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Bareback. Good or bad?

This is a discussion on Bareback. Good or bad? within the Horse Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Bareback pads good for older horses?
  • Is riding bareback comfortable for horse?

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    02-21-2012, 12:11 AM
  #11
Foal
Omg Sorrell, my jaw hit the floor at the clip with the bareback barrels! And increxotty is such an incredible rider, definitely had her subbed on youtube for a while! She's a huge inspiration. Thanks guys <3

Yea like, I always get conflicted information haha. MacabreMikolaj's story about her mare makes me all nervous again. At that barn, that's how you LEARNED to ride, and none of the horses suffered from it. That actually came in really handy for me down the road because, I went out riding with the girl I shared a lease with. She was really late coming back from her ride and it was due to be my turn soon... then the horse came back with no rider, and a missing stirrup. I tell you I was sure glad I knew how to ride bareback when I had to race into the woods to find her. But that's a whole different story lol

I think I might just play it safe and use a bareback pad...
     
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    02-21-2012, 12:26 AM
  #12
Banned
I don't think bareback pads really help a whole lot... at least not unless you're buying a really expensive one. Unless someone knows otherwise, all the ones I've ever ridden in (Idk the brands, but they were of all different makes and types) were really only there for the purpose of keeping yourself from getting covered in horse sweat! Really nice during the summertime :) Even with the bareback pad, you're still MUCH closer to the horse, and the shock absorption isn't as wide spread as it is with a saddle that spreads the weight over the back;
Tl;dr: You still need to learn to keep your butt down.
     
    02-21-2012, 12:43 AM
  #13
Foal
I LOVE riding my pony bareback. I've never gotten better results from my pony than when she's bareback. My pony gets very upset about ill fitting saddles and I've found that bareback tends to make her feel much more comfortable and allows her to lift up her back easier. I'm also very capable of sitting still with a strong seat but you'll also find that you'll naturally have a tighter seat when you ride bareback (simply because you don't want to fall off).
     
    02-21-2012, 01:26 AM
  #14
Weanling
I love to ride bareback! It helps keep me from getting lazy, its fun and easy. Like tonight my boyfriend and I went out to see the horses and I rode bareback because I didnt want to take the extra time to saddle up, We had a blast and so did the horses!
     
    02-21-2012, 01:42 AM
  #15
Super Moderator
I adore riding bareback.

However, in consideration for Lacey's old bones, I don't ride BB as much as I would like. Whenever I/anyone rides BB for "too long" (in her mind) on her, she'll nicker and raise her back quickly while you get off like "here! Let me help you off!". She behaves the same if she's had al ill-fitting saddle on her back for any length of time.
She's fine with 15 minutes of bareback but 30-45 is toooooo much. Interestingly, she'll put up with an hour's worth of consecutive 10-15 minute BB rides without getting overly cranky (she'll get crankier as the rides progress though) but an hour straight through is thoroughly unacceptable.
That leads me to believe that while bareback does have it's place, maybe that place isn't among older horses with cranky backs... But then again, Lacey is kind of passing the usual set of older horses at 27 years old...maybe stating that BB possibly doesn't have much of a place among the 25+ set is more accurate.

In any case, my lesson kids ride Lacey bareback pretty regularly (the less advanced ones with a bareback pad, the more advanced ones without a pad, I find the pad holds the rider on a bit better). The ones who ride BB more often do tend to have better seats than the ones who rarely ride BB, but I'm not sure if that's due to the BB loving riders being more dedicated or what. :)
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    02-22-2012, 02:35 PM
  #16
Weanling
My two cents.... it depends!

I had one mare, a draft mare (18.3 hands of pure beauty and nasty disposition) who HATED to be ridden bareback. We did a 25 mile ride once and she actually grew white hairs in the shape of my butt!! When we finaly got a saddle that fit her well, she was so much nicer to ride!

That said, when I was a teen, my endurance horse hated saddles. She was always ridden bareback. We would do up to 30 miles in a day, several times a month. I did all day cattle drives with her, and yes, we even had to cut some ornery calfs out of the herd. She never had a sore back - but I had a very good seat back then too.

My current gelding prefers to go bareback.

All in all, I woudl say that for MOST horses, bareback is fine, even for long rides. Others need the weight distribution of the saddle to be comfortable.
     
    02-22-2012, 03:04 PM
  #17
Foal
That makes sense ^^ seems natural that some would like it and some would not, I was curious to know if there was actually any real physical damage that could be done by riding bareback, but I guess its the same as saddle fit with saddles and how you ride with bareback.
     
    02-22-2012, 03:23 PM
  #18
Yearling
Just curious if people have a different opinion if a horse is swaybacked and typically padded up under saddle?
     
    02-22-2012, 03:41 PM
  #19
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by egrogan    
Just curious if people have a different opinion if a horse is swaybacked and typically padded up under saddle?
I'm of the opinion that horses with a swayback really shouldn't be ridden bareback.
The sway is a sign that the back is weak and it just seems inappropriate, to me, to put unevenly distributed excess weight on an demonstrably weak "bridge". It just seems like asking for more pain and soreness on the horse's part.

I can see riding a horse with a light sway, briefly, bareback but if the horse is so swayed that they need extra padding to be comfortable undersaddle, I think that's "too" swayed.
     
    02-22-2012, 07:26 PM
  #20
Weanling
I agree with MM. Bareback, if you're not great at it, can really be detrimental to a horse's training.

I ride bareback quite a lot, I enjoy it, and it really does make you a better and stronger rider.

However, I always intersperse my bareback rides with saddled rides - just to keep the horses tuned up. I know I ask a lot less of them and am a lot less particular about things when I ride bareback simply because I don't have the control to make them do it.

I know they'd get pretty messed up pretty fast if I exclusively rode bareback.
     

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