Bareback -v- tacked
 
 

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Bareback -v- tacked

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        09-17-2012, 11:08 PM
      #1
    Yearling
    Bareback -v- tacked

    I've ridden my mare both bareback and saddled before and I'm a bit perplexed at how different she rides and responds.

    Over the course of the last couple months, I have used 3 different saddles on her. The last saddle I bought fits her like a charm. Sweat marks are even, she has plenty of enough room over the pommel and she's never given me any idea that its hurt her.

    However, I find that when she is saddled and bridled, I have a whole different horse than what I have under bareback. In the saddle, we have gotten a lot of progress down. She's in a snaffle and she is stepping under herself, yielding to my inside leg, and softening to the bit. When I don't ask her to soften or balance, we neckrein at the trot and usually (when she's not distracted and I don't have to refocus her), her trot is even and at a good pace. However, if I put my leg on at the trot to turn her, she speeds up. This causes me to halfhalt her to bring her back down, and try again. She speeds up when I put my leg on during a turn and I have to halfhalt her back down into the even trot again.

    Now lets go bareback. Today, I took the saddle off and rode her around in a halter and leadrope after our work session. The leadrope was just connected to the ring under her halter, I didn't connect it like reins, so I technically only had a rein on one side of her.

    We turned both ways. All I had to do was touch the lead onto her neck to turn her away and add leg, and she turned on a dime. I added leg to turn her the other way, she turned on a dime. I asked her to trot, and I added leg for the turn. SHE TURNED. She didn't speed up.

    Same with the reins. Bit? Sticky, slow to respond in a turn. Halter? We almost spin.

    I'm completely perplexed. Why would she speed up at the touch of leg under saddle, but comply with it while bareback?

    A theory I have is that the saddle is forming static between us. If I sink my seatbones, she doesn't feel it as much with a saddle. She feels it bareback though. I use the same timing with my natural aids while under saddle as well as bareback. Same pressure, same release. Only difference is no saddle and bit.

    I have static with tack. I don't have static without tack. I have actually never encountered this with a horse and am interested in other's opinions. I thought tack was supposed to better equip the horse and rider. But it seems as though its just getting in the way o_O
         
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        09-17-2012, 11:31 PM
      #2
    Weanling
    To me it sounds like YOU think your saddle and bridle fits like a charm, but YOUR HORSE does not.... If she does not respond well with the bit while bareback, I'd try changing bits. If she responds fine with the bit while bareback, but not with the saddle, then either your saddle does not fit her, or your saddle does not fit you, OR you ride differently in the saddle than you do bareback...
    PunksTank likes this.
         
        09-17-2012, 11:41 PM
      #3
    Yearling
    I have been thinking for a few weeks about changing her bit, but I'm very hesitant about it. She rode in a tomthumb when I first got her, and I switched her into a snaffle. The BO was surprised she listened in the snaffle, but she did...and a lot better than she listened in the tomthumb.

    I've been researching sidepulls versus different types of bits, and I'm just not confident in switching her. I have been getting some good things with the snaffle. She doesn't toss her head like she did with the tomthumb, and she steps forward into it when I ask her to push from behind and into the contact.

    The dentist is coming out at the end of the month so I will know if there are any sharp edges in her mouth keeping her from responding.

    As for the saddle, I'm just not convinced. I've had 3 different saddles on her in the past couple months and she has responded the same through all of them. I measured her for the one I just bought so I wouldn't be tossing around my money again. Its not personally made for her, but it should fit her appropriately based on the measurements and twist. She doesn't have an unusual or hard to fit form.

    I think, perhaps, my leg might not be felt through the fender, and when I put the leg on to turn, she views it as a new pressure. While bareback, my leg is constantly felt and isn't a new pressure when I turn, since she already feels it there.

    I have adopted a chair-seat these days and I noticed (in pictures) that's its a lot more prevelant in a saddle than it is bareback. Would this be a contributing factor?
         
        09-17-2012, 11:47 PM
      #4
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by calicokatt    
    To me it sounds like YOU think your saddle and bridle fits like a charm, but YOUR HORSE does not.... If she does not respond well with the bit while bareback, I'd try changing bits. If she responds fine with the bit while bareback, but not with the saddle, then either your saddle does not fit her, or your saddle does not fit you, OR you ride differently in the saddle than you do bareback...
    I think I might try something tomorrow. I'll just swing up onto her bareback with the bridle and see how that goes. Then I'll take the bridle off of her and add a saddle, and see what happens.

    That should answer some questions, right?
         
