I get this question all the time. Do I drive bitless? Is it even possible for a driving horse?
Of course I do and as I have said before, bitless is for every horse but not every rider/driver.
I'll let Indigo demonstrate.
Here is the second picture I ever put on my blog two years ago.
It was the spring after I taught Indigo how to drive the fall before. She took to the cart right away. It did take her forever to learn how to turn without nearly upsetting the cart and me. I had a couple times where I thought she would never figure it out and keep trying to turn her whole body and dump me out of the cart.
This is what I see every time I drive her. I drive her in an open bridle too (no blinders) because I believe a lot more horses drive better in an open bridle. You need to do more desensitizing to things because the blinders can hide things that they don't see so don't spook at. Plus I want the horse I am driving to know whats behind him and that it won't eat horses. If by chance if they haven't seen the cart and they get their bridle off you can be in big trouble.
Indigo makes a great driving horse. Shes got the trot and the woah. The other day she was so full of it at the trot. On our way home she shied at this fallen tree and started to get a little strong so I made her walk. She walked really well the mile and a half back home without trying to break gait. I had to work long and hard to get that into her mind.
This is us a year ago at a clinic. Before the clinician went to hop into the cart with me he was inspecting harness. He gets to the bridle and grabs the reins and exclaims "Oh my gosh you forgot to put the bit in your horses mouth!" Hahah, funny, funny. I explained and he apprehensively got into the cart with me thinking we might be a runaway or not be able to control her. Afterwards he complimented me for being able to not only control my horse very well but having excellent precision compared to a lot of the other horses there driving a lot longer than Indigo has.
She looks so cute all harnessed up and happy without a cold bit in her mouth when it's cold.
It's a ton of fun to go for a sleigh ride where your horse does not have to worry about the bitter cold hurting it's mouth. Though a little hot chocolate helps the driver and passengers afterwards.
There you have it. Bitless driving is very much an option as is bitless riding, any horse, any time.