Bitless Bridle™ UK

Meet our Bitless Bridle Instructors (BBI)

We have BBIs in Ceredigion in Wales | Co Louth, Ireland; and in the English counties of Avon |Derbyshire| Surrey| Sussex | Wiltshire | Worcestershire

About the BBI program

In 2006, The Bitless Bridle Inc added a third class of appointment to further the company’s educational program in the USA and abroad. This appointment will carry marketing privileges in the USA and abroad but the primary criteria of selection are the appointee’s ability to spread the word as part of their own pre-existing educational program. Such people will have education as their primary goal and sales activities will be of secondary importance. Appointees will carry the title of Bitless Bridle Instructor (BBI).

The first BBI to be appointed outside USA was our very own Rosemary Carrington-Rogers, who teaches natural horsemanship and bitless riding at Bitless Bridle UK's premises near Talsarn, Lampeter in Wales.

Rosemary Carrington-Rogers BHSAI, BBI - Ceredigion, Wales

Rosemary-Carrington Rogers, clinic IrelandI have been fortunate enough to be around horses for most of my life. From a rural background I was able to spend all of my spare time first with my friends’ horses and then my own pony. Growing up with horses taught me they were first and foremost my friends and should be treated with the dignity and respect they deserved.

My early riding was spent on ponies that were bareback and ridden with only a halter. I believe to this day that my balance is attributed to this time.

On leaving school I worked for 2 seasons at a racing yard. I began starting youngsters and rose to being offered (and accepting) a number of race rides.

Still wanting to gain as much experience as possible I left the racing yard to work at a driving yard. Here I was solely responsible for a team of four and both rode and drove. I also started youngsters and helped with driving horses that had developed problems.

From there I spent a number of years at my parents’ yard, specialising in bringing on youngsters and rehabilitating horses with problems. This venture grew when I teamed up with a friend – giving me more acreage.

I was enjoying competing but was becoming increasingly aware that if I wanted to be totally accepted in some fields of equestrianism I would need to gain accepted qualifications. I studied and qualified as a BHSAI and moved to Windsor to work as an Instructor in a busy riding school.

I still had horses at home and when offered a partnership in a local riding school decided to take the opportunity to move back to Wales.

The school quickly gained BHS and ABRS approval. Horses were trained and schooled and lessons were given to both children and adults of differing abilities. However, I became increasingly concerned about finding ways to improve the day to day lives of the horses at the yard. I was becoming concerned about the restrictions put on them. With this I remembered the times when I rode bareback and communicated with the horse, and began to search for ways to work the yard in a more holistic way. Working with respected natural horsemanship trainers (including Faris Collins who travelled to the yard to give me lessons both ridden and from the ground) I was able to see a way of moving forward.

Unfortunately the school had to close after just 3 years but I continued my work. I began teaching freelance and went back to training horses from my parents’ yard.

Looking for still more platforms to encourage a holistic approach to horsemanship I set up NAGTrader, a site dedicated to everything natural. At this time I was fortunate to be introduced to the Dr Cook's Bitless Bridle and became a firm supporter.

I ride bitless, barefoot and treeless and encourage every client to do the same, witnessing time and time again the problems which can be solved by removing metal from horses' lives.

I am in the process of looking for a suitable horse to event in a Dr Cook Bitless Bridle – how wonderful to show that metal is not required to go across country!

Rosemary can be contacted by email or phone 07890 888 762

Rosemary's web site is

Rosemary is available to teach you, your horse, or both of you - whatever the problem... or if you just want to improve your riding or horsemanship skills (contact info above)

Photos of Rosemary teaching at Castle Horses, Co Louth, Ireland in April 08

Erica Dixon – Natural Horsewoman & Homeopath RSHom:  Bath, Bristol, S West & beyond where needed!

Bitless riding experience since 2000.  Individual sessions or Clinics.  

Barefoot - Balanced – Bonded – Bitless... Bridle-less!  You can do it!   

I believe the key to successful bitless or bridle-less riding is about the bond & relationship you have with your horse with you as a compassionate leader.  Horses naturally & willingly follow leaders...  Leaders never use fear, manipulation, domination or act like a predator.   Neither do they bribe with treats, but they will lead you to food, water & safety!  (Using a bit is akin to predatory behaviour.  The horse fights or yields to avoid further pain – I really don’t want to act like a predator around a prey animal that I consider my friend – do you?)

