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Can riding bareback be bad for the horse?

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    08-21-2012, 06:58 AM
  #11
Foal
Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by DriftingShadow    
I take that to mean he enjoys it :)
YAY!! Maybe my girl will enjoy it as much as I do! There is hope!
     
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    08-21-2012, 01:43 PM
  #12
Showing
I've been riding all my horses bareback for pretty much my entire life. I've never had any ill effects on any of them, even when I was younger and riding more bareback than I was with a saddle.

The most important thing is that you ride balanced and fluid, regardless of whether you use a saddle or not. A person who's flopping around like a sack of flour is going to be hard on the horse's back, period.

Also, I use a modified saddle pad as a bareback pad when I ride bareback. Not only for a bit of extra padding for both me and the horse, but also to keep me from having a nasty brown butt when I get off LOL.
     
    08-21-2012, 02:13 PM
  #13
Banned
I have no experience with horses being sore after getting ridden bareback. Then again I only do it once in a while.
     
    08-21-2012, 03:03 PM
  #14
Foal
Lets consider a few things first. How horses are built. Google "horse anatomy" (because I'm too lazy to link a picture.. ha ha) and take a look.. Some will show the muscle structure and other the bone structure. There is very little between the horse's spinal column and your butt.

Next lets consider where you sit. Wherever you're sitting puts a lot of weight/pressure on that one small portion of your horse's back. The saddle helps to disperse that pressure over a larger area of the horse's back. Poke yourself in the shin. Then put something rigid on your shin.. Some cardstock, a magazine, whatever.. Now poke again. There's a difference.

Those points aside, I don't think that riding bareback is "bad." Just be practical.

If you're riding bareback for more than a turn or two around the pasture, use some padding. I have an old saddle pad that has straps sewn on so I can add a cinch. My local tack shop didn't charge me, but I imagine it'd be very cheap. Never use a bareback pad with stirrups. Again.. Think of where the weight hangs.

Don't ride bareback if you don't already have fairly good balance and can do so without slamming on your horse's back or depending on his mouth to hold yourself in place. Riding bareback does help with balance, but develop it first. Ride without stirrups.

Don't ride bareback if you can't tell if your horse is in pain or "off." Seems self-explanatory, but I had a friend tell me once that her horse never bucks under saddle, but whenever she tries to ride bareback, he blows up. Probably because it hurts. He was always on the thinner side, as was she. I doubt it'd feel good to have her tailbone digging into his spine! His bucking was his way of telling her it hurt. She just thought he was being naughty.

Don't ride bareback for long periods of time.. At least not to start off. You and your horse both need to get used to it. Just like those new barefoot shoes.. You're not supposed to wear them all the time all at once.. You build up to it.
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    08-21-2012, 03:27 PM
  #15
Foal
Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by soileddove    
Lets consider a few things first. How horses are built. Google "horse anatomy" (because I'm too lazy to link a picture.. ha ha) and take a look.. Some will show the muscle structure and other the bone structure. There is very little between the horse's spinal column and your butt.

Next lets consider where you sit. Wherever you're sitting puts a lot of weight/pressure on that one small portion of your horse's back. The saddle helps to disperse that pressure over a larger area of the horse's back. Poke yourself in the shin. Then put something rigid on your shin.. Some cardstock, a magazine, whatever.. Now poke again. There's a difference.

Those points aside, I don't think that riding bareback is "bad." Just be practical.

If you're riding bareback for more than a turn or two around the pasture, use some padding. I have an old saddle pad that has straps sewn on so I can add a cinch. My local tack shop didn't charge me, but I imagine it'd be very cheap. Never use a bareback pad with stirrups. Again.. Think of where the weight hangs.

Don't ride bareback if you don't already have fairly good balance and can do so without slamming on your horse's back or depending on his mouth to hold yourself in place. Riding bareback does help with balance, but develop it first. Ride without stirrups.

Don't ride bareback if you can't tell if your horse is in pain or "off." Seems self-explanatory, but I had a friend tell me once that her horse never bucks under saddle, but whenever she tries to ride bareback, he blows up. Probably because it hurts. He was always on the thinner side, as was she. I doubt it'd feel good to have her tailbone digging into his spine! His bucking was his way of telling her it hurt. She just thought he was being naughty.

Don't ride bareback for long periods of time.. At least not to start off. You and your horse both need to get used to it. Just like those new barefoot shoes.. You're not supposed to wear them all the time all at once.. You build up to it.
Thanks so much!! This helps a lot!! I can still do it--just use my common and horse sense, right? THANK YOU!
     
    08-21-2012, 03:28 PM
  #16
Foal
Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by smrobs    
Also, I use a modified saddle pad as a bareback pad when I ride bareback. Not only for a bit of extra padding for both me and the horse, but also to keep me from having a nasty brown butt when I get off LOL.
Oh, good idea!! Thanks
     
    08-23-2012, 01:59 PM
  #17
Banned
Imo, I think it's better for the horses unless you aren't balanced or bouncing around.
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    08-23-2012, 02:10 PM
  #18
Green Broke
I ride bareback pretty frequently, as others have said, it's not bad for your horse if you have good balance and a good seat. If you can sit your horse and move with it then you shouldn't have a problem.. Now if you're bouncing all over the place and gripping like a spider monkey I wouldn't advise doing it. Mine seem to really like it bareback, they are relaxed the whole time and we just work on little things, like flexing or side passing. During the summer I'll take them swimming bareback and they LOOOVE that. Nikki paws and splashed water around with her head. When I first took her swimming and she pawed the water splashed and scared the crap out of her.. I could just hear her say "WTH IS THIS!?" but now she loves it..
     
    08-25-2012, 12:23 AM
  #19
Weanling
I really hope you didn't get this from Rick Gore.
He thinks riding bareback is the devil.
I think riding bareback, in the long run, is really good for you as a rider. It is possible to give a horse a sore back from riding bareback IF you have a bad seat (slamming onto their back when trotting or cantering), but you're not like going to break their back just by riding bareback with a poor seat :P
I ride bareback all the time.. I love it because I feel like I have better/more contact with my horse. In fact, when I teach my horses something complicated (like when I try to teach them to sidepass and pivot under saddle) I usuallly try it bareback first because it's easier for them to feel your leg/seat aids!
     
    08-25-2012, 01:28 AM
  #20
Foal
When I was much younger I only rode bareback and would do it all day long. At that time I weighed about 110. We had a saddle, but Dad wouldn't let us use it until we could saddle the horse without help. My horse never acted sore or tried to get away from me when I went to get on. She died at 33 with a nice normal back with no injury or sway back tendencies. She also had no white pressure marks on her back. I had a really good seat and used to win the bareback competitions at the local fair. Genetics of the horse will come into play here as well as the riders ability to have a still and quiet seat. I still will ride bareback for a short time , but my older hips are not so forgiving as they once were.
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