Mike Bridges is an internationally known clinician and bridle horseman in the California Vaquero Style with more than fifty five years of making his living on the back of a horse.
The California Vaquero Style can be traced to the style of riding brought to Mexico and Southern California from the Iberian peninsula by the Portuguese and Spanish Conquistador who explored these new worlds. It is this link to the Portuguese and Spanish Conquistador that resulted in the similarities in horsemanship of the California Vaquero, the Doma Vaquera of the Iberian peninsula and the French School of Classical Riding.
Mike Bridges includes in this book photos and descriptions that are the recipe for a bridle horse to get to the highest degree of excellence in performance. Mike has done an outstanding job in putting all of this down for others to learn and enjoy. He has mad a great contribution to the horse world. This book should be in every horseman's library. ~ Ernie Morris (California Vaquero, writer, western artist and rawhide braider- Templeton, California)
Any equine instructor with minimal knowledge can help a rider change common horsemanship mistakes. However, it is often the small, almost unrecognisable mistakes which cause our major horsemanship problems. Mike Bridges has a unique ability to not only help riders recognise these errors, but to help surpass the problem in the simplest way. His instruction helped fast-track my career and will benefit riders at all levels. ~ Zane Davis (National Reined Cow Horse Futurity Champion, National Stock Horse Futurity Champion, Multiple NRCHA Worlds Greatest Horseman Finalist)
After 15 years of working together at the ranch and helping with numerous clinics over those years, I have developed the utmost respect and admiration for Mike's horsemanship and his ability to teach and communicate. This book represents Mike's life work. I am confident it will be of significant value to all levels of horsemen who are interested in equine behaviour, the training process including many varying techniques, and the practical application of horsemanship, no matter what the discipline. ~ Terry Crofoot (Crofoot Cattle Co., Lubbock TX, 2-time Champion, 2-time Reserve Champion Rancheros Visitadores, One Man- One Horse Competition)
Having witnessed the results of 15 years of biannual horsemanship and safety clinics held at the ranch, we believe Mike Bridges is one of the most knowledgeable living masters of the Vaquero style of horsemanship. His understanding of a horse's bio-mechanics and mind are exceptional. The most unique aspect of Mike Bridges though, his ability to teach interested horsemen how to practically apply his knowledge and experience.~ Ray Marxer (The Matador Cattle Company, Montana)
Mike has a depth of knowledge and a lifetime of experience and tradition around horses and livestock. His understanding of the hackamore and the process to having a horse straight in the bridle is profound. This book is a testimony to Mike's willingness to share his knowledge and experience and should be read by all that are wishing to advance their horsemanship. ~ David Stuart (Horsemanship Clinician - David has held horsemanship courses throughout: Australia, New Zealand, USA, United Kingdom and Europe, Japan, United Arab Emirates)
When I listen to Mike Bridges when he teaches, it reminds me of my time at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. Mike knows so much about riding, biomechanics and so many fine details about the aids, that it is easy to get a widespread understanding about horses. When we met, Mike was asked a question. He answered the first part of the sentence, I finished it although I had no idea about riding western at the time. When I was asked, I started the answer, Mike finished although he does not ride classical dressage. So we found, that there is good riding and bad riding in all disciplines. Horses don't mind if they are dressed for dressage, western, jumping, etc. ~ Desmond O'Brien Former Member of Riding Staff of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Former Master Saddler of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Riding Teacher for Classical Dressage, A-Instructor for riding Aside (Side Saddle).
More about Mike Bridges-
Mike Bridges is an internationally known clinician and bridle horseman in the California Vaquero Style with more than fifty years of making his living on the back of a horse.
He began learning the Vaquero tradition as a teenager from his grandfather, who advised him to seek out other vaqueros to deepen his knowledge. Mike set out to buckaroo on various ranches in California and Nevada where he learned from those who lived this old tradition. Today he is one of the few horsemen who can still build a traditional California Vaquero "turn at the touch" Bridle Horse.
The California Vaquero Style can be traced to the style of riding brought to Mexico and southern California from the Iberian Peninsula by the Portuguese and Spanish Conquistadors who explored these new worlds. It is this link to the Portuguese and Spanish Conquistadors that resulted in the similarities in horsemanship of the California Vaquero, the Doma Vaquero of the Iberian peninsula and the French School (Dressage). Mike focuses his clinics towards people who have a basic foundation in soft, not harsh, horsemanship, these days often referred to as Natural Horsemanship.
He has been written about by Robert M. Miller, DVM in Western Horseman in an article titled "Bridges to the Past" in the May 1996 issue. Mike also wrote an excellent article for Western Horseman in July 1998 - "Vaquero-Style Bridle Bits" - What they are and how they work. And, Mike was on the Cover of Western Horseman Magazine with the feature article on the "Secrets of Vaquero Horsemanship" in August of 2006.
Mike puts on clinic in the United States and Europe on Seeking Refinement, Cow Working, the Hackamore and Bridling. In private clinics he shares more of the knowledge he has accumulate in over 50 years of working with horses and living the Vaquero style.
Some interesting articles click on these links-