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Bareback Adventures Once Again

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    04-30-2014, 10:25 AM
  #11
Foal
I would have to disagree with what some of the people above, but only because there are different ways to ride bareback. I ride bareback exactly the same way I ride in my dressage saddle. I do not allow my legs to relax and hang down, but rotate my hips in, put my heels down, and let the whole inside of my leg drape around the horse like wet pasta--no gripping with any part of the leg except when giving aids, but touching the side gently with my whole leg. This keeps me very secure, as a greater amount of my body is touching the horse. I do not grip with my thighs or calves, but hold my core VERY tight and keep myself properly balanced, with a line from my head to hip to heel. You could Photoshop a saddle in beneath me and I would look the same.

When I trot, I use the same method I use when sitting the trot in the saddle, just exaggerated. You have to realize that it is not just side to side or back and forth: it is both. You should be moving the hips like you are hula hooping.

I call bareback riding the ultimate truth-teller because it will reveal the reality of your balance and the indepedence of your seat. It doesn't let you rely on stirrups or a saddle to hold you in place, and you are forced to rely only on proper riding and good balance points. I always discover things I need to work on when riding bareback, and it makes my saddle riding better.

The core is VERY important: In a saddle you can let it slip and still look okay, but if you do not keep it tight when riding bareback then it is IMPOSSIBLE to trot properly (moving your hips in time with the horse) AND sit up perfectly straight at the same time.

I don't know if this helps, as it's just one of many ways of bareback riding, but I feel that doing it this way, while perhaps a bit more difficult at first than gripping with the thighs and swinging the calves for balance, will have a bigger payout, since those pinching thighs can actually hurt your balance in some situations, keeping you from properly moving with the motion of the horse, say in an extended trot or a good canter.
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