Most riders consider a bridle to be an extremely necessary piece of riding equipment. Most wouldn't think of mounting a horse without one. Fewer would think of jumping without one. Jan Snodgrass and her horse, Harry Who? think differently. Not only do they jump bridleless, they do it in front of large crowds-over narrow jumps, to music, and they have FUN!
Jan and Harry, a Cleveland Bay/Thoroughbred cross gelding, have been together for fifteen years. Together, under the tutelage of eventing coach Jimmy Wofford, they competed through advanced level 3-day eventing. Because of his very sensitive mouth Jan sometimes rode Harry bridleless. After his retirement from eventing Jan continued the bridleless work. Because Harry has always enjoyed jumping and showing off, Jan began the bridleless jumping exhibitions. Harry loves doing them just as much as he enjoyed eventing.
Jan has been riding for over 35 years. She is a TTEAM Practitioner 2, having studied the methods of TTEAM and TTouch founder Linda Tellington-Jones for over 20 years. Bridleless riding is a part of this training method which encourages partnership between horse and human. This method also includes work on the horse's body which develops relaxation, freedom of movement and promotes healing. All TTEAM training is done without the use of a round pen.
Jan and Harry have given bridleless exhibitions at the 2000 and 2001 Cleveland Bay Affair, the 2000 International Centered Riding Symposium, the 2001, 2002, 2003 Horse World Expo in Timonium Maryland, the 2004 Horse World Expo in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the 2005 and 2006 Equine Extravaganzas in Richmond, Virginia as well as at horse shows and polo games and parades in northern Virginia.
They begin their performances with a dramatic entrance, then mix together dressage movements and jumps over narrow free-standing coops. Their close relationship shines through. Jan thinks and Harry does. Their choreography flows to dramatic music. At the culmination of the performance, audiences are left wondering if bridles aren't just a bit overrated!
Epilogue: Harry and Jan did their last performance in 2006. Shortly after, he sustained and injury which sidelined him for several months and Jan decided a slower lifestyle was in order for Harry. As of 2016 Harry is 32 years old. He is currently happy and healthy and still enjoys quiet hacks through the countryside.