.
Note that the Star Wheel measures 9cm (3 1/2") in diameter - which might visually appear a bit "large" on a small-headed or fine muzzled horse. It will, however, function just fine. Horses in photos above are just over 16 hands, with normal-sized heads and relatively fine muzzles for their size.
Color and Style: 2 styles to choose from
***See below for accessories!
Return Policy: Return within 30 days in NEW condition (must be unused, fully clean, unmarked, and able to be sold as NEW) for full refund. Or return "used" within 30 days, and refund will be prorated according to wear. No returns after 30 days.
Padded Lunge Strap
Made from a self-padded, thick, cushioned, cotton web material, this lunge strap is more comfortable for your horse than the thin nylon models, and quickly transforms your bridle into a genuine lunging cavesson! Perfect for bitless-bit style bridles, like the Zilco Flower and Star Wheel!
This black padded lunge strap snaps to a bit, halter, or bitless-bit wheel hackamore for working the horse on a lunge line or in-hand. Center Dee is fixed firmly in place and swivels to keep the lunge line from twisting. This model was chosen specifically because it is just the right size for attaching to any model bitless-bit wheel hackamore. This lunge strap measures a total length of 10 inches from end to end of the metal clips; the black strap alone measures 6 1/2 inches long.
Double Chain Curb Strap
Currently available in Dark Brown Leather only
For strong, heavy, or naughty horses, or a little extra sensitivity, try a chain curb strap. Double chain curb strap with Nickel plated hardware and USA leather. 5/8 inch wide leather, 4 inch long chain, and leather ends that adjust from 8 inch to 10 1/2 inch total length.
*Note that the chain chin strap has a limit to its possible adjustment, due to the chain, which means it might not adjust tight enough for small-headed horses - especially in the case of the Star Wheel Hackamore which has a larger diameter wheel.
Buy a Star Wheel Hackamore and your horse will thank you for it!
More information on bitless bridles and bitless riding:
Bitless Riding - Our extensive collection of articles and links to bitless information.
A Bitless-Bit for Dressage/High School Riders
My Bitless Story by Yvonne Welz
Directory of Articles by Dr. Robert Cook
Hoof Books & Products: Strasser Books, Hoofjack, Tooljack & more
Hoof Boots: Cavallo Horse & Rider and EasyCare
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Wishing Welz Equine LLC
P.O. Box 1969 • Queen Creek, AZ 85142 • Phone 623-935-1823 (Leave message anytime.) • Email editor@TheHorsesHoof.com