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OkieGal 01-01-2012 10:55 PM

Constant bareback riding
Can constantly riding bareback have ill effects on a horse?

I'm currently saddless but I still want to ride.
The horse I have now, I trust him not to act a fool with me on him. I am a beginner though, so my seat isn't too great.

Would riding bareback actually be good for me?

Roperchick 01-01-2012 10:58 PM

riding bareback wont hurt your horse at all, and it will be very good for you. it will help with you balance, your seat and can give you a better understanding of a horses movements and reactions.

OkieGal 01-01-2012 11:00 PM

Thanks! :)

OuttatheBlue 01-02-2012 12:27 AM


Originally Posted by Roperchick (Post 1289261)
riding bareback wont hurt your horse at all, and it will be very good for you. it will help with you balance, your seat and can give you a better understanding of a horses movements and reactions.

Agreed! When I first got my horse, my old saddle didn't fit so we went bareback for the first month. Helped us get intune so much quicker! As soon as it starts getting cold, I normally ride bareback all winter long too.

allisonjoy 01-02-2012 12:34 AM

see that is a question i've had for years and always get mixed signals too. i ride bareback ALL the time merely because i believe it makes me a better rider, is convenient, and my horses seem to enjoy it too.

what i have heard from several people is that a saddle is meant to balance your weight evenly and properly over the horse's back and spine. even if you have a good seat supposedly it still affects the horse's spine, resulting in swayback on a horse and other spinal related injuries. now ive heard that this is long term obviously and i haven't experienced enough years of life to conduct this experiement but i still think it could be true.

i still ride bareback quite frequently, and basically all winter such as Outtatheblue mentioned they do, but it is always a thought in the back of my head.

also some say that it is okay at a walk or a well balanced trot, but i take my horse into all 4 gaits bareback. so i am also interested in the other forum member's responses. definitely subscribing.

Saranda 01-02-2012 03:10 AM

I am currently saddless, too, so I'm subscribing! As far as I've researched, bareback riding is ok, if the rider's weight is average or below it, if the horse's back is sound (due to the single pressure point rider creates on the horse's spine), and if trotting, cantering, galloping and jumping bareback is not too exagerated. Also, it is said to be often that beginners tend to tensen up their seat while riding bareback, and this, naturally, affects the horse and, if the horse is on the sensitive side, it also may provoke him to be more tense and stiff than normally.

Brighteyes 01-02-2012 03:39 AM

If you're a good enough rider to sit the gaits and not bounce on your horse's spine, no problems. If you do bounce (it sometimes a learning curb to learn how to stick!), just don't ride for too long. It's hammering over a long period that seems to cause irritation.

I've never had any problems with excessive bareback riding. My horse has never turned up sore, nor has her top line degraded any. I ride bareback very often and for long periods of time, at all gaits. Sometimes, I'm out for four or five hours barebacking the trails. If you ride for an hour or two a few times a week, I wouldn't hesitate.

ConfusciusWasAGreatTeachr 01-02-2012 07:32 AM

Doesn't the answer to this surely depend? Doesn't it depend on how well you can actually ride, how well you are balanced, how well the horse is developed, how well his muscles are developed, how the horse balances himself etc etc?

I guess it can be good, but I'm guessing it can also be bad depending on different factors. I see this question time and time again and I am still not sure. If you and the horse are in perfect harmony together, I guess less harm will be done, but achieving that harmony takes practise and mistakes (which could do harm?).
And then when you look at all the different saddles and pads etc that have so much emphasis on padding and distributing pressure points... it just makes me question this question over and over lol.

At the end of the day, read the horse. If he is not comfortable, then it's likely he'll be telling you.

COWCHICK77 01-02-2012 08:47 AM

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I was always told that on occasion it is fine but on a regular basis can hurt a horse. Which made sense to me when you think about it. When sitting bareback all of my weight would be primarily on the seat bones. That is a small area to concentrate all my weight to. When riding in a saddle the weight is distributed over the length of the tree.
I agree with Confuscius, I think there a lot of factors that would have to be considered.

I never enjoyed riding bareback, my dad made me do it as a kid to improve my riding. And wouldn't buy me a saddle until he was
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FlyGap 01-02-2012 11:02 AM

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I prefer to ride bareback and that's how I learned. My first regular riding horse I got when I was 11, I rode her mostly bareback for 14 years. She never had a back issue, her top line was beautiful, she had no indication of a swayback at age 16 (she actually looked more like 7yrs when she passed). We were under the impression that she was just under 2 when we got her GREENBROKE, ugh! So as long as you distribute your weight evenly and don't pound his back at different gaits he should be just fine. I'm not sure how you are built, I was a pretty bony kid but riding helped my seat and ride with my entire body! Perfect way to become a better rider!

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