A shift in thinking is required to concentrate on the relationship aspects of equestrianism over & above everything else.  The willing performance is born out of the relationship.  You & your horse are unique individuals & together, you make a unique unit – the goal of which is to be in unity as one – whatever you are doing.  Maybe this is easier to achieve than you think!  

I teach simple, effective methods to allow riding to be enjoyable.  What you desire in your horse, you simply need to become yourself whether that is performing collection, doing liberty work or remaining safe in the countryside.  I have learnt & developed a way of working with horses that is similar to the homeopathic principle of using similars rather than opposites.  I find this ultimately leads to greater harmony between horse & human.

I am a also qualified Homeopath.  One of the greatest skills a homeopath has to develop is the ability to be the ‘unprejudiced observer’ (all reputable healers must learn not to judge).  Horses are incredibly accurate unprejudiced observers and can help us learn a great deal about ourselves.  As prey animals they pick up minute details, see right through us & sense the state of our emotions & energy.  This ability is essential to keeping their herd safe and is usually the real reason people have ‘trouble’ with their horses.  [Zebras move closer to lions that are satisfied & stuffed with food!]  I offer homeopathy to anybody who asks for it or who I think could benefit from it.  Homeopathy is poorly understood in both natural & mainstream areas.  It has strong principles one of which is outing the dis-ease or dis-harmony from within.  This can track as far back as inherited issues or it can be very present moment in a first aid or acute situation.  I have witnessed horses completely relax or come alive after their owner has been treated with homeopathy. 

NB:  I cannot legally treat horses & other animals with homeopathy due to the Veterinary Act.  [Many animals come to help us in our lives & I will listen to all of them if you seek homeopathic consultation with me].

Horse Biog:

1991 - 1992 Took BHSAI.  1992 BUNAC (Horse Camp USA - Hunter/Jumper/Equitation education).

1992 to 2002 - Classical & natural riding instructor and horsemanship instructor. A plethora of courses (including Heather Moffett, Equine Behaviour Forum etc). Ditched becoming qualified in a method involving round penning as it did not sit right with me.  Instead I read Dorrance, Hunt & similar around 2000.

June 2000 - took my first horse barefoot & bitless.  Previous to this had been occasionally riding in a headcollar & hackamore.

Summer 2002 qualified as a barefoot hoof care trimmer.   2002 – 2010 - worked as a barefoot hoof trimmer (adapting to a generic natural trim based around the horse itself); equine behaviour issues, natural management/health from 2001 to 2010.

From 2003 to today, experiments in bridle-less riding. Two Chiron jumping courses & some Chiron instructor training (includes bridle-less jumping Caprilli style).  Mark Rashid clinic.  Two Dr Deb Bennett Clinics (NB: still the simplest way to straighten a horse – straight in mind, straight in body).  Dr Cook Bitless Bridle seller.

Homeopathy:  Qualified & registered homeopath since December 2010:  Erica Dixon RSHom.

07770 785753  Contact me for details of rates & travel costs

April Chalklin BBI, Haslemere, SurreyArcher blue Dr Cook Bitless BridleApril Chalklin BBI at the hairdressers

I had the usual childhood horsey experiences of my generation - working as a slave all weekend at a big yard for rides, doing the jobs no one else wanted to do (Junior Hack Sunday 10am, like Hell with Jodhs) and exercising the horses that no-one else wanted to ride. I'm sure it built character but may have led to my 18 year break from equitation. 

Back in the saddle as a mature rider with a 4 year old Irish Lightweigh Cob I was confronted with a horse who spat everything I thought I knew back in my face, all the questionable practises I had learned, all the absolute truths I had never properly analysed were utterly trampled underfoot by a horse who waited patiently for me to start to learn. So I sought out the right people, read and researched voraciously and started looking at the horse in a more holistic way. 

A big part of this was my discovery of the Dr Cook bridle, at the first use it transformed an iron-necked arguer into a mount who was soft willing and engaged, it was truly a moment of revelation and the reason why I endorse this product so wholeheartedly. I have seen this bridle work time and time again not just as a fix for problem horses, but as a tool that brings a greater understanding and a truer bond between horse and rider. 

April can be contacted by email

[April runs a natural livery yard at Puckshott Farm where horses are barefoot, out 24/7 & fed as horses should be]

Ellen Cochrane BBI, Malvern, Worcestershire

Ellen bridleless horseI have been around horses most of my life. I started the usual way at riding schools, helping out at weekends, riding "naughty" ponies etc. I was always taught a horse needed a bit, shoes and often a whip as well as other gadgets.

