Equestriun, you aren't quite getting what we are saying. I never set out to teach my horses to ride with a neck rope or respond off of leg for the sake of riding bridleless, that is how I ride anyway, bridle or not. Being able to take the bridle off is just a byproduct of solid training.
As I said before, the bit is a tool for listening, not for telling. If my horse is heavy on the right rein, then I know the center of balance has shifted to the right and the horse will fall to the right. The rider must use their weight to shift it center, the rein can help, but is secondary to the seat and leg. As far as steering, stopping, etc, that is not by bridle anyway, so why should it matter if it is there or not? If the foundation is solid, then the bridle is not needed. The more impulsion that the horse finds, the harder it is to keep the balance on the hind legs, and the more the rider will need the bridle to assist them in helping the horse to find the comfort in its own balance. That is why, although most of my horses are safe to ride bridleless in the open, down the road, wherever you want to go, I most always still use the bridle, because every moment that I am on that horse, I am training it.
So therefore, I stand by my statement that I have never set out to train a horse to ride bridleless, yet any of my horses that have been in training for any amount of time can ride bridleless without any instances where I don't feel safe. Am I going to run out there and jump on my green 3 yr old without a bridle? No, of course not. But you will never here me say "I want to train her to ride bridleless some day". I will say "I am training her to have a solid foundation and correct travel, where she can effectively use her hind legs and balance herself without relying on the rider. With this she will have a sound mind that will support us in the ring, on the trail, in a cow pasture, or in traffic. Her basic training will be mostly classical dressage to help her physically, and then we will go into cow work, as that is what she is bred for." I can promise you that once I accomplish most of that, I will be able to hop on her bridleless without any problem at all. However, that is not my goal, it is a byproduct of complete training. Is it easy, hell no. Whoever said training a horse well was easy? However, I have never trained a horse to ride without a bridle, I simply just train horses.