Bitless bridles for the western discipline are slightly different than from english riding. Western riders tends to ride with loser reins, the softer contact allows to use stronger bits as there is no constant pressure from the reins. The other difference is that some western bitless bridles are controlled from the horse's jaw rather than on each side of the horse's muzzle. This design seems to be just as effecting when stopping, however lateral movements and turning can be more difficult especially on an untrained horse.
Western Sidepulls Western sidepulls are very popular and top sellers all over the world. The noseband connects directly to the reins ans cheek pieces. There is a softer poll pressure over the horse's nose. It can however be more difficult to stop its not as harsh as other bitless alternatives. Different horses do however respond differently to the pressure.
Rope Halters Bitless rope halters attached to reins (or lead rope) on each side of the muzzle. This type of bitless bridle is a bit stronger due to the thinner noseband design. Riders should ride with gentle hands, lose reins to control the amount of pressure horse's head.
Cross-under The cross-over bitless bridle was invented in the last century in the US. It has a unique design where pressure goes over the horse's whole head (not just one pressure point). This makes it a good choice for trail riding or light hacking. However riders feel they are in less control as the bridle and pressure is so soft, it can be challenging to work a horse in a frame with light rein aid. This is still possible though and riding with your seat and voice command will make you a better rider over all. From the horse's point of view this bridle should be extra comfortable.
Bitless Bridles for English Riders
Bitless bridles in the english riding disciplines are not as 'accepted', especially in dressage. However liberty and horsemanship enthusiast have embraced the option as the preferred choice. A famous bitless rider is french Alizee Froment. As a successful grand prix dressage rider she is disrupting an industry that is very old school and set in their ways when it comes to rules and regulations. The debate is a hot topic and there will most likely be a lot of changes made in the next few years. Alizee has proven that you don't need harsh bit (or any tack) to perform difficult dressage movements such as piaff and passage.