As I got older I broke away from riding schools and my views on horses changed and I started to listen to them. I trained my first horse, Gaia, based on her reactions to me and spent of a lot time learning to "read" her. I just enjoyed spending time with her and she was a great teacher!

When it came to backing her I couldn't decide on a bit that would be kindest for her, this is when I first discovered the bitless bridle, and I have never looked back.

I have since worked on developing my horsemanship skills and way of training horses. I've taken on horses for backing/schooling and I have transitioned many horses to bitless and started youngsters bitless. I use a calm, no pressure, no force approach training, handling, backing and riding. I base my ideas on body language and a relationship with the horse. I now have 4 horses which I ride bitless or bridleless; my youngsters have never had a bit in their mouths.

I am able to teach bitless riding to all ages, as well as groundwork and basics. I aim to help those who need help, whether they be horse or human, and build relationships between horse and rider.

Contact Ellen via her website;, email; or phone 07792 356362



Catherine Parker BBI, Sussex

catherine parker riding in Dr Cook Bitless BridleI am a Bitless Bridle Instructor based in Sussex. I am passionate about helping people to transition their horses from bitted to bitless bridles. I understand that many people are apprehensive about riding their horse without a bit and I want to do everything I can to reassure you and make the transition as smooth as possible for both you and your horse.

I learnt to ride 25 years ago and at that time it was rare to see a bitless bridle -  if you did see one it was likely to be an English Hackamore. I heard people say these could be very severe and therefore didn't give them much thought. It was many years later when I was having trouble with Markos, my 20 year old Arab, jogging on hacks that I began to investigate bitless bridles. It was clear to me that Markos was jogging because he was feeling tense and anxious and wanted to get home to the safety of the yard. To try and encourage him to walk I tried everything, knowing that I had to help him feel safe and calm with me so he wouldn't feel the need to rush home. Every time I used the reins, however gently, I felt a conflict with what I was trying to achieve. It seemed clear to me that the bit in his mouth must at the very least be uncomfortable.

After extensive research I found Dr Cook's bitless bridles. The Dr Cook website reassured me that the bridle couldn't hurt my horse- and that my horse was likely to be happier and therefore safer to ride. Despite this I was still nervous about transitioning from bit to bitless. I created my own method that made me feel safe letting go of the bit.  The transition was fast and a success and Markos lived the rest of his life a more relaxed horse.Two years ago I bought my current horse, Christina. Christina had been started traditionally in Ireland with a bit but as soon as I took her home I transitioned her to bitless and we haven' t looked back. 

I can give you as much or as little support as you would like to try bitless with you horse - from a chat on the phone to a fully supported program - whatever works for you.  I can support you with ground work exercises to prepare your horse for the transition to bitless; I can offer advice when you ride bitless for the first time; I can even join you for a hack with my horse the first time you hack in the bitless bridle! I am flexible in how I support you. My only goal is to help you and your horse make a happy and safe transition to bitless. I have Dr Cook's bridles for you to try and can help you correctly fit the bridle so you know it will be comfortable and effective. You can try the bridle with my support as many times as you like whilst doing any activity with your horse. 

If you decide to change to bitless and would like to buy a Dr Cook's bitless bridle I can help you to measure your horse, choose the material that suits you  and even order it for you if you wish. Of course you are under no obligation to buy a bridle if you don’t want to.

Telephone: 07951 117345


Patricia Rogers Ridgeway BBI - Co Louth, Ireland

Patricia Rogers Ridgeway and her husband Tom own a livery yard and riding school in County Louth in Ireland. Patricia writes:

Patricia & Toddy on Achill BeachI fatefully met and became the caretaker of a 14 y.o., 16.0hh Irish Draught gelding called Toddy in June 2004. Toddy had not had the best of times in his life and in fact Tom had known him quite well in the past and knew that he had a reputation not to be envied for being difficult, angry - at times marginally dangerous.

Lots of bruises, lots of bits and lots of patience later, my mental and physical resources were exhausted. I didn’t know what else I could possibly try to settle Toddy until, one fateful night, I happened upon the Bitless Bridle website. I decided that me and Toddy had just about nothing left to lose at this stage.

I ordered one in January 2007 and life has not been the same since. The once angry and petulant Toddy is today completely happy and loving life as he has adventure after adventure with his much-relieved rider. Toddy’s contentment with the bitless bridle and his undeniably better quality of life convinced me and Tom to then convert all of the riding school ponies in our yard over to the cross-under Bitless Bridle, winning rave reviews from students and owners alike.

