Bridleless; unexpected bridle falls off during show jumping

I saw the photo. I knew what to expect. The video still choked me up!Congratulations to Gregory Wathelet (BEL) and his mount Conrad de Hus who managed a clear round at the Prix du Qatar despite this challenge!

Don’t be disappointed in the beginning of the video, after they play the video full speed they come back and do slow motion and different angles. My favorite is at one minute into the video, it is a head shot and you can see how when the horse landed from the jump the crown of the bridle slips forward over the ears and in the next few strides….it is going, going…gone!

At 1:18 you can see the rider looking at the problem but just after landing you can also see him looking to his next jump. In a split second he had to chose to go on or give up. Watch it. You can see it all on his face. What a great video!

Congratulations to Gregory Wathelet (BEL) and his mount Conrad de Hus who managed a clear round at the Prix du Qatar despite this challenge!



  1. Jaye on July 14, 2014 at 4:31 am

    Good quick thinking. Now just take the bit out 😉

  2. lanie rossi on July 7, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Honestly, I feel as if the horse was happier doing it bridle less… He carried himself with ears forward and more alert once it came off

  3. Rebecca on July 6, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    It’s interesting, thanks for sharing this! But, did you see the way he couldn’t influence his horse’s movement on the ground? He was just holding on to his neck and following him. My Paso Fino has learned liberty groundwork, so it’s easy to see the lack of attention that horse has for his rider (riders fault). I don’t think it really shows a connection, he still had bit pressure which he seems to use heavily in one spot towards the end, and the horse was probably so used to the repetition from practice that the guy only had to tell him “which next”. …….. Stacy, you have a REAL connection with your horses, and control over their movement. When you get off they still look to you!
    I wish I had the money for your body control dvd’s! 😛
    ~ God be praised for His work through you

  4. raymondtetteh on July 6, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    Reblogged this on raymondtetteh's Blog.

  5. Ray Corkum on July 6, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    I use my legs as if i wanted my horse to stop,so they are a little forward,i think of my legs as being used for forward motion to move off my leg not into it.

  6. JEssica on July 6, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    A great rider for continuing on but I wouldn’t really consider that bridle-less. The figure eight cavesson has the horses mouth locked down so he couldn’t loose it if he tried. Just changed the style of bit to a native american Lakota style

  7. Tiffany on July 6, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    I ride at a barn near my house… it is parelli natural horsemanship it is amazing! we do a lot of bridles riding as well as jumping. I Love the way this rider handled the problem now he knows he has a true connection with his horse.

  8. Jennifer on July 6, 2014 at 10:23 am

    To be a little contrarian – the bridle had a flash that was cranked down so tight, even when the bridle fell off and the headstall was flapping around, the bit was still in the horse’s mouth. He still had the same amount of control, but it had to have been a big distraction to both horse and rider.

    • Elisa Shapiro on August 26, 2023 at 2:04 pm

      I do not like to be contrarian, but if you are familiar with FEI rules, bridles are checked as you are going in the ring. Two fingers have to fit under any nose and, so there is no way that this noseband was cranked down.

  9. Sarah Bernier on July 6, 2014 at 9:47 am

    FANTASTIC!!! The rider’s face…”uh oh, now what? Hmm…on to the next jump, of course” Thanks for sharing, Stacy!

  10. katzarr on July 6, 2014 at 8:20 am

    I was thinking about this vid last night, and wondering why the bridle throat strap was not on the bridle; just sees odd not to have. Also, will he be disqualified from the ride? <3

  11. katzarr on July 5, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    kootos to the rider, but mainly, to the “Horse” <3

  12. katzarr on July 5, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    The difference between a “winner” and a loser! <3

  13. Beverly on July 5, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    I wonder if the groom will get the sack? I was taught to plait the bridle into the top of the horse’s mane – then it doesn’t come off. The rider and the horse did an excellent job under adverse conditions too.

  14. Laina M on July 5, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    Wow. A real horse and rider can do anything with or without a bridle. Give that horse a few extra treats for me! 🙂 That was amazing! Great job both to the horse and rider. (Though I wonder how it got off of him!)

  15. Julie Ottaway on July 5, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    The rider had a panicked look on his face. The horse was calm and confident. The rider should have noticed just by the horses body language and continued on. Just an observation. To me, that showed lack of confidence in the horse.

