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Ever try riding without any headgear?

Ever try riding without any headgear?

Postby daniel77 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:03 am

Just curious if anyone out there has ever tried riding bridlless, or in just a halter, without the rope tied around? I do this a fair bit, and think that most people would be pleasantly surprised to see how much control they still have over their horse, even without the bit and reins. Keep in mind that I'm not talking about running wide open in a 2500 acre pasture, but first starting out in a round pen and then arena when you feel comfortable.

What do ya'll do to "push the envelope"?
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Re: Ever try riding without any headgear?

Postby kninebirddog » Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:43 am

I used to do that...to some degree working a couple ranches while i was in California...My horse and I could negotiate livestock gates and i never once had to pick up the reins..I did a lot with out ever touching the reins

I had one horse that i could work in a smaller pen with out a bridle or anything and cut a cow out he would get a bit to excited and sometimes we didn't get the cow i wanted but he still worked it lol

If one really thinks about proper handling we do everything backwards on a horse if we are training properly we should be going to lighter and lighter bits to no bit versus harsher and harsher bit

I also believe there is no such thing as a hard mouth horse only that the horse has learned no matter what it does, the rider never gets out of the mouth

Proper body positioning and leg cues will tell a horse a whole bunch if we just remain consistent :wink:
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Re: Ever try riding without any headgear?

Postby daniel77 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:10 am

I couldn't agree more with your assessment of how we go to bigger and bigger bits as we get more and more control. I've started a pile of colts in nothing but a halter, swinging the lead rope around their heads according to which way i want to go. If that is enough for the first three rides, why do we need a big ole 8" shanked bit with a 2" port after 3 years of riding? I think you should have to have a license to purchase some of the bits that are out there. In the wrong hands, which is 98% of the hands out there, those suckers can REALLY cause some damage. I use a plain sweet iron w/ copper inlay 3/8" O-ring snaffle for 95% of my riding. For the end of the two year old year, I'll go to an Argentine snaffle, and a short-shanked correction bit. Three year old year moves up to a 6" correction bit and a Jr. Cutter, or C bit. Never have really needed much more than that, although I do have quite a collection of various snaffle bits. I do go to twisted wire and smaller diameter mouth pieces on certain horses for limited amounts of time, but usually accomplish what I need to in a few rides and then back to plain jane snaffle.

I mostly just ride 2 year olds, so i don't have a very extensive big bit collection. Haven't met many that I couldn't do anything I want to with just a snaffle. I will say though, that there is a great variation in the amount of "feel" that individual horses have. Some are just NUMB to pretty much everything, while others are like riding a deer. I prefer the highly sensitive ones, but wouldn't use that sort to teach my son how to ride. They all have their place, but if I'm gonna be on one for very long, I'm going to get sick of having to push, pull, and kick every time I want them to move.
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Re: Ever try riding without any headgear?

Postby kninebirddog » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:06 pm

No doubt on the bits and needed a license for using them talk about barbaric...This one gal I felt so sorry for her horse she had a sliding gag hackamore and proudly sat on her hgorse saying that if her horse wouldn't do what she wanted she would rip it a new mouth :evil: ..

My fav is the smooth cheek snaffle...I started using that bit when I went to a john lyons symposium..When I went to his symposium Josh was under 10 years old already watching his daddy like a hawk...
The other I really liked is Richard Winters...he apprenticed under pat parelli Pat is good also but he tends to show boat to much for my liking on young horses...A prime example of what I talk about is in a contest title "In a Whisper" though Cameron won the contest I respected Josh stopping when his horse was letting him know it was getting over whelmed and Pat He showboated to much for my liking but is ability with a horse is much better then most will ever dream of being

When I started my horses I was riding them bareback before putting a saddle on...plus I taught being saddled from both sides..for me it just made sense instead of hoisting the cinch and everything over to plop down on a horse from the right hand side saddling from the left you can set the saddle much easier ..

I also taught a couple of my horses to lay down for me to get on them with a bad lower back and hips that made it easy..Now My one horse every once in a while when I made him lay down I would cue him up he would raise his head look at me and lay his head back down...Tell me horses don't have a sense of humor :roll:

There are many thing I miss about horseback riding and working with horses..My back and knees don't miss it though :cry: Last time I did a 30 minute stake I had to get help to get off the horse my knees hurt so bad..talk about embarrassing.
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Re: Ever try riding without any headgear?

Postby BigShooter » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:28 pm

You people as so beyond me in experience that I probably shouldn't post. I rode some when I was a teenager and little did I know how spoiled I was until last fall. I haven't ridden much for years. I borrowed a bomb proof gaited horse for a trial last Sept. Like a rookie I had the reins a bit too tight to begin with. As soon as I loosened them up the horse tested me. Eventually we found the happy compromise.

The horses I rode as a youth all neck reined and handled with knee pressure as well. Those horses didn't require much of a bridle. Without being able to neck rein, dragging that horse's head around (my exaggeration) last fall was like going from a 1971 Mustang to a 1971 Pinto (Fords that is).

