Originally Posted by Cherie
The people that ride bridle-less and finally tack-less start out by riding with a bridle on the very well-trained horse with the reins knotted and the rider sitting on the tails of the reins. They are only there to reinforce and 'fix' any lack of control without them --- but they are there. You should never even think about riding bridle-less until you can put in ride after ride without having to pick up the reins on the bridle you have on the horse for a back-up plan. YOU DO NOT TRAIN WITHOUT A BRIDLE!
The natural progression is to ride first with a wire loop around the horse's neck. Most well-trained reiners will ride this way anyway. The thing you have to work on the most is controlling the direction the nose points. That is the most difficult thing to achieve when you lay down the reins.
Once you have a horse that can ride without a bridle, you go back to practice sessions with the bridle on but not being used. Then, you can correct the slightest wrong move. If you don't, horses quickly learn that they can cheat -- a little at first and a whole lot after a few rides with no corrections.
YIKES! NO! Not a wire! Use a neck string. Wire is dangerous! THe ones I have seen do it have a string, about 1/4 inch in diameter......