Well.... I feel like it anyways! I got my first horse in the spring, a 19 year old mare. She is the best horse ever, very well trained, calm and kind. I got a western saddle and also have ridden bareback a lot. I feel a lot more comfortable bareback than on the leather saddle. So for the last 3 months I have ridden bareback. I have gone from not being able to even trot bareback (before I got her) to trotting and loping well. I love it and loping is just like flying! I did take a few lessons before I got her but they were in an english saddle and the two times I cantered I fell off because I was put over a jump at the same time. I didn't even know how to canter so I fell.
I've been riding in the saddle some now and I'm very balanced at the trot and it is comfortable. However the lope is terrible! I'm sure it is me - I must be giving her wrong signals and I pretty sure she's on the wrong lead. Even a slow lope usually throws me off and I'm grabbing for the horn. Berdi is patient, but I know she doesn't like it!
I am fine bareback and even if she gets on the wrong lead it doesn't seem that bad - I can ride it out till I can change it. I'm hoping to get a few western lessons in the future but in the meantime I guess I'll stick with bareback!
If you guys have any ideas or advice I would be glad to hear it!
Does your saddle fit you? Is it comfortable for you? A saddle that is either too big or too small can cause serious balance problems. Other than just making sure it fits both you and her, more practice is the only thing that will make it better.
Yes, I'm pretty positive the saddle is fine. It doesn't rub and the people I got it from said it was a good fit for her. The only thing she doesn't like is the cinching but after that she's fine. She's fine at the trot too.
No, it seems to be fine for me. I've ridden for a couple hours on a trail ride and I was fine. Only time I get a bit sore is when I'm hanging on with my legs and hands to stay in the saddle and not bounce off at the lope. LOL!
Do you have a pic of you in the saddle? It could be a tad too small, or to big for you, causing your issues. Other than that, I'm not sure what to think...perhaps have someone lunge your mare while you practice JUST on your balance in the saddle...don't move on to the canter til you have the trot down; work with and without stirrups, and without reins, practice moving around up there, arms out, swinging back and forth, twisting back in forth in the saddle (as if to stretch your back), everything and anything to really help you gain your balance in a saddle, without having to worry about where the horse is going.
See that is the strange thing - I really have the trot pretty good. I don't bounce around and she seems perfectly content. However the canter is just awful. I put up a couple pictures. Does the saddle look ok? Excuse the horrible position and the tight rear cinch. I had just gotten the saddle and was leaning about western saddles!! Lol!
Also - I certainly won't throw it away!! I was joking about that. I would definitely sell it if I can't use it anymore.
Another thing I have thought of is that Berdi is a little swaybacked. I wonder if that affects her at all and if that is why she would like being ridden bareback more?
I will ask my mom to lunge me and see if that helps too. That is a really good idea.
I'm no expert, but it looks like you're sitting kind of wonky in the saddle. You're way too far back on the cantle.
I know that when I lope, my instructor keeps saying clean the saddle with your butt, meaning to slide in the saddle. It's SO hard to get it down sometimes. I've noticed a HUGE difference when I have the horse truly collected and when he's not. I bounce a lot more. It might benefit you to take some lessons with a pro who can guide you and your horse in the areas where you are the weakest.