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MinnickVerse 07-19-2011 06:51 PM

Bridle-less Riding?
My friend and I have starting teaching our horses to ride bridle-less, don't worry we didn't just go out and take off the bridle, we still have them on. Now we're in a halter and lead rope, the lead rope is the reins, tied to the other side of the halter. I was wondering, where to we go from here? I'm teaching my horse the leg cues I want to use on him to turn left and right and to stop and back. He's getting better at turning, but I don't know what to do now. Should we just practice what we're doing till we get it down (I know it will take a long time, most likely won't take off the bridle till next summer, maybe late spring) What should we do after that? Is there anything that I could do with the bridle and bit on? And we have an outdoor ring and is there anything i could do over the winter to help (yes we ride outside on the snow and sadly a little ice with special snow/ice shoes on them) Thanks in advance for any advice. :D

equiniphile 07-19-2011 06:58 PM

A good test is to completely slacken the reins and ride the horse. See if you can stop, back, turn, and have the horse respond completely off of your seat and legs. If you're a bit doubtful, it's a good idea to take the bridle off in a round pen and go from there. See if the respect disappears when the bridle comes off, or if the horse really listens to you.

Bridleless riding is a ton of fun; here's my gelding's first time:

MinnickVerse 07-19-2011 07:02 PM

okay thank you, the videos awesome! Problem is I don't have a roundpen ): He listens very well in the halter and leadrope, we cantered for the first time today, he listened well, I'd like him to pay attention a little more, I think he thought he could run around like he pleased, so i'm going to work on that more

SeeingSpots 07-19-2011 07:08 PM

you take everything OFF..

Thats it....nothing left to do. Hope your horse and you have the right relationship for him to trust, and obey you.

pintophile 07-19-2011 07:30 PM

There is nothing really spectacular about bridleless riding. If your horse is well trained and responsive, there's not much to it. Of course, Stacy Westfall-type stuff (spins, hard stops, galloping etc) takes some work, but just getting on and playing around doesn't take much. Both of mine can, and it's neat to do, but I know it's not on account of any incredible magikal bond with them-they just are good horses.

MinnickVerse 07-19-2011 07:37 PM

SeeingSpots, I don't think its good to just do it right away, my horse would get confused and not know what to do.

SeeingSpots 07-19-2011 07:43 PM

Hmmmm...No that's the next step. If she is NOT using her reins. But ONLY has them there to use as an emergency stop then she just needs to take it all off. Thats how I did it, and thats how I ride. You never know what your horse will think until you try. I thought my spooky mare was going to get confused and freak out. But all she did was look back at me with an expression as if to say "What took you so freaking long?"

So no I disagree, just go for it if your horse goes off just slide off.

smrobs 07-19-2011 08:13 PM

IMHO, being able to ride bitless/bridleless isn't something to be trained towards because really, it's not that hard to do. It should be nothing more than a byproduct of good training.

If the horse is not responsive enough for you to confidently ride without ever touching your bit/bridle (knowing that you can stop/turn him without the use of reins or bit), then you don't need to be riding him without a bit/bridle.

Once a horse is well trained enough to respond to your seat and legs and willingly and easily moves off of pressure everywhere on his body both on the ground and from the saddle, then teaching him to ride bridleless is as simple as just taking off the bridle.

nrhareiner 07-19-2011 08:14 PM

I do it with my reiner quite often. It is the end results of good training. nothing more nothing less.

Cherie 07-19-2011 09:08 PM

I used to do this a lot. I never trained them without a bridle. I never rode in a halter. I just hung the reins on the saddle horn until I was ready to get everything done without having to pick up the reins and could get it done VERY WELL.

But, leading up to that point, when the horse leaned a little here or pushed a little there, I would instantly pick up the reins and correct the horse -- pretty harshly if I thought the horse was taking advantage of the situation.

I rode with a neck string for quite a while (while keeping the bridle in place) before riding without the bridle there for a back-up.

I made sure I had good flying lead changes, very good speed control and very good stops before I ever did free style classes or demonstrations. Then, for all of my practice sessions, I would still have a bridle in place. I never used a halter -- only a neck string.

I have watched Stacy Westfall quite a bit and she also keeps a bridle on when she practices so she can correct very quickly and with firmness so the horse does not learn to take advantage. Of course, she takes it even farther by riding without a neck string for classes and demos. I find this much more difficult, mainly in her ability to keep a horse's nose to the inside throughout circles and lead changes.

I have seen many reining horses that performed their best stops in the free style classes where their riders could not pull on them. This speaks volumes.

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