However, as four of us in the gallery rode through a ground wasp's nest with horses and riders alike getting stung, she took care of me.

I equate bridles & training a bit to e-collars & training. The more well trained and compliant the animal is & the more experienced you are, the less you are prone to overuse the gear.
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Re: Ever try riding without any headgear?

Postby ACooper » Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:07 pm

I am by no means experienced with horses, I had a TWH that was a better horse than I deserved. I used to tie a piece of bailing twine in a loop put it over his head and jump on bare back, by the time he passed I had probably put more miles on him that way then tacked up, I used to walk out to the pasture and jump on and follow the dogs around, or just cruise the farm almost daily. I hope in the next few years when I am in the market for another horse I can find one as good.
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Re: Ever try riding without any headgear?

Postby CherrystoneWeims » Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:26 pm

daniel77 wrote:Just curious if anyone out there has ever tried riding bridlless, or in just a halter, without the rope tied around? I do this a fair bit, and think that most people would be pleasantly surprised to see how much control they still have over their horse, even without the bit and reins. Keep in mind that I'm not talking about running wide open in a 2500 acre pasture, but first starting out in a round pen and then arena when you feel comfortable.

What do ya'll do to "push the envelope"?


I had to ride like this at the start of all my lessons when I was riding dressage. It made me use my seat and legs instead of depending upon the reins and bit. I was also made to ride almost the whole hour long lesson with no stirrups. And no hands when jumping cavelletti's.

My favorite bit is an eggbutt snaffle. We could only use a snaffle with no martingale in lower level dressage tests. I shudder when I see most FT horses with harsh bits. Come on people learn to ride and train your horse correctly!!!
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Re: Ever try riding without any headgear?

Postby tn red » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:03 pm

This is the most talented bit of horseperson ability I have ever seen. There are many videos of her on YouTube. I have pasted a link below.
This is the video of her at QH Congress. No tack to speak of.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yl0ukPkR ... re=related
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Re: Ever try riding without any headgear?

Postby kninebirddog » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:11 pm

CherrystoneWeims wrote:
daniel77 wrote:Just curious if anyone out there has ever tried riding bridlless, or in just a halter, without the rope tied around? I do this a fair bit, and think that most people would be pleasantly surprised to see how much control they still have over their horse, even without the bit and reins. Keep in mind that I'm not talking about running wide open in a 2500 acre pasture, but first starting out in a round pen and then arena when you feel comfortable.

What do ya'll do to "push the envelope"?


I had to ride like this at the start of all my lessons when I was riding dressage. It made me use my seat and legs instead of depending upon the reins and bit. I was also made to ride almost the whole hour long lesson with no stirrups. And no hands when jumping cavelletti's.

My favorite bit is an eggbutt snaffle. We could only use a snaffle with no martingale in lower level dressage tests. I shudder when I see most FT horses with harsh bits. Come on people learn to ride and train your horse correctly!!!


No kidding...I see some many people head out on a horse that is so wound up and not supple..even a gaited horse when suppled and relaxed gaits with rider just behind the shoulders in a manner where they can ride with the horse can move much better then with someone who is straight up on top of their motion tense and in a hurry actually shortening their gait some with their tense body position
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Re: Ever try riding without any headgear?

Postby daniel77 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:46 pm

tn red wrote:This is the most talented bit of horseperson ability I have ever seen. There are many videos of her on YouTube. I have pasted a link below.
This is the video of her at QH Congress. No tack to speak of.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yl0ukPkR ... re=related


She is a very talented horsewoman, though I can't stand to watch that tail switchin' mare she always rides. A horse that does that is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me... Some folks just can't be pleased :twisted:
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Re: Ever try riding without any headgear?

Postby Kiki's Mom » Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:15 am

[quoteCome on people learn to ride and train your horse correctly!!!][/quote]

Nobody claimed trhe FT crowd were horsemen!!! LOLOLOL. The FT people have a thing or two to learn, agreed :wink: Makes me crazy....
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Re: Ever try riding without any headgear?

Postby RayGubernat » Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:58 pm

heck's bells man! Every time I get on the back of a horse I am pushing the envelope. I thank the Good Lord that I have been fortunate enough to have horses that are far better at what they do than I am as a rider. And that is the dyin' truth.

If I really want to push the envelope, I put a puppy in a roading harness, single-O, without an experienced dog also in harness, and head out. THAT can be a real adventure. :lol:

It is amazing to me how fast a horse can spin in place, so that it does not get wrapped up by the checkcord when the puppy decides to do a lap around the horse...just for fun.

By the way, you know you have a horse that is worth their weight in gold when it DOES get wrapped up and it justs stands there, calm as dishwater, even though his eyes are buggin uout and you know he wants to explode... while you take the cord off the back of your saddle, pass it around the front of your horse so you can get your legs out and actually dismount... and then stands there patiently while you unwrap the rest of the checkcord from the horse's legs or worse, from under its tail. That my friends is a keeper.

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