The Ridgeway friends who knew the ‘old’ Toddy are constantly amazed at the ‘different horse’ who now lives in Castle Horses and ever increasing numbers are converting over to the Dr. Cook’s bridle as a result.

I have recently become a BBI in Ireland. Tom & I would be very pleased to welcome anyone to Castle Horses to have a look at the bridles, or to ride in one and try one out if you’d like. Just give a call in advance and Castle Horses would be delighted to meet you and to let you see...there is another way.

Patricia can be contacted by email or by phone 353 86 6052707


Photo shows Toddy and Patricia in front, enjoying a recent (bitless) visit to Achill Island in Co. Mayo

Download Castle Horses October 2007 newsletter

Article in Irish Independent June 2008 "A Co Louth couple are taking horsemanship back to basics. Just don't call them tree huggers.."

Pat Voisey ABRS Instructor, BBI - Derbyshire

In addition to being an ABRS qualified instructor Pat also holds a National Diploma in Equine Studies, and says how very proud she is to have been appointed as a BBI.

Pat Voisey BBI & her horse RuI use a combination of classical and natural horsemanship techniques, which I find compliment each other very well and I work with horse / rider relationship / communication problems; starting with groundwork skills. I use only kind methods of riding and horse management.

I discourage the use of bits (almost all my clients are now bitless) and will not accept the use of spurs, or abuse of the whip. My horse wears a treeless saddle, and is now barefoot.

I don't use or advocate the use of 'gadgets' to restrict the horse, or force 'an outline', firmly believing that horses need time to develop strength and suppleness depending on type, conformation, temperament, age, etc, just as any other athlete does.

I am a 'mature' rider / instructor. I have ridden since the age of two, and have owned horses & ridden all my life. As a qualified riding instructor I previously worked in riding school environments, but now work freelance. I teach everything from basic ground work and improving equine / human relationships, to teaching jumping and dressage, whatever is needed.

Many times I find myself working with horses that have physical or emotional problems due to poor fitting tack, injury or abuse. The work I do with the horses is not just for in the 'school' it is a change in lifestyle and I work closely with horse and owner to ensure a sound communication exists between horse and human - a sort of 'holistic' approach if you like.

I teach people and equines who participate in all kinds of activities. Many have now gone bitless, and are finding their horsey partners are much happier, both in general and in performance. They have no problems in working 'through, in an outline', however, this should not depend on the bit / bridle but on the horse's ability, conformation, and fitness to perform. (Some of the 'Naturally trained' horses are ridden in high school movements, without bridle or saddle, beautifully.) Unfortunately this is one of the many areas where there is confusion over the use of the bit, often due I think to the terms used, such as ' working on, or to, the bit'.

It is still necessary to obtain the permission of the show / competition organiser, to enter [dressage competition] in a bitless, silly I know, but I don't know of anyone who has been turned away yet, and if they do say no, ask to enter non-competitively [HC], this will show the bridle off, gain interest, and show how well the horse works with it. It is often difficult to persuade people of the advantages of the BB, especially if they compete, and some instructors are so very closed minded about anything that is not 'traditional', that you feel like screaming, but if we can all show others by example, then things can only get better.

Read Pat's Blog

Pat can be contacted by email, or phone 01457 869612

Elisabeth (Lissy) Seidel MRCVS,, PGDipAnMan (McTimoney College), BBI - Marlborough, Wiltshire

Lissy jumping bareback and bridle-lessI come from a determinedly unhorsey family but have always been strongly attracted to horses...spent my teenage years helping in stables and mucking out to be able to ride. I got my first horse when I was 16 and have kept horses ever since. I went through all the orthodox ways of riding and keeping horses, but steadily developed a holistic approach, first in my professional life (I work exclusively with acupuncture and McTimoney manipulation, a whole body treatment), then gradually spilling over into my life with my own horses, developing my natural horsemanship more and more and now riding both my horses barefoot and bitless...or one of them bridleless, at least at home and out hacking! They both team-chase, Silver Cloud at intermediate level and the Black Demon at Open Level, and both had their picture in the H&H!

I offer treatments for horses (and dogs) with acupuncture and McTimoney, workshops with a variety of topics and one to one assessments on almost any aspect of horsecare.

Lissy can be contacted by email or phone 01672 861013, mobile 07788 794997

Lissy's website is What Makes Your Horse Tick?

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