Is riding bareback bad for the horse? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 08-24-2011, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
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Is riding bareback bad for the horse?

I am in the process of training my horse for riding, but would like to ride him bareback (at least for a while). The main reason for this is because he doesn't have a lot of muscle and is underweight so I figured me without the saddle would be easier on his back, as western saddles are quite heavy.
I know that saddles help distribute the weight along the back, so I'm wondering if riding bareback would be bad for him? I would like to use a pad at first until his back gets more fat on it, but don't know where to start. Can I just use a regular western pad or do I need to get a bareback pad?
Any advice is appreciated.
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post #2 of 22 Old 08-24-2011, 10:43 AM
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Using a western pad would cushion the 'blow' your weight puts on the one spot. But IME that thing is going to slip and slide around like crazy and really test your balace. What I would do is ask a friend with a lighter synthetic saddle like and Abetta if you could use theirs for a while. I'm not against bareback riding, but constant pressure on the one concentrated area of the horses back might cause pain. I wouldn't worry too much, unless you weigh a lot, your horse should be fine.

Just noticed my conflicting emotions haha, take it as two suggestions. ;)
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post #3 of 22 Old 08-24-2011, 10:54 AM
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Barrel racing saddles are pretty light also.
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post #4 of 22 Old 08-24-2011, 11:07 AM Thread Starter
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Unfortunately I do not know anyone who would be able to lend me their saddle. I weight about 120lbs so am not too heavy. Is there another type of saddle blanket that won't feel like a slip n slide?
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post #5 of 22 Old 08-24-2011, 11:10 AM
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I'd invest in a bareback pad with an overgirth. No stirrups! You can usually find some with pretty good grip. Also considering you're riding western I'm guessing full seat breeches aren't going to make an appearance in your life any time soon. :P
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post #6 of 22 Old 08-24-2011, 11:13 AM
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I ride western and I love my breeches! They're a lot cooler than jeans. Do you have any photos you can share?
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post #7 of 22 Old 08-24-2011, 11:30 AM
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If you can get a surcingle and strap it on with a saddle pad- they slip a whole lot less than any bareback pad I've ridden and the girths are usually better quality and more comfortable for the horse.
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post #8 of 22 Old 08-24-2011, 11:30 AM
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I love my breeches from Greenhawk, so comfy.

Elation Ladies Full Seat Cotton Breech-On Sale until Aug 31 2011 [DRC1101]

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post #9 of 22 Old 08-24-2011, 12:15 PM
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Just give it a try. That's the best way to find out. Even if you don't use the pad, bareback riders move about on the horse's back more than they realize. It will improve your balance and you will ride centered without the influence of the saddle. By riding centered he will be in better balance.
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post #10 of 22 Old 08-24-2011, 11:48 PM
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I love riding bareback.
However, if your horse is underwight and poorly muscled, you will probably BOTH be uncomfortable riding bareback. Who likes to sit on a backbone?
I would not worry about the saddle being too heavy. If you are just starting training him to ride, I would assume your sessions will be relatively short. Just use an extra saddle pad, and don't push him too hard (physically or mentally) until he has put on some weight and learned the basics.
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