Look Ma, No Hands! Candice King Clinic Goes Bridleless to Make a Point

West coast native, East Coast staple, and World Class Grand Prix Show Jumper extraordinaire Candice King gave a clinic this week at Hawk Hollow Farm in Erieville, New York, and she really threw riders for a loop and made a point when she opted to take the bridle off her clinic horse.

“This is where hands are overrated, and bits and bridles are overrated!” Candice says as she trots out and then canters the big gray gelding.

Candice is completely unphased by the objects, people, and horses in the ring, working through the object lesson with the horse as he learns to carry himself and not depend on being held in place by the rider.

Instead, she communicates thoroughly with her voice, her seat and her legs to ask him to canter, stop, pop over a few fences, and practice his flying changes, all of which the horse appears to do effortlessly and increasingly seems to carry himself and stop seeking the bridle.

“A nice broke horse that carries himself as well as the rider – you can do anything you want with him.”

The concept of being less dependent on your hands was one that Candice continued to stress with her students throughout the weekend.

The six-year-old dutch warmblood gelding is currently the ride of Paul Halpern, an exciting up and coming Canadian rider. The pair recently placed sixth at the Final Canadian Series Six-Year-Olds.

The clinic was a fundraiser to benefit Team Leo Conroy, a run walk race team competing in memory of Leo Conroy to raise awareness about heart disease and stroke. (Also, you’ve got to check out this video of Candice doing push ups while balancing on poles in the standards, since pushups are part of a healthy lifestyle! This woman is a Goddess.)

Would you attempt this with your mount? I mean, granted, we’re not all Candice King, but the object lesson is certainly a powerful one!

Go Candice, and Go Jumping.