So That Happened

So That Happened

I joked with a barn friend last night that I am turning Simon into a trick pony… that may or may not be true.  Last night when motivation to do proper flat work was at an all time low, I got out a stirrup leather and put it around his neck.  My theory?  See how he would do riding from just a neck strap.

We walk, trot, cantered pretty much without touching the reins at all.  He was a little sticky on his canter to trot down transition, but he’s bad about that with a bit… so it didn’t surprise me.  After I had gone both directions, did circles, figure 8’s across the ring, and backed all with the neck strap I asked my friend if I should drop the bridle.


“Sure.  What’s the worst that could happen?”

I pondered.  Realistically, I figured worst case scenario I would have to ride him into the arena fence to stop him.

“Well you’re here to catch my horse when he runs away!”


So I hopped off, dropped my bridle, and hopped back on.  At first Simon was like “Where is my head control device?” but then he quickly settled back down into listening to the neck strap.  We were able to walk/trot both directions, and cut across the diagonal and stop and back.  Then I picked our better canter direction, and bravely went where no Lauren and Simon had gone before.


And my wild Thoroughbred loped around on the right lead like a relaxed western pleasure pony.  Okay, more like hunter under saddle pony… but still.  I circled him, walked and gave lots of pats.


Riding bridleless was really fun and I can’t wait to try it again.  Hopefully next time I’ll remember to lower some jumps so I can be cool like the $900 Facebook Pony and hop over some jumps sans bridle!  I do need to find a longer/better strap though.  My stirrup leather was way too short, so I had to ride with my hand out a lot further than normal.  Just went back to my western days, but it felt awkward.


Have any of you ridden your horse bridleless?  I wonder if I can do this bareback by the end of the summer?!?

21 thoughts on “So That Happened

  1. So fun! I used to this on my pony Fandango all the time…but without a neck strap. He was completely trained off the leg and whip. Those were the days.

  2. I used to do everything with my horse bareback and bridle-less. Granted there’s not much photographic evidence because I was a child and my friends and I would pull these shenanigans when no one else was around… the less evidence the better. It’s a blast!

  3. I went to Home Depot and bought a nice soft, flexible rope along with a clamp. Measure Simons neck and get a rope at the length you want then clamp both ends in the clamp. I wrapped the clamp end with vet wrap and it works really well!

  4. Eep so fun, right?! I can’t wait for Red to be home so I can do more “trick training” 😀 You and Simon look great! I just bought a neckrope for myself out of the same material of a lead rope. Sooo much easier.

  5. Awesome! I need to try this with P, although probably in a ring because otherwise he would realize his freedom to eat grass and ignore me, lol. Trying something like that with Stampede sounds like a winter/while we are trapped indoors and too bored to spook at silly things activity.
    I should have put in my response to the comment you left me, I am selling my Coolback pad if you want to get one cheaper to try for future bareback adventures. Email me if you are interested. 🙂

  6. BALLS! Giant. Yours.

    I walked Archie around once without a bridle, but I didn’t have the luxury of a neck strap. I just had stupidity and my body weight and legs. I’m actually going to braid a neck strap soon, though, because I’m quietly chasing my carrot-stick dreams (or not).

    Dude, totally proud of you.

  7. I remember telling the trainer where we bought Dee from that I’d ridden her bridleless through some reining maneuvers and he was like “you did what now?”

    I broke down and bought a made for the task item which was probably over priced but whatever. Basically a piece of lariat that allows you to slide adjust the loop size. I like it because it’s stiff enough that if you really wanted you could hold it in such a way as to have it not touch the horse at all, and then when you do touch the horse with it I think the stiffness also makes signals pretty clear.

    There is definitely something special about riding bridleless.

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