What's the best way to learn to ride balanced and correct in your saddle? Ride without one!
It's amazing how good riding position really presents itself when you fall back on your instincts (if they are good ones anyway). With myself, I am constantly trying to ride "correct", even if I am just out on the trails conditioning my horse. In all honesty, I don't do a whole lots of bareback riding on my horse because he has a more narrow build and isn't all that smooth. I rely on my saddle to make my ride smooth by catching my own weight and body. Plus he is 16.1 hands off the ground; that's a little tall! However, I do love riding my mom's horse bareback as well as our Welsh/Nokota cross. They are much easier to ride bareback too being they both are more of a 50-gallon barrel build. Those fat pockets on the shoulder are brilliantly comfortable!
I did have the pleasure of doing the Bareback Buck Race at a horse show this summer, and I was surprised (and impressed) by myself when I saw the pictures. How in all that is holy we took 4th place out of about 16 entries, I will never know. But we did and I was very proud of him! (and myself for not falling off)
In this event, you went round and round the arena western-pleasure style at either the walk, trot, or canter. Everyone had a one dollar bill tucked under your leg, just sticking out enough that the judges could see it. The last one who still had their dollar under their leg wins! And it was a very windy day that day - no room for errors!
This is my favorite picture. I got my heel, hip, and ear all lined up! So proud of myself .... This also was earlier on in the event, obviously at the trot. (Just please don't mind my left hand clinging to his mane for dear life!)
Can't tell much if I am lined up heel-hip-ear, but I can see my heels are nicely down as they should be.
This one is not quite as good, but if I remember right they just called for a canter so I *think* I was trying to get him to speed up. I want to ask more gently because he is quite excitable (this is my barrel horse we are talking about!). How I still have my dollar here, I have no idea! I guess the placement is key!
And we are galloping wilding around the arena ...... but I still have my dollar! He's thinking: "Oooo! We get to go faster!"
I'm thinking: "Slow down you psycho! I'm going to fall off or lose my dollar! Can't you gallop nice?"
We are nearing the end as most of the other riders have already lost their dollar (standing in the middle).
Well we've gone all the way around the arena, and he's settled down to a nice canter, finally! As far as I remember, this was just a few seconds before I did finally lose my dollar and take 4th place. They called for a trot and our transition down to it wasn't so smooth = dollar blew away in the wind!
Anyways, I guess seeing all these pictures made me feel better about my own riding since in most of them I feel like I am in a good position. Granted, I do consider myself a good rider but at the same time I know I can always improve something.
Very long story short --> bareback riding does wonderings for RIDER TRAINING! (Just as important as horse training.)
Anyone else have any comments/stories on the benefits of bareback riding?