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I would like to teach my mare to ride bridleless. She kinda sorta gets the idea, but I dont want to confuse her lol. So I was wondering how yall would teach a horse to move only off of leg pressure. Would you use both hand and leg aids slowly useing less and less hands? Or would you add alot of leg pressure and when she moves like you want take away the pressure and each time ask for a longer response? And what about the stop. She responds to light pressure on the bit, but I didn't really feel her responding to seat aids that well. maybe just a small slow down.
 

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When I train a horse... I teach them to move off pressure when im on the groun before I get on their back. Then once on their back... and use my legs. If they dont understand I keep my leg in the correct position and ask with my hands. As soon as they respond I let off my hands and see if they will continue in the circle with just my legs. Then I will switch legs and ask for a circle the other way. Once they understand I will start figures 8. And I keep doin that until I never have to use the bit.
As for the stop... I teach mine that as soon as my legs pull of them... that means whoa. And I will always 1) pull legs off 2) say whoa 3) If they still havent stopped then I use the bit. Once again I keep doin this till the bit isnt nessecary.
I had my 8 yr old geldings headstall come off in a cutting competition.. and I was still able to finish my ride. And I can ride my 3 yr old around without a bridle. Hope this helps.
 

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The goal of riding with no bit/bridle can be achieved through several courses of training and many of them require a bit.

Stacy Westfall states the her horse that she won the world freestyle with was "Already a finshed reiner" when she started working with the horse.
She worked with the horse for TWO YEARS in preparation for the show.

Bob Avila regularly slips the bridle off the horse during a demo and rides the horse through the maneuvers without anything on the horse's head.

I think it largely depends on what level you would like to ride at and your goals for the horse and yourself.
 

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If your horse doesn't handle very lightly when it is all tacked up then all you will be doing is stealing a ride bridless. Most of the amatuer videos you see on this forum or youtube are of people just stealing rides.
 

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Birdleless should simply be a side-product of good training. I haven't done bridleless on my boy in months, and i'm *hoping* to get a viedo of us doing it this weekend. I fully expect him to just do it - It is simply an extension of the things we normall do.
 

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I agree, you do not teach a horse to go bridless. You work your cues away from the bridle to the leg only with the idea that the head is just an ornament. When you can get your horse solid without touching the reins for back up, you can slip it off.

I warn that you do not want to ride bridless too much though, as leg cues can get annoying and there is no real way to back them up. You want your leg cues to be quiet and light. Correcting with them alone can lead to tail swishing, head tossing, kicking and more.

Also, the longer the horse goes without being asked to lighten up through the bridle the heavier he will get. Legs to me, are secondary cues. Everything starts with softness in the bridle, leg is added, reins diminish, but remain the primary system if the legs fail.

Your horse could learn basic bridless riding in a matter of days, but to have self carriage and true control, you will have to spend a lot of hours in the bridle.
 

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I must admit I love the little youtube vidoes of people riding bridless in a round pen/small arena... they don't show them stopping or changing directions... just going around and around :lol:.

Everyone else has offered great advice. I know I enjoyed reading it!
 

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Lol Kevin! Me too :]
I warn that you do not want to ride bridless too much though, as leg cues can get annoying and there is no real way to back them up. You want your leg cues to be quiet and light. Correcting with them alone can lead to tail swishing, head tossing, kicking and more.

Also, the longer the horse goes without being asked to lighten up through the bridle the heavier he will get. Legs to me, are secondary cues. Everything starts with softness in the bridle, leg is added, reins diminish, but remain the primary system if the legs fail.
This is the reason I haven't done any bridleless in so long - He was doing exactly what you say, getting heavy. He would jut his head out in the fast stops and I didn't want to continue with no way to remind him to lighten his front.
 

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I agree bridless riding is a result of good training. If you can not get your horse to work off your legs and seat with little to no reins then you are not ready. If you can not drop your reins and get the horse to work then again not ready. I personally drop reins a lot when I am working my horses. This is a good way for me to make sure I am out of my horses way. It also helps me concentrate on what I am doing with my seat and legs.
 

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teeheehee, i have never actually ridden truely bridless, only with a rope around her neck.... but, it is so fun! dont worry bout it if it doesnt work the firsttime when you try it, all i did was hop on my horse with a rope around her neck and go, we can do everything we do in a bridle except collect..... but my horse isnt finished her training or anything so sure, i might be 'stealing a ride' but heck, i dont really care, i am having plenty of fun.
good luck! i hope it goes well!
 

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How would you train a horse to work when you're doing something that requires both hands? For instance mounted archery: there are certainly enough historical examples of cultures where this was a standard tactic, so it must be reasonably possible to do, no?
 

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jamesqf you would do just what has been said, practice leg and seat cues with the bridle until the horse is solid and not requiring you to back them up with the rein. I would gather lightness may not be the goal of all activities that would require losing the reins.

Remember too that horses are conditioned response animals and they also will learn patterns of behavior that result in the rider 'letting them be.' For example the native American's had to run alongside bison and shot without reins. The horses learned, much like today's cow horses, to stay with the herd on their own.

Keeping that in mind, the horse may be under a certain amount of control in that one condition, but in another situation there may be no control as the rider is not really in the horses head, they are just running a routine.

It takes hours of work to gain true bridless control, you have to get into your horses head and be able to stop unwanted actions in the thought and have your horse relying on you for direction
 
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