Stacey Westfall's Bridleless Riding - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 06-05-2009, 09:50 AM Thread Starter
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Question Stacey Westfall's Bridleless Riding

I'm planning on starting to train my 6 year old TN Walker to go bridleless sometime this summer. The problem is that without the bridle, you loose collection. I'm afraid that he won't do his Running walk bridleless, instead he'll do his trot. I can not sit is trot. It's SO bumpy that I'll just fall right off. Should I train him to running walk w/ a que, but I don't know how that heck anyone would do that . . . or should I just sit his trot and fall off everytime?
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post #2 of 8 Old 06-06-2009, 03:03 PM
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More power to you! I feel for you with the dreaded gaited horse trot! My MFT mix would transition into and out of it like a plane stalling and landing with a flat tire, ha ha. I would suggest starting the bridleless training with a bit and bridle on your horse, but only pick up on the reins to ask for collection, and to remind him to remain in and refine a collected frame, while steering with your legs and a neck rope, driving the collection from behind. I'm not terribly familiar with Stacey Westfall's training, but that is how I would approach your collection issue. You can also use the bridle to cue your horse to gait. When you minimally have to use the bridle to refine and perfect, try moving to a halter with reins or 2 lead ropes, the idea being to back from mouth cues to face cues to sheer habitual collection or perhaps a vocal or neck rope cue. If your horse collects really well now, it shouldn't be too difficult to use the bit only to reinforce the collected frame. Even if you still have to touch the reins for gaiting or collection, and steer by the neck rope, that's still a heck of an achievement! If the gaiting bridleless doesn't work out, I rode rising trot on my MFT mix for a long time. The roughness of the trot made it easy to post, if not impossible to sit ! I've never heard of a gaited horse going bridleless, but that doesn't mean it can't be done! Good luck!
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post #3 of 8 Old 06-06-2009, 04:04 PM
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I've started riding my RMH bitless in a Dr. Cooks. She is doing well and I haven't had any trouble getting her to collect. Is that what you want to do, or are you talking completely head gear less ?

"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened..."
- Anatole France
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post #4 of 8 Old 06-07-2009, 09:37 AM Thread Starter
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Completely bridleless is what I'm looking for. No bridle, halter, neckrope, saddle, nothing. But I definatley understand that it takes years to get to that point, but I'm going for it. Thank you very much for your advice Scoutrider. I'll probably fall off his trot, die, and end up on the news for being the first person to die because my horse trotted :P. Thing is I can't post in my saddle because the stirrups are too long (that's as short as it will go) and I can't give him leg ques if I'm posting.
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post #5 of 8 Old 06-07-2009, 12:44 PM
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Can you punch more holes in your stirrup leathers?

"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened..."
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post #6 of 8 Old 06-07-2009, 04:51 PM Thread Starter
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Woah, I NEVER thought of that! That's brilliant! Thanks! :)
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post #7 of 8 Old 06-09-2009, 11:59 PM
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I would think there is someway to teach a horse to remain collected even bridleless; maybe see if you can find some lit. from gaited, or dressage riders\trainers on how they do it.

I have a long way to go on my Appy before I can go bridleless with him, but I can't wait to get there! My boy that I lost, I was just starting to get there; he was solidifying leg cues...:(

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."
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post #8 of 8 Old 06-18-2009, 01:30 AM
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another thing is to get him to really want to gait instead of trot. Put him in the round pen and whenever he does his running walk take all of the pressure off of him. Eventually all he'll want to do is his running walk. Another thing, my TWH is trained to running walk with one kiss and then lope with two kisses (same as Stacy Westfall, but she has trot instead of running walk, obviously). That way he only trots when I extend him instead of collect him. Even if your boy is trained differently it shouldn't take long to retrain him. It's worth a try.

"Maieutic Manege"
The art of horsemanship through sharing new ideas with one another
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