        09-17-2012, 11:51 PM
      #5
    Weanling
    YES!!! My own mare is much more 'hot' and unresponsive when undersaddle if I put my leg back into the correct position. So it is entirely possible that with your saddle putting your leg into a different position (chair seat) she is much more 'dead sided' and not responding as you would like. Try forcing your legs back (hard in a saddle that is not designed for it) and cue her and see what you get. If she responds better with your leg back (ignore the cramping you'll get), then it is your position that is the problem. This may mean that you need to get a different saddle that allows your leg to hang in a similar position to what it would if you were bareback, or that you need to condition your body to accomodate and compensate for the pain of putting your leg there in a saddle designed for a chairseat.
    Corporal likes this.
         
        09-17-2012, 11:52 PM
      #6
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Copperhead    
    I think I might try something tomorrow. I'll just swing up onto her bareback with the bridle and see how that goes. Then I'll take the bridle off of her and add a saddle, and see what happens.

    That should answer some questions, right?
    This is a GREAT place to start. There is definitely something causing the difference, so if you can figure out which piece of equipment it is, you're one step ahead!
         
        09-17-2012, 11:56 PM
      #7
    Super Moderator
    YOu cannot make a comparison of saddle vs bareback when you are also using a bit in one and not in the other. Too many variables. Try saddle +bit vs bareback + bit for a better comparison.

    I think that a horse that is not ridden bareback a lot will often be more hesitant to move our briskly. They are sometimes unsure. They feel a lot comeing throught the seat and leg of the rider, and if the rider is even a tiny bit unsure, unbalanced or grippy, they will often slow down , so as not to unseat the rider (dont' you think that is considerate?).
    Corporal and Missy May like this.
         
        09-18-2012, 12:17 AM
      #8
    Yearling
    I used to have a great leg position a couple years ago, before I had my daughter. I wasn't "allowed" to ride while married and have done more riding in the last 2 months than I had when I was married. Technically, he WOULD permit it, he would just put me in impossible positions to actually go riding.

    I took lungeline lessons (without reins) for about 6 months, once daily to better my seat and leg. That was 7 years ago though! So my body has had a proper position training. My muscle memory has just lapsed due to the lack of consistant riding for 3 years.

    Believe it or not, I was trying to focus on getting my leg back today while riding! I keep cringing while looking at photos of myself because of that shameful leg, and I wanted to change it. It was easy going while Raina was calm, but then poop got real when the other horses left the arena and she tensed up. After that we had to work on her, not me. Even still, if I looked down and saw my toes infront of my knees, I'd try and scoot them back.

    TinyLiny, I already know how she moves in a bit while under saddle. Technically, I did ride her bareback in a bit last week and she was still very unresponsive. I chocked it up to the fact that we were on a trail ride and we never trail ride, but now I think there may be more to it.

    I'm a hardcore believer into driving horses into soft bits. I've never used anything above a snaffle for a horse, and have always brought horses down from other bits and into a snaffle with great success. I've been pondering the snaffle and Raina though, and my biggest debate (in my own mind) is this:

    If I can't drive her into the bit via my other natural aids, I'm lacking something in my riding. I shouldn't blame the bit and switch to something different. I should work on myself.

    BUT, what if Raina truly doesn't like this bit?

    Based on the trailride I had with her the other day (bareback with a bit), she is much more responsive without a bit.

    I need to try the saddle/bit -v- saddle/halter deal to see if its a contributing factor. Boy, I have a lot to think about 0_O
         
        09-18-2012, 01:27 AM
      #9
    Super Moderator
    Can't drive her into the bit? I am not sure I am understanding that. Do you mean that she won't go forward? Or that she goes forward but goes above the bit?
         
        09-18-2012, 02:24 AM
      #10
    Yearling
    When I say "drive her in the bit", I mean to push the energy from behind, step through, and she'll drop her head into the bit (if in contact) or respond lightly to the signals from the bit due to the rest of the aids. Its also termed "On the aids" in certain facilities as well.

    I've had a lot of success in bringing horses down from bigger bits and into a snaffle by bringing them back to the basics of natural aids (leg, seat, ect). Once they are trained to move with the natural aids, asking them to push from behind, step through and soften isn't that hard.

    She hasn't gone above the bit since I replaced the tomthumb with a snaffle.

    I don't feel as though "bitting up" is really the answer, when you can get the same results with a snaffle, natural aids and timing. And that's why I'm so torn about switching bits with her. I'm obviously lacking something in my riding if I can't get her to respond to a snaffle the way she would to a halter (which still confuses me).

    I took her from a tomthumb to a snaffle, and she did great with it. Much more responsive. I took her from a snaffle to a halter and she did amazing...even more responsive.

    Either I'm doing something wrong or she just doesn't like the snaffle. I'm going to try riding her in the bit tomorrow (saddled), and then in a halter (saddled) to see whats going on there, if anything at all, and then try and riddle it out based on what happens.
         

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