    • Emily B on July 6, 2014 at 6:27 pm

      I would love to see you jump the second half of what seems to be a 1.50m or higher course without even being a little shocked that your bridle flew off. Lack of confidence in either riding ability or horse was not even remotely displayed in the video or the pictures, as the rider kept going. As a rider who regularly schools Grand Prix horses, I understand the immense strength and power these horses have on the flat much less over fences. His ability to not only make the split second decision to continue on course, but also to keep quiet hands an nearly impeccable equitation is beyond most riders and has small room for criticism.

      • Else on July 7, 2014 at 5:34 am

        Totally agree w u, just wonder why on earth this calm and collected horse wears this ear/sound protection. Seems to me his focus and self-esteem was 100% ! (+ it makes the horses look like french waitresses…) 😉 ps , yes I do know what it is used for!

      • CWhitaker on July 9, 2014 at 5:12 pm

        I agree with you… At levels like this, having your bridle slip off is a big surprise. They did finish the course, Julie…
        I hate reading half of these replies that I have read. Riding a horse with no bridle in your backyard is not like jumping jumps that are touching 5’0″+ and rollbacks are on a dime or doing a full reigning pattern without a bridle…
        Then for the people criticizing why a groom come out to put a halter on. If you watched the video, you could tell the rider was trying to slow the horse with the reins around the neck. These horses are bred and trained to move forward (not play follow the leader)… Showing could NOT happen without the help of our grooms. Each groom is responsible for a certain horse or multiple horses, when you have 30+ horses from your barn showing and you have to ride most of them on the days before the amateur comes out to show (Tues, Wed, Thurs, and/or Fri, yes our show days start on Tuesday and end on Sunday) your grooms make it run…

  16. Tracy Johnson on July 5, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    I thought the horse handled the change very well he cleared 4 fences before the rider noticed, if he had carried on he may have had a clear round. He may have got brownie points for continuing on. So what did we learn from this video? Always always check your equipment before you enter the ring, trail etc. Most important.

    • Megan on July 6, 2014 at 12:16 am

      He did have a clear round! Those last 3 fences were the end of his course!

    • Jo Anne Ekhoff on July 6, 2014 at 12:30 am

      He had a clear round!

  17. Jennifer on July 5, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    I find it strange that the rider couldn’t put the bridle back on or didn’t, some little groom came out to do that. lol. wow…

  18. Rebecca Fetterman Vensel on July 5, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Beautiful to see, (as you have already shown the world, Stacy) that with communication and partnership, horse and rider can reach a level where the bit is just something the horse carries in his mouth.

  19. Lesia Lowe on July 5, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    that was pretty awesome…..was he the first bridleless jumper….his was UN-planned…. but you were the first bridleless ……first bareback…….first woman RTTH winner…… since those have been done by you….wondering what is your next “first”….. have you got something in mind??? …… DONT tell US…………..we all will be waiting to see it…. freestyle reining backwards??

    • Lissa Haun on July 5, 2014 at 11:06 pm

      Double Dan Horsemanship has already done turning around and freestyle reining backwards 😉

      • Lesia Lowe on July 6, 2014 at 11:33 am

        lol…yea Dan has done that (freestyle reining backwards)….he still had a bridle on …….right??….well it doesnt matter who …or how many others that do the same thing that Stacy has already done…. her rides seem effortless…..her horses always seem calm….. no one can compare…. she broke the mold…. she is amazing… :o)

  20. Sherri VanTassel on July 5, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    That’s TEAM WORK!!!

  21. Julia on July 5, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    Wow! Now THAT is an amazing horse! You could tell his rider was trying to hold the bit steady in the horse’s mouth despite losing the headstall, but he’s only human and with all that movement could only do so much to stabilize it, and the horse went ahead and finished his run! Shows how far horses will go to work with their team mate! I love it!

Leave a Comment




100% Private - 0% Spam

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

No one taught you the skills you need to work through these things.

Riders often encounter self-doubt, fear, anxiety, frustration, and other challenging emotions at the barn. The emotions coursing through your body can add clarity, or can make your cues indistinguishable for your horse.

Learning these skills and begin communicating clearly with your horse.

Click here to learn more.



Join the newsletter

Subscribe to get the latest content and updates by email.