Stacy Westfall's first time riding bridleless on Newt

Yippy! Newt is giving bridleless riding a try!

This is a video of the first time I took the bridle off Newt and rode him around. Newt is six years old in this video and I started his under saddle training as a two year old.  I had been practicing the cue system during his entire training. For several months before this I had also been tying the reins up and focusing on riding with only my body, leg and voice cues. I chose to ride with a neck rope (one of my reins removed from my bridle) because Newt liked the familiar feeling of the neck rein cues and was more relaxed and confident.

Please realize that many, many hours of training have happened prior to this and you should not try riding bridleless unless you are confident that you have a clear communication system with your horse that doesn’t rely on the bridle in case of an emergency. The prior sentence is not meant to be reversed to imply that the bridle should be your emergency system…but the reality is that for many people the bridle is their strongest form of communication with their horse in an emergency.

If I sound a bit concerned it is because I know that other videos of me riding bridleless have inspired many people to give it a try. Many have had success but there have been a few that have been injured because they (either horse or rider or both) were not properly prepared. Just last year I met a trainer who said one of his youth girls broke her leg while trying to imitate my ride.

Clear communication through consistent training is the key…I’m just saying don’t just pull the bridle off and hope for the best as it isn’t fair to either you or your horse 🙂

This was videoed in February 2015 while we were in California. You may also find it interesting that I have only ridden him bridleless a handful of times between then and now as I am still continuing to advance his ‘in the bridle’ training.


  1. Nancy Burroughs on June 6, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    Wow! So enjoyed the newest DVD with Jack. It was very inspiring and I can hardly wait to get out to the barn. Even my broke horses will benefit from what I learned. We have happy horses and you have made ours even happier. It’s fun following you and Jessie. Like the trip to the vets office. You sure show us the value of commitment. God bless all of you. Thank you for sharing that Jessie introduced you to Jesus. Loved that!

  2. Kristy on May 7, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    This is really amazing! Awesome job to both you and Newt!! I love how patient and how much time you spend training. I couldn’t agree more with you how many hours needs to go into training and spending time with your horse. Not only do you build the relationship of trust but also setting each other up for success 🙂

  3. […] Stacy Westfall’s first time riding bridleless on Newt  […]

  4. Paula on May 6, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    Really neat to see how slow you start and how you give him time to think. Thanks for the video. I think I’ll try some of these maneuverability exercises with the bridle. 🙂

  5. Lesia Lowe on May 6, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    Great job Newt!! ….. Bahaha at the look you give Jesse at the :19 second mark….. just curious….do you and Jesse ALWAYS agree on training methods or do yall have some methods that each other uses but the other one dont??? … I hope I didn’t confuse you with that question. 🙂

    • Stacy on May 6, 2015 at 10:17 pm

      Lol, I was trying to understand what he meant by ‘freezing up’.
      As for agreeing, oddly, yes. Mostly because we both question each other about why, why, why. While we do agree, we also have different techniques that we tend to use that are different. Another way of saying this is that if there are 10 different ways to do something, Jesse might tend to use one of those more than I do. My turn…did I confuse you?

      • Lesia Lowe on May 6, 2015 at 11:11 pm

        well…. yes…you did confuse me when I first read that…. but after reading it 3 more times I think I understand…lol… so..can I ask one more question?….. will us (fans) ever see you doing another bridleless/bareback routine??…. I remember seeing a video someone posted on youtube (you/Roxy/Maggie) of you saying that your next routine would be with them… Templeton Thompson was singing your song…… but then Roxy died and then Vaquero and I guess Maggie is retired…. so I was wondering if you have given up on that dream… or have you even thought about at all?

        • Stacy on May 7, 2015 at 2:07 pm

          I am a big believer that when the time is right, things will happen. My job is to be prepared. I don’t know if that will happen again or not. I work my horses and give them opportunities but they get to make choices too. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. I don’t lose sleep over it but I don’t sit on the couch thinking it will ‘just happen’ either. I work and then let the chips fall where they may…thats the mystery of life. Two years ago if you told me I would be living full time in a motor home I would have laughed at you…but I did leave the door open 🙂

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