All riders dream of having an amazing bond and understanding with their horses, but for this rider and her horse, it's a reality. Nadine Lindblom, a horse trainer, has worked closely with Nina, the mare in the video below, to establish a strong connection and understanding. The pair's understanding of each other is so strong, in fact, that they put on a beautiful demonstration of bridleless bareback riding.
Bridleless bareback riding can be a beautiful way to connect with a horse, since you are riding without any artificial aids or tack. But it can also be dangerous if attempted too soon. If the horse doesn't understand or respect what you're asking, then you'll just be taken along for the ride.
Lindblom's demonstration shows a well-trained horse who fully understands what her rider is asking. Lindblom does a great job of staying centered as she rides, so she's able to communicate clearly, even without the use of reins.
If you want to progress to riding your horse bridleless (and eventually bareback at the same time), then it's important to realize that there's lots of training that must be accomplished before you can do this safely. According to trainer Julie Goodnight in an article on Horse Channel, you need to focus on changing how you communicate with your horse. Rather than relying on your reins, use your body weight and leg cues to steer and direct your horse. You'll also need to be very specific about what you're asking.
When you feel that you're ready to progress, then work on dropping your reins and steering your horse without any rein action. Your reins are still there if you need them, and you'll be able to practice safely without removing your bridle entirely. Test your horse by picking out specific paths you want to travel or points you want to arrive at. Make sure that you work your horse off the rail as well, so you're not always relying on the extra assistance of the shape of the ring.
Take things slow and be patient. Developing this training takes time, but if you put in the hard work, you may be able to ride your horse bridleless one day.