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Friday, November 12, 2010

Bridleless Riding, transitioning racehorses to bridleless horses

Many people that know Dallas and I know that we enjoy riding our track ponies bridleless. Some people think we are just showing off and in a way they are right. We are showing the retrainability of exracehorses. If a horse recently retired from racing can ride without a bridle there is a definitely possibility that horse could be retrained for anything.

It all started with a paint gelding I purchased in 2006 from quarterhorse trainer Roe Gordon. Roe had loaned the horse to the Lone Star Park outrider to use during morning training at the track. The horse, appropriately named Spot, was a quick super flashy thing with catlike moves. You could see that he had some previous reining and or cutting training in his past. I really liked the looks of this horse and inquired about purchasing him.
When I asked Roe if I could arrange a test ride before buying the horse he said he would ask the outrider to bring him over after training. After training I received a phone call from Roe, laughing himself silly, saying the outrider said I wasn't a good enough hand to ride a horse like Spot. Me being the hard headed easily wound up type person I am I told Roe, 'Well, I was going to have him vetted, but not now, just come get your check', and Dallas and I went to pick up Spot.
When we arrived at Spot's stall. When we open the gate he wheeled around. As Dallas stepped in the stall to halter him he wheeled away again. After 2 or 3 more attempts Dallas looks at me and says, "HOW MUCH DID YOU PAY FOR THIS HORSE???"
After we caught him and made our way back to the barn our vet, Diamond W's Dr. Jacks, arrived. I told him about purchasing Spot and he said, "I sure wish you would have told me. You have to tranq him to shoe him, tranq him to clip him, in fact you have to tranq him to tranq him". I immediately got the 'look' again from Dallas.
Needless to say within a very short time Spot improved leaps and bounds. He loved life and his new stable pony job and never needed any tranquilizer, just a calm quiet hand.
We began training Spot to ride bridless at Louisiana Downs. He loved it. Dallas put together our first bridleless collar. Spot was the closest I think we will ever have to having a horse with telepathy. He new what you wanted before you could ask for it. Shortly after arriving in New Orleans for the Fair Grounds meet East Coast trainer Steve Klesaris fell in love with Spot. We sold him at the end of the meet for $15,000. (That time I gave the look)
Since then we have trained many horses to ride without bridles. Texas Horse of the Year Lights On Broadway, Outrider Pony Kansas, and Dallas current rides retired racehorse Eye Man Who. I am currently riding Majestic Commander, stake winner of over $250K, as my totally bridleless stable pony.

Dallas and I operate a non profit organization called Remember Me Racehorse Rescue. We have many horses donated to our program yearly that we rehab and retrain after their careers at the track are over. We rely totally on donations from horse lovers, breeders, and friends to keep our program going.
We recently started a new website, offering information about bridleless riding and how you can purchase a bridleless collar for yourself. 100% of the proceeds from the collars will go to our rescue efforts. Yeah, it takes some training and some trust but it will be one of the best experiences you have with your horse.
Please consider making a tax deductible donation to Remember Me Racehorse Rescue to help us help retired racehorses in their transition from the track to the families that will love them. Donations can be made through the RMR website by clicking the paypal button or by check to the address on the site.
For more information about adopting or sponsoring a horse in the RMR program go to or call Donna Keen 817-689-1214.