Timid rider bareback
I am a very timid rider and my horse is not the most predictable horse in the bunch. I have, up until recently, been completely terrified of riding bareback but with the help of a friends older been-there-done-that horse I have managed to w/t. Thing is, bareback drastically improves my ability to ride in the saddle. I see a huge improvement in my seat and positioning as well as my general confidence.
My question is this, being the proud owner of an oh-sh*t strap on my saddle (it's a different color and stands out fantastically, something I find throughly amusing), what do you suggest for a bit of extra security?
When I was originally learning to ride my then instructor used a western saddle pad and an ancient lunging surcingle. I wouldn't be adverse to trying a similar set up again.
Thanks in advance
hope you get some answers to your questions
I very much sympathize with you on this... I'm cursed with a strong sense of self-preservation myself, and even on horses that I know to be very quiet and predictable I hesitate to ride bareback. Like you, I'm well aware of the benefits, even necessities, of riding bareback from time to time.
I've had bareback lessons where the teacher would instruct me to fit the horse with a bareback pad; more in the interest of protecting the horse's back than coddling my nerves. The bareback pad had a sheet of foam padding, and the foam was covered by a sheet of suede. There was a handle at the "pommel," more for transportation purposes, but doubled as an oh-sh*t strap. Really good pads like the one my instructor had are pretty expensive, but depending on your situation it may be worth it.
A cheaper option for a bareback grab strap is to simply find an English stirrup leather and buckle that around the base of the horse's neck - tight enough to not slop as the horse moves normally, but definitely loose enough that it doesn't interfere with him. It won't be a firm point to grip, quite like the strap on your saddle, but it is a little more than the mane to grab for while you're building confidence.
Also, I like riding bareback in the winter/early spring - I'll just pop on in the pasture and walk/jog around for a little bit. Winter means more layers/puffy snow gear that soften the idea of a fall, as well as a layer of snow or soft and damp ground. The idea of falling into mud in my bootleg-Carhartt snowsuit always sounded more appealing than landing on hard summer dirt in a tank top and thin breeches.
Good luck!! :wink:
Since you have an "oh crap" strap on your saddle, I assume it's an english saddle.
In that case, I don't think you have to ride bareback to gain a better seat. Simply pull the stirrup leather buckles down a bit so that they are not under your thighs, then place each stirrup across the pommel and down the other side.
Now you can ride without stirrups but still have the strap right where it always is in case you need it.
You'll get 95% of the benefit of riding bareback with the bonus that your horse has the saddle to better distribute your weight on his back.
I spend about five minutes of each riding session doing just that, mostly at the trot.
I do, in fact spend a good amount of time stirrup-less. It's a good suggestion but not exactly what I'm looking for.
I'll keep looking at bareback saddle pads. Haven't found one that looked really good to me yet.
My horse, Bennett, doesn't understand the idea of a stirrup leather around his neck. It makes him nervous and more spooky then normal. I have no idea why though.
Mildot- Sorry the second comment was in response to something another commenter said. I'm new to this forum and don't quite know my way around.
The other poster (who's name has slipped my mind) suggested a stirrup leather around his neck as a sort of Oh-crap strap. Bennett doesn't understand this concept and that makes him nervous.
Triple E Fleece Bareback Pad - Statelinetack.com
My trainer has one of these in the lesson tack room. i rode "bareback" for the very first time in my LIFE (i've been riding for about 20 years!) in this very saddle pad. I felt secure and comfortable. And heck, it's pretty cheap too!
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