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This is a discussion on Bridless... within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    11-08-2009, 10:08 PM
Super Moderator

I have a few questions about riding bridleless and I didn't want to hijack the other thread and ask them. Haha

How do you get a horse to a point where it can be safely ridden bridleless? I mean, Lacey goes perfectly in a bridle, completely responsive to my legs and we're working on being responsive to my seat (obviously we need to fine tune that before any bridleless riding) and she's great in a halter too. Only problem, as soon as I drop the reins/lead rope she starts tuning me out.
I'll have been only using my legs to direct her (just turning and stuff, since she doesn't understand my seat so well yet I'm not expecting her to stop) with the reins completely draped and she'll listen perfectly, until I drop the reins. Then she just ignores every leg cue I give her until I pick up the reins again, however lightly, then she'll listen.

Like the other thread was saying, I don't want to completely micromanage her into being able to be ridden bridleless but I kinda feel like that's what it might take...

I've considered my position, where I'm watching with my eyes etc and nothing changes between reins and no reins...

Help? =)
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    11-08-2009, 11:23 PM
Mostly I think that she's learned that if you don't have the reins, she doesn't have to listen. Ask her with legs/seat, whatever you do, just without reins. Maybe let them fall on her neck, but keep a finger or two on them. Sounds like she's pretty light. Ask nicely, and if she doesn't listen, then just use your few fingers on the reins to remind her that you're serious. LOL. Repetition and consistency. Never let her get away with not listening to your legs without a correction. It's worked for me in the sense that when they decide they don't have to listen, you just keep reminding them that they DO, and eventually they'll listen to the leg cues because they know that if they don't, you WILL correct them with the reins, and they're going to have to do it anyway, so why not just do it the first time you ask? Once you can do it with the reins lying on her neck and you can do... say a whole reining pattern, or a whole dressage or jumping course without once touching your reins, then go to a halter, and repeat what you did with the bridle. Then, for me, it's mostly a leap of faith... Take the halter off, and see how it goes. I'm always a little nervous the first time, but usually they don't even consider resisting, because by this time they figure that I'll correct them if they refuse, so they don't even think about it. Since the thought never crosses their mind, I don't get into any trouble. =)

So there's my strategy, hope it helps you. Good luck, and have fun! =)
    11-08-2009, 11:32 PM
Super Moderator
I'll try that. I've kinda been tentatively doing that but I haven't really put any effort into it yet. Don't worry, I always back up what I tell her even if it was accidental. She's definitely the type of horse to get an inch and take a mile. Haha
It's going to be a HUGE leap of faith when I finally ride her bridleless, I mean she has a pretty big stubborn/dominant/what have you side and she spent the last 23 years of her life (before me) engaging solely in getting her way or the highway. I know though that once we do it and she realizes that I trust her that much, she'll love it. Kinda like the first time I rode her bareback, in a halter, with the leadrope for my rein, she got pretty excited (in a bad way) but once she figured out that it could be fun, she was all good and now she loves being ridden in a halter, bareback.
    11-09-2009, 09:31 PM
Lol, yeah. I only have one mare that I can do it with, as of now, because I haven't had the time for the others recently. It's really fun though! Ugh, I know that type of horse. Don't worry though, as long as you always back it up, she'll get it.

It does take a while though. That's the hardest part, is getting out there and doing it... Over and over again. Lol. Worth it in the end though.

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