Is riding bareback detrimental to the horses health :?: - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 12-04-2012, 07:02 AM Thread Starter
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Is riding bareback detrimental to the horses health :?:

I not one of those people who just believe all the words that come out of someones mouth, if you have something to say i would like some factual evidence to accompany it and definitely a link or reference.

I ride bareback never longer than 35 minutes, but i wonder if it can effect my horse negatively, and i googled if riding bareback has any harm but i couldn't find any thing with factual* evidence only those stupid yahoo answer questions and answers

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post #2 of 28 Old 12-04-2012, 07:54 AM
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From my personal experience:

I am 65 and have ridden bareback all my life, except when I duded my horses up for a parade or, back in the early 70's when the organized rides wouldn't let me on unless I put a saddle on my horse.

That includes hacking around my ten mile block, down the state highway, riding on all day organized trail rides, to my horse literally sitting on his butt to slide down a power line and having to dig with his knees up the other side

Back in those knee digging days, my horse was 15.1H and I weighed 120 lbs.

That horse, an Arab/Saddlebred was born on my parents farm when I was 13. I raised & trained him and tearfully sent him on to his ancestors when he was 29 and I was 42.

He had cancer. He did not have any signs arthritis or other skeletal issues from me riding him bareback.

He was 27 when we went on our last all day ride. He came back to camp that afternoon in the top group of his own free will. He was full of go-go-go right until the cancer really took hold of him

I never saddle broke him until he was ten years old and that was because, back in the early 70's, I couldn't get on an organized ride without a saddle; thankfully that eventually changed.

This question has been asked many times on many forums. The most solid-make-sense answer I've ever seen regarding damaging a horse by riding bareback, was by the person who commented on balance.

If the rider does not have good balance and if the rider "rides the mouth" of the horse, yes they can probably do damage to the horse. Weight was also included in that statement. A heavier rider with poor balance might also cause problems for the horse.

Poor balance doesn't mean the rider falls off everytime the horse turns, it means they don't know how to continuously distribute their weight on the horse's back. A saddle keeps that weight distribution consistent in a much more stable way than riding bareback does.

These are all things I never thought of but made sense once they were written.

So the correct answer is up to the rider's own ability to stay correctly balanced on the horse.

The broader-backed the horse is, the more difficult it is to stay balanced much less stay on. The guy in my avatar was a chunk in his youth but he was never so broad that I felt like I'd tipple off if he jigged

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post #3 of 28 Old 12-04-2012, 08:15 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your personal experience . Would you be able to watch my video on youtube ? as i have some footage of me riding bareback and if you could let me know if my balance looks alright . My horse reacted a bit to me riding bareback recently (canter) and i couldn't tell if he was excited, happy or unwilling . But since you have ridden your whole life bareback, and you and your horse have had no negative health impacts from bareback riding that makes me feel better about riding bareback. As riding bareback has considerably benefited my balance and trust in my horse, and its is just soooo much fun :) i feel so safe riding bareback. (except jumping)

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post #4 of 28 Old 12-04-2012, 08:17 AM
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Well it can be detrimental to my health...especially when my dear bucks and I end up sitting on her shark fin wither :( still bruised from that stunt....

But nah, she even rounds her back and carries herself correctly when I'm bareback.
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post #5 of 28 Old 12-04-2012, 08:20 AM
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I will try - lol lol But please remember, I am not an instructor and don't even get to the "p" in "professional"

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post #6 of 28 Old 12-04-2012, 08:22 AM Thread Starter
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Yea Slip was rounding his back in the canter bareback, something he has never done with a bridle on. O__o

The foolish reject what they see, not what they think,
The wise reject what they think, not what they see.
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post #7 of 28 Old 12-04-2012, 08:23 AM
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I don't have a saddle (yet) that fits my paint mare. I've been riding her bareback since she was 4yo. She responds so well, because she can 'feel' what i'm going to ask of her. I've never heard of any ill affects of riding bareback, except to the rider LOL
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post #8 of 28 Old 12-04-2012, 08:25 AM Thread Starter
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Ok here is my link to a you tube video i made (the bareback part is closer to the end) don't worry you have had plenty of bareback riding experience :)

The foolish reject what they see, not what they think,
The wise reject what they think, not what they see.
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post #9 of 28 Old 12-04-2012, 08:28 AM
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I have a friend who always rode bareback because she perferred it. She never had any formal riding lessons so she was not comfortable with a saddle. She would ride in a western saddle but then I would often see her hanging onto the horn. I tried to get her to ride on one of my english saddles but she said she would fall off. She could ride all day bareback and one of her own horses tolerated her doing that. Many of the others would get really wound up with her riding bareback (I think she squeezed too much) One of my own horses sent her off without a "thanks for your effort" in less then a few seconds. Too much leg for that horse. All told, I believe it depends on the horse but mostly on the way the person rides and how balanced they are.

That same horse that sent my friend flying allowed me to ride her bareback without issue. I was a saddleseat rider all my life to... leg contact was more minimal. She wasn't used to the clinging on with legs.
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post #10 of 28 Old 12-04-2012, 08:29 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizabeth Bowers View Post
I don't have a saddle (yet) that fits my paint mare. I've been riding her bareback since she was 4yo. She responds so well, because she can 'feel' what i'm going to ask of her. I've never heard of any ill affects of riding bareback, except to the rider LOL
yea when i rode my horse bareback a couple of days ago.. i was steering him 70 % with my legs and i was like because since i have ridden him i have hardly steered with my legs because he wouldn't respond enough ! I am so short i hardly have any contact on his ribs so with my legs longer when riding bareback he listens so much better

The foolish reject what they see, not what they think,
The wise reject what they think, not what they see.
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