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riding bareback. . . any reason not to?

This topic contains 9 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by EquestrianHope18 EquestrianHope18 3 years, 7 months ago.

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  • dakotasmom Original Poster dakotasmom
    Topics Started: 6Replies Posted: 4

    I have a 13 year old QH/TB. We do dressage and are riding at 2nd level. Coming into winter, I’ve started riding him bareback more. I don’t ride him very hard because I don’t want him to get too sweaty (he’s not body clipped). But, I do make him do real work. He feels great and I love riding without a saddle. Yesterday, someone even commented that his extended trot looked better than ever. He has a great saddle that fits him perfectly and is professionally fitted, I just don’t like riding in a saddle as much as I like the feel and challenge of bareback.

    My question is, does anyone have a good reason why I should not ride primarily without a saddle? I don’t see any negative side effects in him, I just want to make sure I’m not causing harm in some way. I’ll still use my saddle a few times a week, but I want to keep going with this bareback thing unless there is a reason not to.

    NinaJD NinaJD
    Topics Started: 8Replies Posted: 139

    Bareback is awesome. It helps not only you but your horse with leg ques and balance.
    It’s a good change, especially if you’re doing a lot of lessons and training. It changes things up for you and your horse.

    The only time I wouldn’t recommend bareback is if you know your horse has a sore back.

    "Take the time it takes, so that it takes less time."
    "Expect a lot, accept a little, reward often."
    Pat Parelli

    TBxQH TBxQH
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 8

    Just keep an eye on the sensitivity of his back. I know this topic is very controversial because “the Indians did it” and so forth, but if your horse has a solid topline and you’re curdious of not bouncing around on him and keeping your seat quiet you shouldn’t do him any harm. Just keep in the back of your mind the position of your seat bones and where you’re placing them. When it boils down to it, the surface area of our seat bones is much smaller than the panels on our saddles, so it IS possible to cause discomfort but every once in a while for fun isn’t going to cause harm.

    "I thought I knew how to ride, then I took dressage lessons."

    Leslie Leslie
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 44

    I also find my horse goes better bareback even though my saddle is professionally fitted as well, so I do a lot of bareback riding & we both enjoy it. Like TBxQH said riding bareback your weight is more concentrated in a smaller area so it is possible to cause discomfort over time, so just keep that in mind. If he starts to not go as well then I would give him a break.

    I still ride in a saddle about half the time because I want him to be able to do both, and he needs to learn to do what he can do bareback in a saddle too – I can’t show in a bareback pad :) I find bareback a good training tool and since it’s easier for him it’s easier for me to get him to work correctly & build up the right muscles.

    www.createdbyleslie.com - handmade custom wood-burned brushes, stall signs, & portraits, etched glasses, and custom stuffed ponies

    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 475

    Bareback is an excellent exercise as well as a great “leisure time” activity. I would, however, strongly suggest a bareback pad of some sort if you desire regular bareback works. It DOES make a difference on their backs. One thing I have noticed about bareback pads tho is that the surcingle/girth is frequently set too far forward, causing the pad to slip back and out from under the rider, putting the rider’s butt right on the edge of the pad which can cause its own problems. Simple solution for the most part: re-attach the girth farther back on the pad itself.

    This might appear humourous and please feel free to take it as such but there is also truth in it (and as also insightfully mentioned by Leslie and TBxQH..):
    When we envision a person’s….behind…we SEE two nice, round, full cheeks, right? Granted, some fuller than others, like myself : ) but what the horse FEELS is the two potentially thumbtack-pointed seat bones as that is what bears the weight and application of same. If one is inclined to be a seat grinder or heavy with seat aids, driving for the ohso perfect collection, the horse gets jackhammered thru the back, close to the spine on both sides and the ride can become a quick launch on a one-way ticket.

    Ride bareback! Be thoughtful about it and pay attention to your horse’s way of going. Find that happy medium between all and nothing, either thru time management and/or equipment. Enjoy your time and connection with your pone : )

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

    rachael_lara
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 7

    I’ve found that for some horses that I did not have a custom saddle for it was better to ride bareback. One Arab in particular had high shoulders and without a custom saddle her, her shoulder movement was hindered by the saddle and it dug in painfully. Horses like that can start getting girthy and threatening to bite when you put the saddle on. Riding bareback does not have to mean you bounce all over the place….unless you have a horse like my appy that trots faster than she gallops. I’ve never seen any ill effects from bareback riding and it’s extremely enjoyable for me and both my mares. I find it helps me be more aware of the ques I am giving, and communicate better with my horse.

    If you are worried about their back throw a saddle pad under your bareback pad before cinching up(great trick for horses that feel like riding a 2×4).

    horsejd9 horsejd9
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 3

    Totally nothing wrong with it! As long as you know what you are doing and are confident that you wont be bouncing around hurting his back, then go for it!

    equusparvus equusparvus
    Topics Started: 14Replies Posted: 12

    Riding bareback is much better than using an ill-fitting saddle, but because your saddle is custom it might not be better. I don’t see anything wrong with it, but if your horse gets sore at all I would stop. As my trainer says, your saddle has a gullet, you don’t! A saddle is made to distribute your weight really evenly over your horse’s back. When riding bareback, there is more pressure on their back. In addition, all of your eight is on their back directly because you don’t have stirrups to get yourself off their back. Many horses are fine being ridden primarily bareback, but if you know your horse gets sore easily I wouldn’t reccommend it.

    Geoffrey
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    Think of your horse first and be honest about yourself. If you’re a heavy weight forget about it unless you’re riding a “war-horse”.

    EquestrianHope18 EquestrianHope18
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 3

    Bareback is AWESOME!!! It has soooooo many GREAT reasons to ride that way…it’s almost unbelievable! I totally recommend it for anyone!!! It improves Balance, coordination, horsemanship and riding skills, your relationship with your horse, both your horse’s and your own fitness, and waaaaay more!! I soooo can’t wait to get my own horse, ’cause I know I will be riding bareback ALL the time!!! Good luck and be thankful your able to ride bareback when ever you want to!!!!

    WARNING: This person may talk about horses at any given moment! (Will be changing this often!)

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