The Farah DeJohnette Signature Bitless Bridle by Buckaroo Leather represents a decade of compassionate design and traditional American craftsmanship, using leather from the oldest still-operating facility of its kind in the United States, Hermann Oak Tannery, of St. Louis, Missouri.
The DeJohnette Signature Bitless was the first bridle of its kind to join the Diamond Springs, California, -based Buckaroo Leather catalog and has remained a strong favorite over the years among customers on both the East and West coasts.
“Farah had real good input into creating a bridle that’s soft, flexible and responsive to the horse’s face and head,” said leather expert, ‘Buckaroo John’ Brand. “The bitless and natural horsemanship markets have expanded over the last decade. More people are realizing that many horses are more relaxed when being ridden without a bit.”
Central Massachusetts-based international clinician and trainer Farah DeJohnette is the creative force behind the DeJohnette Signature Bitless Bridle by Buckaroo Leather, available with or without a center nose D-ring to accommodate classical ground and in-hand work, and in sizes ranging from cob/pony through large mule and draft horse.
“I wanted to design a soft, padded bridle with no heavy, jangling rings or big metal pieces. It molds to the face with no wrapped chains or tightening straps that can add pain or pressure to a horse’s sensitive head, muzzle and nasal structure,” said DeJohnette. “I wanted to create something that was soft, comfortable, lightweight, ergonomic, attractive while being durable that encourages a horse to focus not on its tack but on you and your communication. My horse, Mercury, willingly puts his head into this bridle, which says to me that he is choosing to participate in our training and the conversation that follows. This is so important in training.”
What sets the DeJohnette Signature apart from other bitless bridles? Its namesake designer says it’s in all the features that keep a horse’s comfort at the forefront: Tough enough for daily use, suitably versatile for ground and mounted work, and yes (she confesses), “It’s a pretty piece of tack!”
Brand said its popularity also lies in its leather: “The quality and feeling, particularly in the suppleness of the lining, is superior because we use glove deerskin, enforced with oiled harness leather whose deep waxing and tallows will withstand the rigors of outdoor elements and require less maintenance.”
The bridle is constructed of top-grade Hermann Oak brown harness or black latigo leather for an easy, broken-in feeling. The handcrafted headstall is double and sewn with a soft chap padded lining on the noseband and crown at the poll, and oiled for soft suppleness. It offers a side-pull system at 5/8” wide and the headstall offers a 1” leather noseband and top quality stainless steel hardware. For the rider who wants to keep it simple and lightweight, the DeJohnette Signature Bitless Bridle comes with or without a throatlatch and offers an added jowel strap for extra stability..
“This is for the Western or English rider who wants performance-caliber leather tack that will turn heads in the arena and,” Brand said with a grin, “make even other horses jealous.”
In 2015, the daughter of jazz legend Jack DeJohnette (John Coltrane, Miles Davis) became a YouTube sensation when a video surfaced of an improvisational jazz Liberty Dance performance by DeJohnette and her horse Mercury, accompanied by her father’s live music. Born in New York City and raised upstate in Woodstock, she apprenticed at the Williamsburg Farm home to champion Olympic stallion Abdullah, worked for trainer Pat Jacobson, West Coast grand prix trainers Steve and Jenni Martin, and seven-time dressage and show jumping Olympian John Winnett, and has benefited from the guidance of FEI dressage riders Virginia Leary and Bettina Drummond. Strongly influenced by the masters of natural horsemanship and Linda (‘T-Touch’) Tellington, she has launched an holistic and Self-Selection boutique facility, Ohana Farm, while maintaining clients and clinics in the USA, United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia. Learn more at www.fdhorsemanship.com.