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?!?