Sand flying. The sound of approaching surf almost drowning the muffled staccato of hooves-on-beach. Bareback and bridleless, your hands buried in your horse’s mane, sun on your skin and wind in your hair–who HASN’T indulged in this riding fantasy?
Although your geographic location may indeed identify surf and beach as purely fantastic, a bridleless romp on horseback that is all about fun and freedom and not at all about hold-on-and-pray-for-your-dear-life is completely within the realm of reality. It all comes down to a little from you (that is, your body control and balance) and a whole lot from that thousand-plus-pound horse of yours (his body control and balance).
World famous horse trainer Lynn Palm (winner of 34 World and Reserve World Championships, and four “Superhorse” titles, among others) maintains that “collection” is the key to getting your horse to be light, balanced, and willing, and ready to take on any riding challenge with you on board. This isn’t just about a headset–this is about changing your horse’s way of going incrementally, and through TOTALLY doable exercises.
Too many of us engage in the push-pull, “kick the horse into the bridle” while sawing his nose down, mistakenly thinking that the result is at all desirable or ideal for the horse. This usually isn’t our fault, as until now collection has been misinterpreted, poorly defined, and badly taught at all levels and in all disciplines. Lynn is striving to change all that through her clinics (catch her at Equine Affaire in Ohio, April 7-10, 2011) and her latest book THE RIDER’S GUIDE TO REAL COLLECTION…on sale this month at the TSB bookstore (along with other great horse training titles–check ’em out HERE).
Lynn performed bridleless at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky, on her gorgeous stallion Rugged Painted Lark: