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Bareback riding tips?

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  • Bareback leg position trot
  • Leg position riding bareback

 
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    02-07-2009, 10:04 AM
  #21
Weanling
I'm going to add a question of my own to this thread instead of starting a new one. Since it's been freezing cold lately and I also want to work on my balance/seat, I've been riding Blaze a lot bareback. At the walk, we're superb. I feel like I'm moving with his motion well, he's relaxed and listens to my leg and seat aids. The trot? Disaster. This comes from the fact that I generally don't have a relaxed enough seat to sit a trot bareback (and I'm really just starting to try and do it often) and the fact that he gets rushy at the trot, even under saddle. He's also being ridden maybe 2-3 times a week, so he's eager to move out. Fast trot+unsecured bareback rider=BOUNCING.

What I'm worried about is hurting his back by bouncing around all over it. What can I do to work on keeping him slow? Working in the large arena yesterday wasn't great. Would it help if we were riding in a smaller pen and just doing circles? On the straight away he wants to gogogogo. I would normally use my seat and legs first to ask him to slow down, but because I'm not comfortable sitting the bareback trot, I find myself trying to slow him down with the reins as I grip with my legs not to bounce right off. Help! I don't really have anyone who could come out and lunge him for me while I ride, so that's out. Should I be working on getting him slow at the trot under saddle first before I start trying to learn to sit the trot bareback? Advice and suggestions welcome.
     
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    02-07-2009, 10:54 AM
  #22
Started
It wasn't clear to me whether you're more of an English or Western rider, but I'll tell you what I know from an English standpoint... and a lot of this applies to both disciplines anyhow.

First of all, I doubt that you are actually hurting him by bouncing around. It is more likely that you are simply annoying him and causing him to tense up. When you feel unsecure, you are most likely also tense, and when both of you are tense, it makes the whole experience choppy, unbalanced, and generally unhappy. When you do grip with your legs, try to keep your upper leg as relaxed as possible, otherwise you're more likely to ping off like a clothespin on something round. By using your lower leg as more support and keeping your upper leg relaxed, you are conforming to the round shape of his barrel much better. Even then, your leg and the reins shouldn't be the only things holding you on.

If you are an English rider, keep your elbows at your sides at all costs. Rather than to use any steady pressure on the reins, grip and release periodically... half-halts essentially. My instructor helped me figure out how to sit the trot better in the following manner; she noticed that when I changed diagonals at the trot (sitting for two bounces and continuing) I did it very casually, smoothly, and without tension. On this note, she told me to practice changing diagonals several times in a row, going from sitting to posting and back again. Eventually my "changes of diagonal" were no longer sitting for two beats but several more, always keeping in mind trying to maintain the same position and relaxation that I had when I really was only changing diagonal. This exercise is one that probably is better to start off with under the saddle. I hope I made sense while trying to explain it.

You may also consider using a bareback pad if you don't have one already. It offers a bit more security, but is still much different from riding in the saddle. I think of it as adding a stepping stone that will help transition from saddle to no saddle a little less abruptly.
     
    02-07-2009, 12:55 PM
  #23
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eolith    
It wasn't clear to me whether you're more of an English or Western rider, but I'll tell you what I know from an English standpoint... and a lot of this applies to both disciplines anyhow.

First of all, I doubt that you are actually hurting him by bouncing around. It is more likely that you are simply annoying him and causing him to tense up. When you feel unsecure, you are most likely also tense, and when both of you are tense, it makes the whole experience choppy, unbalanced, and generally unhappy. When you do grip with your legs, try to keep your upper leg as relaxed as possible, otherwise you're more likely to ping off like a clothespin on something round. By using your lower leg as more support and keeping your upper leg relaxed, you are conforming to the round shape of his barrel much better. Even then, your leg and the reins shouldn't be the only things holding you on.

If you are an English rider, keep your elbows at your sides at all costs. Rather than to use any steady pressure on the reins, grip and release periodically... half-halts essentially. My instructor helped me figure out how to sit the trot better in the following manner; she noticed that when I changed diagonals at the trot (sitting for two bounces and continuing) I did it very casually, smoothly, and without tension. On this note, she told me to practice changing diagonals several times in a row, going from sitting to posting and back again. Eventually my "changes of diagonal" were no longer sitting for two beats but several more, always keeping in mind trying to maintain the same position and relaxation that I had when I really was only changing diagonal. This exercise is one that probably is better to start off with under the saddle. I hope I made sense while trying to explain it.

You may also consider using a bareback pad if you don't have one already. It offers a bit more security, but is still much different from riding in the saddle. I think of it as adding a stepping stone that will help transition from saddle to no saddle a little less abruptly.
This is great advice-thanks so much. I am an English rider, and I try and stay conscious of keeping my legs in a position that they'd be in while in stirrups while I'm riding bareback. I'll try and focus more on support from my lower legs rather than my uppers (the clothespin analogy was spot on-that's what I feel like).

I feel the same way about my changing diagonals; I'll try and work on maintaining that softness while under saddle. I've never ridden bareback with a pad before, but I can look into getting one.
     
    02-10-2009, 08:28 PM
  #24
Foal
Thanks so much for the tips! I am wrking on my leg position to help in bareback. I trotted and walked with no stirrups (YAY) and cantered be accident. I noticed that it really wasnt the gate that makes me nervouse and unbalanced, it the transition. So we will be working on smooth transitions
     
    02-21-2009, 02:43 PM
  #25
Weanling
I love riding bareback! Mt BIGGEST TIP would be not to grip with your knee or thighs, only thing that should be keeping you on should be balance and sometimes your calves, you should never be gripping hard out with your thighs or knees, that is very bad. Also make sure you have good enough hands to ride bareback, and are not holding on to the reins to stay on, and with enough of practise you should be jumping and galloping around
     
    02-22-2009, 01:59 AM
  #26
Showing
You're height won't make it more difficult for you to ride bareback Your position should not change from when you are riding with tack. Your aids should not change either. In order for you to ride bareback and stay on you really need to focus on keeping you pelvis and lower back relaxed in order for you to follow you're horse's motion. There is no other way to build a better seat than to ride bareback actually.
Make sure you keep your lower leg on, but very relaxed. You should never use your lower or upper leg to stay on. But as I just posted, there isn't much advice to be given really. Keep your position the same, relax your pelvis and lower back, keep your elbows relaxed, chin up and look where you're going. The more you do it, the easier it becomes and the better your seat WITH tack will become and it's actually a lot of fun.

...and if you fall off, laugh at yourself and get right back on because it will happen
     

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