Branching out and going Brideless

While I still try to figure things out with Foster (we’ve got a wait-and-see timeframe of about a month), I’ve been wondering what I can do to stay motivated. It’s been hard not to get sour doing lap after lap around the covered, so, why not try something new?

Unless you count younger days lounging aboard my pony in the paddock, riding without [horsey] headgear is something I’ve never done. So, I read all of one google article on getting started, and decided Foster was a great candidate to try- he knows vocal cues (albeit on the lunge line), responds to leg pressure and seat, and is just generally a good guy.


I started out with a bridle on and the reins knotted high up on his neck. At first I was relying more on the neck strap (a crusty old stirrup leather in need of conditioning) than on my leg pressure, and while we had ‘whoa’ and ‘go’ ok, turning was a bit tricky. But we quickly figured it out and soon we were navigating the arena with ease.

So, you, know, why not take things to the next level. I turned on the camera again, and asked Foster to turn his head so I could slip off his bridle. I then chucked the bridle in the corner, and had our first go at for-realz bridleless riding. The trot and canter actually were surprisingly more easy to control for me, soΒ I played around with walk-canter, and turn on the forehand for giggles.

Obviously, as you can hear from my constant nattering to Foster, we had a blast. This was just the ride I needed after a day in the doldrums- doing something new and exciting and proving once again how awesome the spotted pony really is!

33 thoughts on “Branching out and going Brideless

  1. This is something I’ve always wanted to do with Val, but I don’t trust him to have too many of his own ideas. It looks like you guys had a lot of fun though!

    • I admit, at the start of the ride when I wasn’t using enough leg aids, there was a mare in the arena (this is when I still had the bridle as back up) and it was hard to concentrate, for both Foster and I. We’ll have to build up to doing it with traffic πŸ˜‰

  2. I will have to look up some instructions on this, looks so fun! I bet Mr. P could do it if I can convince him to listen to me instead of following his own agenda when he realizes he’s free. Although the worst he would do would be wander off to the nearest treat dispensing human or other food location.

    • The thing I realized in my one experience is that having control of the shoulders is key. That’s why my first attempts at just using the neck strap failed- because moving the base of his neck is not the same as moving the shoulders. So I used my legs to move his shoulders, and would move the neck strap slightly up his neck before using it to reinforce the turn. Seemed to work OK! You bet I’m going to try it again though to make sure it’s no fluke πŸ™‚

  3. Aw! Love this! I’ve always wanted to try this with Pig. I mean, I’ve ridden him bareback with just a leadrope, but wasn’t actually asking for anything. Knowing my cheeky horse, he’d take it as an opportunity to bolt. He’s not as sweet hearted as Foster…

    • That’s why I stuck to a closed arena.. see my response to Carly’s comment- I’m not brave enough (yet or ever, maybe) to try this outside of an enclosed area! πŸ˜›

  4. I’m glad I’m not the only one that just busts out a nasty old stirrup leather for this. Every now and then I’ll look into the fancy neck ropes, but nah. You guy both look like you’re enjoying yourselves! Love it!

    • I definitely thought of you and your amazing bareback and bridleless trail rides and I thought.. Nah. My balls are not that big.

      I will say I struggled a bit with where the kinks in the stirrup leather made it “catch” on his neck- it wasn’t quite as flexible as I’d like. Do you ever use anything else? A lead rope? Open to suggestions!

      • I’ve seen people use the roping type ropes. You know (or maybe not, I DID grow up in the midwest! Ha!), the waxy and stiff ones? They are round, so less likely to get stuck, and the stiffness helps you control where they hit…

      • I only use the stirrup leather, but it definitely is a pain sometimes. Not as flexible, and kind of short which makes holding it with two hands pretty much impossible. Google neck ropes though. Lots of really cool options out there!

        • That’s exactly the same issue(s) I’ve had with the stirrup leather. Maybe I’ll look into a snazzy neck rope. Never thought I’d say those words!

  5. Pingback: Photography Friday: Introducing Darcy | A House on a Hill

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