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Wednesday, 15 May 2019

How To Train Your Horse To Be Ridden Without Tack

When we see a person riding their horse with no tack on in complete control and understanding, it really is an amazing sight.  The problem is, how the heck can WE train our horses this?!  

Well, it's actually pretty easy.  As long as your horse knows the basic aids and will actually focus on you.  

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Basic Aids Your Horse Must Know

For example, pulling back (slightly!) means slow down along with tightening your knees and bracing with your back.  

Speed up would be using your lower leg, 'pushing' with your hips and allowing roam with the neck rope.  

Turning would be a form of neck reining (or by using an indirect 'rein' ie *neck rope*).   So if you want to turn right you will use the neck rope the put pressure on the left side of his neck to 'push' him over.  You will also use your left leg to 'push' the horse and put more weight on your outside seat bone.  

Training With Tack & Neck Rope

Hopefully, before you start training your horse to be ridden with no tack you have already got a pretty well-trained horse.  
Your horse should understand basic aids from the rider and should be focused and listening to you at all times.  

You should tie your reins so that you can still reach them BUT they won't move around when you aren't holding them.  You can then practise using the *neck rope* as an aid but still stay safe.  

Now, start riding your horse with body and leg aids.  Start to train the horse to be turned, stopped, sped up, slowed down and normal transitions.  You can choose which neck aids are for which cue OR use the same aids as above.  

While you are using tack you should be training your horse to respond to this new neck rope without landing on the ground.  Only when your horse is completely responding to all of your aids can you take the tack off.  

Training With Only a Neck Rope

When you First start riding with no tack, ride in a round pen or enclosed space if possible.  If your horse is motivated by treats you should use these as a reward for responding to your aids.  

Obviously, you need to be smart about how you ride a horse who is new to not wearing tack.  Start with slow work like walk and trot only until you have complete control.  You can then slowly switch to riding schools, faster work and eventually, in un-inclosed areas.

You can also choose to use two *schooling whips* instead of a neck rope to steer your horse. 


I am not a horse trainer or any other equestrian professional.  I only give advice on horsey topics that I have experience as a horse owner in.  Please don't follow my advice without contacting a relevant equestrian professional.  


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