Riding without a bridle. - Page 4 - The Horse Forum
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post #31 of 38 Old 07-05-2009, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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TroubledTB, Smorbs, Thanks, I would love to see pictures or even videos someday!

Flitterbug, Maybe I should make myself more clear. I'm not looking for someone to tell me that "Being able to take the bridle off is just a byproduct of solid training." To me I feel that yes a HUGE part of it is solid training, but I also feel that it's much more than that. I'm looking for someone to TELL me how they trained their horse step by step to ride without using a bridle. How they taught their horse things like cues, turning, extra...

And everyones opinions on "solid training" are different, so I'm looking for more ideas on that training that could someday bring my horse to be able to do things like Stacy westfall...

Last edited by White Foot; 07-05-2009 at 10:23 PM.
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post #32 of 38 Old 07-05-2009, 10:37 PM
Green Broke
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Does your horse have a good foundation right now? Can you get him to move by using your legs, butt? Same with stopping, turning?

Once your horse can do all that solidly with the bit on, then take a rope and swing it around his neck. You'll still have the bridle on in case you need it but you won't be using it. See how the horse responds. Is he listening and moving off your legs and butt?

That's going to give you an idea of where you are right now.

Work that way for awhile and make sure you are in a round pen or at least an arena.

If you are looking to do it how Stacy does, I'd take a look at her website. She has a bunch of info:

Westfall Horsemanship
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post #33 of 38 Old 07-06-2009, 03:44 AM
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I taught Chinga to ride with a halter, and I'm hoping to teach him bridle-less someday. I just slipped the halter over his bridle and off we went perfectly. You need a very good leg responding horse and very good legs.

Sir Success. Eventer.
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post #34 of 38 Old 07-06-2009, 07:42 AM
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Not necessarily. When I trained Denny, I honestly knew virtually nothing about really teaching horses much. He was the very first horse that I trained by myself and I did much of his training with no supervision. To this day, I have never taken the time to really teach him to yield from leg pressure and here in TX, responding from seat cues on the trail is pretty senseless because the wind blows so hard that many times, it is really hard to keep a balanced seat. Plus, I only ever ride trail or cow work which is all done outside. I don't usually train my horses for something that I will never, ever use. I am always getting blown completely off balance. With a 45 or 50 mph wind, it is hard not to. However, he is still decently responsive to cues from a small rope draped around his neck. He would get better if I would do it more often but I haven't really done it in years. I found an old pic, now I just need to get to where I can scan it. :)

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
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post #35 of 38 Old 07-06-2009, 09:55 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the information!
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post #36 of 38 Old 07-07-2009, 02:04 AM
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Do you have a small outdoor paddock? Is your horse ok with bareback stuff? I would just get on in the turnout and see if they take advantage of the fact that you are on them without any tack. That's all I really did. I mean it's not so much the teaching them to respond that we don't get the concept of right? It's the whole are you going to act like an idiot if I have no way to stop you thing that makes everyone nervous about taking off the tack. What's your horses personality? I've only ridden two horses bridleless, my mare who I have had from birth, so there's a foundation for you, and another who just choose to show her talent in going bridleless, another mare, I'm noticing a theme here. Are mare's more predisposed to going bridleless? Anyways, if your horse is not going to act stupid in a small paddock, try moving into a ring and seeing how much he/she will respond to just leg aids. My mare is a bit dull, so I think she is happy to just poke around, but her training did allow for me to kick her into a canter and hold her against the rail. I can sometimes change direction, and she is very understanding of the situation.
Hold up, I've ridden three horses bridleless, the bridle truly broke while I was out schooling and I somehow managed to keep a galloping horse in the ring and steer around jumps until a woman noticed me and closed the gate to the ring, but that was on accident. No seriously, not using this story to brag, the ground just didn't look that fun that day, but that is the level of calm I can possess even in an out of control situation, and how well I can get a horse to leg yeild, though I had a saddle then so I literally threw my weight to certain sides to avoid careening into jumps.
Back to the original topic, if it's just a matter of getting over the initial fear of not having any tack, do it in a small space and see how your horse reacts. Also, I don't consider riding without a bit as tricky as some people make it out to be, I switch regularly between having a hackamore or a bit depending on how much lift I want over the pole, it makes not difference to me other than as a tool/leverage if they have a bit in their mouth, I really don't think of it as a disadvantage, but I recommend it if you haven't tried, starting there perhaps? Hope this helps, you said you wanted more detailed instructions, and though I can't tell you the best way, I can tell you how i accomplished what I did.

Troubled TB ~"A thorn by any other name will prick just as deep." @-'--,---
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post #37 of 38 Old 07-08-2009, 03:16 AM
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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.
LOVE THIS, I agree 100%. All I do is train my horses and as a byproduct of the way I train I am confident in my ability to transfer that to brideless and bareback.

Ok, the way I started? I rode around using my breastplate and seat to stop. I tried steering like that, but found he got a bit stuck in the shoulder, so I moved to a neck rope. My biggest piece of advice? Put solid leg cues on your horse, and make sure they understand leg does NOT mean go faster. Also make sure you have a solid whoah off your seat. Two main things.

Also, I don't just hop on in a yard and do circles... I in no way think I am near Stacy Westfall but I do similar though more basic movements, partly because I don't do it enough to perfect it to that level, also because my horse isn't western trained. I will try to get pics/vids one day, but I ride in the open and do stops (different from a halt) rein-back, rollbacks, haunch turns, and begginning spins.

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post #38 of 38 Old 07-14-2009, 05:05 PM
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I've been riding the fat haflinger im training with a halter and reins almost always lately. he has terrible steering, doesn't understand what being on the rail means and he's incredibly lazy/fat, but he seems to much prefer the halter. everyone thought was going to die at first but he just really seems to prefer not having something pull on his mouth. he used to be a trail horse soley so i don't blame him for his bad manners. plus he's a baby, only 5 :)
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