New Rider - Unable to use saddle? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 07-15-2011, 03:54 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Grafton, NSW, Au
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Question New Rider - Unable to use saddle?


Just a little background info: I am house sitting and helping care for 6 horses. I have no background in horses so I am starting from scratch. I have been with the horses for 3 weeks - 1 month. I feed and groom all of them. Only one of the horses gives me any problems during grooming, skittish of new people, but I'm even winning him over.
Out of the 6 horses, I am able to ride 1. His name is Billy, he is borderline above the pony measurement.

When I first began house sitting, I rode Billy with a saddle. The saddle is an Australian stock saddle. Within 30 minutes of riding, my butt and back would be so sore from riding I would give up. And it kept me from riding to only riding once/twice a week. Also, Billy worked under protest. It would take a great deal of effort to even get him to walk forward. On top of all of this, I didn't feel "secure" like I would fall off at a drop of a pin.

A friend, with horse experience, suggested I try riding bareback to improve posture and my seat. I started riding bareback 3 days ago and it is a night and day difference! Billy was slightly stubborn the first day for ten minutes but was an angel afterwards. I'm riding in a huuuuge paddock that is unleveled, has puddles, and ditches without a single problem. He also seems very content judging from his ears/head placement/etc. I'm also able to ride 1-3 hours at a time without pain. I've been riding daily. I haven't fallen off even once or even felt like I was going to, even when jumping up a ditch or trotting down hill.

The neighbour rides Billy with the same saddle and has no problems with pain or Billy. However, she is far more experienced with horses, with Billy and is a slightly smaller build than I. I'm small, 5'4" and 110lbs but she is even more petite than me.

Is it just my inexperience keeping me out of the saddle or could the saddle be ill-suited for me? I'm riding for pleasure and to exercise Billy, no intentions of competing. Would it be okay if I just kept riding bareback? Or should I try to get back into the saddle?

Next week, I'm going to start riding another one of the horses. His name is Buddy and he's part clydesdale, I don't know how large he is but he is a big boy! Very sweet natured, more so than Billy even. (I was suppose to start riding Buddy first but he had a small injury and needed rest.) Of course, he has a different saddle but should I ride Buddy bareback too?

The reason I ask about Buddy is, if Buddy and I have issues with saddle like Billy and I do, Buddy might not be so forgiving if I tried to ride him bareback later on.

Any tips or suggestions would be much appreciated. Thank you.
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post #2 of 7 Old 07-15-2011, 08:44 AM
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If I were you, I would learn to ride in a saddle. If the horse spooks or gets squirelly saddles add a layer of security. I doubt a true beginner has the balance to really ride out most bad situations bareback. Also I find when I ride bareback it may help balance but it doesn't really help my posture. I find it harder to keep my legs in a good position bareback. Also I've read on a few threads here that your tailbone laying directly on the horses back can be uncomfortable for them( or something like that- not sure which thread I read it in)
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post #3 of 7 Old 07-16-2011, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
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That's a good point. I'm fine with the usual horse movements but if either Billy or Buddy bucked/reared for whatever reason, I probably would not be able to hold myself on.
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post #4 of 7 Old 07-16-2011, 01:20 AM
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I would say try a different saddle if you can. I ride english and can ride for hours in one of my own saddles, but I rode a friends horse in a keiffer and it killed my back/legs after only 20 minutes-ish, rode that same horse at my house in my saddle and was fine.

Different saddles fit different people just as they fit different horses.

R.I.P ~ Bubbles - 25yo tb mare - 13.04.2011 ~ 8:30am ~ passed away naturally and peacefully in my arms
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post #5 of 7 Old 07-16-2011, 06:51 PM
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I agree with HollyBubbles, try another saddle. I am not a fan of australian stock saddles. I had always wanted one, until I rode in my mother-in-laws. I have back problems to begin with, but that saddle was horrible to ride in for me. My back was aching so bad I ended up getting off half way through my ride and walking home.
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post #6 of 7 Old 07-16-2011, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the input! I'm not sure if there is another saddle for Billy but I will ask.
Also as an update:
I rode Buddy for the first time today. I did use his saddle and it was comfortable.
I am very glad I used the saddle because within ten minutes, Buddy bucked then ran off full force. I was unable to stop him but I did manage to stay on by some miracle. When he finally stopped at a fence, I was able to safely dismount.
(Buddy took a bad step and aggravated the old injury, thus all the acting up. [We did have clearance from Buddy's doctor for riding but now he's going back to strict rest and getting checked out again.])
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post #7 of 7 Old 07-24-2011, 01:00 PM
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Wow is all I can say Flick. Wow that you have guts to ride horses when you have no background in them so kudos to you for that but also wow that someone would let a beginner look after/ride their horses and I in no way mean that in a mean way. The reason I said this is I'm so freaking **** picky only my besti is allowed to look after my horses while I'm away and would only let her ride my rideable horses as she is trained the same way I teach/train NH. I have practically resigned myself to no holidays with all my horses and breeding stock. Especially now I have my stallion who has trust issues and will not be nice and behaved to anyone but me (stallions usually only have one handler/owner) and is just as well coz I do not like any to go near him or handle him at all except for me. So I guess what I'm trying to say is your so lucky :)))) coz not many people would I guess they would Probs be like me? Congrats :) I also think one it's the saddle and you don't click and two that it's because you are a beginner why your butt will get sore in a saddle. I have never not lobed to ride in my Isabel werth or wintec 2000 or my western saddle they are heaven to ride in :) good luck and have fun. Kudos to you woman!!!! Keep it up :)
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