Originally Posted by BrieannaKelly
So just a question, would it also help to gain balance and muscle memory via bareback pad? Isn't that the same idea as removing the stirrups? Understandably the seat of an english saddle is different then bareback pads.
I've never used a bareback pad, but I would think, yes. When I was a kid, I had to do all the exercises I mentioned bareback before I was allowed to have a saddle at all. They did give me a strap around the horse's neck to grab onto. They made me do it several times when I was a teenager too - just to humble me, I think
. In English you rely mainly on your balance, ability to feel (hence anticipate), move with, and respond to the horse's movements. The horse takes its cues from your subtle weight-shifts, which it can easily feel through the saddle. You don't rely on your saddle to stay on and be in the right position (though it's a very useful tool). That said though, a crappy, poorly balanced saddle can really mess with your position and balance.
And Kj'sDusty, yes, you have a point. We don't all wear those oh-so-unflattering breeches and tights because we think we look cool
. Sticky-pants do make a big difference! And the seams on your jeans can really do a number on the seat-leather on an English saddle as well.