ridingpad versus saddle - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 11-13-2012, 07:08 AM Thread Starter
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ridingpad versus saddle

Hi all,

Im about to start riding lessons on my new horse. Just wondering...and I hope this isnt a dumb question...Is it better to use a ridingpad or a saddle? (I think its called a ridingpad? Just a pad thing with a girth but no stirrups?)

He came with a ridingpad and this is what he's been ridden in so he's used to it.
On the other hand Ive got an australian stock saddle that looks like it fits him (will get it checked)
Ive never used a ridingpad before, but I thought seeing as I havnt ridden seriously in years it might be good for me, maybe improved seat, better leg aids etc? These are the things I really need to work on!

Or is there any reason its better to have lessons using a saddle?

Im not planning to do anything fancy with him, just lots of long trail rides.


Thanks for your input!
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post #2 of 10 Old 11-13-2012, 07:20 AM
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What you have is a bareback pad. If you're going to be taking lessons, the instructor will expect you to ride in a saddle.

I suggest you find out very quickly how familiar with the saddle your horse happens to be.
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post #3 of 10 Old 11-13-2012, 07:27 AM
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Bareback pads can be useful, but they are not suitable for longer rides, as they don't distribute the riders' weight over the horses' back, especially, if the rider is not too skilled and balanced. They just help the rider feel a little more secure on a bareback horse and the best ones can take away a LITTLE bit of pressure, but nothing more, so keep the pad for learning to ride bareback in shorter sessions and stick to your saddle for lessons and trail rides - safer for you and more comfortable for your horse (of course, if the saddle fits him).
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post #4 of 10 Old 11-13-2012, 07:34 AM Thread Starter
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Righto, barebackpad. Thanks for that.
Im assuming the horse knows about saddles, well, I'll soon find out!

But meanwhile, at home, would the bareback pad be good for improving balance, seat etc? Mostly, Id just like to not fall off! Can I alternate the two or is it better to stick to the saddle for a while?
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post #5 of 10 Old 11-13-2012, 07:52 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Saranda, you must have posted while I was (slowly) typing,
yep, sounds like Im best to just put the bareback pad away for now....I really dont have great balance (yet!)
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post #6 of 10 Old 11-13-2012, 10:31 AM
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Never assume your horse knows anything you haven't seen him do before. :) Introduce the saddle as if it was the first time. He may have holes you don't want to make deeper. ;)
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post #7 of 10 Old 11-13-2012, 12:55 PM
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I have a bareback pad but mine has stirrups to help with balance. You can't mount with it like you would a saddle because they do move even if you got the cinch tight.
I actually rode with just the bareback pad/halter for the first three years I had my very green 3yr. old roan mare LOL I learnt my balance real quick with her! She never bolted with me but if something scared her the next thing I knew we were turned around facing back the way we came LOL luckily like I said I learnt my balance really quick and never fell off once.
I do have a saddle now, but I use the bareback pad in the winter.....it's definetly warmer when you get the heat from the horse and your horse doesn't get as sweaty......

My horses are the joy in my life.....
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post #8 of 10 Old 11-13-2012, 12:57 PM
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I have a dislike against those bareback pads with stirrups. They majorly increase the pressure on horses' back, concentrating usually just in a one pressure point - so, if riding bareback, then I definitely prefer no stirrups at all.

I have come a long way, to surrender my shadow to the shadow of my horse.
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post #9 of 10 Old 11-13-2012, 01:45 PM
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Riding occasionally in the bareback pad is a fine idea- it will give you a better feel for the horse's movement and help improve your balance. Riding in a saddle without stirrups is also a great tool for learning balance, and I think it's a fantastic exercise for beginners as well as experienced riders. My trainer encourages her students to ride stirrup-less for all lessons in December for that very reason.

For lessons, I'd definitely expect the instructor to require a saddle except for maybe a few short sessions if you specifically ask to learn more about riding bareback.

As others have mentioned, I'd approach saddling the horse very cautiously, as it sounds like you didn't see/ride the horse with a saddle before buying him?
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post #10 of 10 Old 11-14-2012, 08:41 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for your thoughts....yes I bought the horse from interstate but was sent videos which I just checked and some do show him being ridden in a saddle.
There's a lovely video of a lady using a saddle flopping around like a sack of potatoes at the trot, which he is very patiently putting up with.
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