"It depends". Bareback works for some people and not others. But eventually one needs to put the saddle back on and get the balance and position with a saddle.
You say in your signature that you are learning dressage.
If that is so, you need to learn to canter with your rear end stuck in the saddle, not up in the air.
To you it may feel like you are digging your seat bones into the saddle.
Your instructor may tell you to dig your seat bones into the saddle.
That's how it feels and seems, but only because you're always tending to pop up. Someone telling you 'dig in with your seatbones' and you feeling like you're digging in, it feels that way in comparison to what you've been doing.
But if you have a tendency to just get up into a half seat (air) every single time you canter, you're not doing what you need to do to learn dressage and to be able to make things work in different situations.
Some horses, some kinds of manouvers and figures, sure, you can be in a half seat. But for most of dressage, no.
You need to learn the 'sticky seat', where your the entire seat of your pants stays in full contact with the saddle during every single stride.
Instead of rising up in the stirrups to avoid the motion of the horse, you let your seat sink down in to the saddle, and absorb the motion with a soft flexible ankle, flexible leg and knee, and not pinching/gripping hard with your knees, thighs, calves and heels.
For some people, dropping the stirrups helps. Some people, when they drop stirrups and canter, get scared and grip even tighter with their legs - that squeezes them up out of the saddle like an orange seed being squeezed out of an orange. If the person has a horse with an easy canter, without too much bounce or lurch, they can get the feeling easier on a horse like that.
You think about how it feels when you ride bareback, and you try to stretch your leg down so your toes reach the ground, and try to stretch your upper body up to touch the sky. Your leg instead of gripping just lays on the horse's side, and your behind stays in the saddle because you are soft and supple and can follow the motions of the horse.
Last edited by slc; 02-16-2011 at 02:22 PM.