Originally Posted by kevinshorses
The saddle isn't only there to stop you from falling off. It also helps distribute your wieght across the horses back. As far as bridleless goes, you should have absolute perfect control of your horse at all gaits before you think about going bridleless. When proffesional horsemen do it they are showing you that their horses are really broke. They didn't get that broke by being ridden bridleless. They are ridden bridleless because they are that broke.
On the saddle part, I've ridden bareback for years, and haven't had horses get sore from it; I geuss it depends on your seat, and comfort level, whether you do it or not. A person can sore a horse by riding improperly in a saddle too. And certainly a person who slides around alot bareback can do the same thing.
I definitely second this; I've trained horses to ride brideless, but it is a PROCESS, not simply something you just decide to DO one day!
Your horse should respond to your seat, and leg cues perfectly before you attempt to 'forget' about the bridle. And you'll want to practice riding bridleless before taking the bridle off, as was suggested above, by simply having it on, but not using it unless absolutely necessary.