Establishing the basics for tackless riding

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Isn’t this every equestrians dream come true: To gallop along the beach, with the wind in your hair (preferably at sunset) just you and your horse? :) The picture above is me, Linda Barrett and my wonderful horse Picasso and I am going to tell you how I came to be able to do this.

Step 1: Respect

You cannot force your horse when riding with no tack. You need your horse to be a willing partner and not coerced into this in anyway. Mutual respect is vital.

I spend a huge amount of time with Picasso on the ground, playing games or just generally hanging out with him and this is the first thing I would recommend everyone to do.

Step 2: Voice commands

Once a good relationship has been established the next step is to teach the horse voice commands, if they don’t already know them, in a round pen. So teaching them to go and stop on voice commands.

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Step 3: Introducing the neckrope

Once this has been perfected you can introduce the neck rope, use it while riding with your bridle. Ask your horse to woah by pulling gently on the neck rope, hopefully if your ground work has been established well enough he will stop. If not back this up with the bridle until your horse understands.

For steering I put the neckrope slightly up the neck and gently put pressure on the side I want them to turn away from again, backing up with the bridle if necessary.

Eventually after a lot of practice, you will be able to take the bridle off and ride just with the neckrope. It is very very important though to make sure your horse is 100% listening to your cues when you do this. Always ensure you are working in a small enclosed area with someone on hand to help as safety is paramount.

Here’s a film of me riding tackless on the beach: 

Follow me on Instagram @lindahorsingaround for more pics of me and Picasso.

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Linda comes from Ireland and has owned Picasso for nearly 13 years. She used to compete in eventing for many years but at 22 Picasso has now retired from competing so we they have changed focus to tackless riding and liberty using clicker training. They are delighted to be sharing their journey with over 15000 people on instagram. @lindahorsingaround

  • Beth

    This is so amazing, thank you for this!! It will hopefully help me!! I have been following you on Instagram since you had about 5000 followers I think!! My name is @flyinghigh_wilkinson incase you were wondering who I was! (Probably not but!) I love Piacsso and your bond is truly inspiring!