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MeLikesUke 04-09-2012 10:13 PM

Going bareback for the first time
Hi everyone, I'm new to the forum. :wave: I've been riding English for 10 years now (I'm 18). I've done pleasure riding, hunt-seat equitation, dressage, and hunter/jumper; I'm looking into starting eventing with the horse that I'm leasing - she's a super sweet, smart, and willing 7-year-old Hanoverian mare who absolutely loves jumping (she's about 15.2 hh and chooses to TROT over anything under 3 feet xD). Anywhoo, I'm looking to start riding her bareback, which I've never done with any other horse before. It's always been something I wanted to do, but I just never had the guts to or was around the wrong kind of people (I was at a snobby hunter/jumper barn for a while where everyone totally looked down on normal things like the occasional trail ride :shock:). So, I'm in a comfortable place now, I love and trust the mare, and I have been riding for a decent amount of time. Plus, I'm an adult :-P So, it's time to do it!

I'm completely comfortable riding walk/sitting trot/posting trot/canter/gallop without stirrups. Squeaks (the horse) is super responsive to body weight & leg cues, and she tends to be a rather calm ride. But I'm still a little hesitant! Should I just jump right in there and try it, or are there other things I should do first? She's never been ridden bareback before, so I'm worried that she'll be confused or freaked out or refuse to go because Mommy forgot something :-P Any tips? I'll be riding with all of my normal riding gear and will probably throw on the protective vest just for good measure; I'll start out just walking and maybe trotting just so the two of us get used to riding without a saddle. Does that sound right, and do you think we're ready? I don't want to jump in and have something go wrong and give us both a bad experience, but I'm also tired of waiting. Advice please!

boldstart 04-09-2012 10:49 PM

Bareback is great fun and even better when you have mates and you are just hooning around the arena.
It sounds like you and your horse are more of capable of doing bareback, but its just the nerves getting to you.

I would suggest to do some work in the saddle on your horse before you jump oh her bareback for the first. Just do a bit of walk trot and canter and once you have done some work, strip the saddle off and have a go.

Make sure you have someone to leg you on and help out if somethign doesnt happen. Also, just put put a neck strap aroudn your hroses neck, just in case. Start off slow. Do walk and halts and turns and once you are more relax, step up into a trot and finally canter.

You know your horse best, so listen to her and if she shows she is not happy maybe its time to end the session for that day.

Good luck and have fun!

smrobs 04-09-2012 10:58 PM

Howdy and welcome to the forum :D.

Bareback is a ton of fun (except on those horses with sharkfin withers:wink::lol:). What I normally do when riding a horse bareback for the first time is to lead them up beside a mounting block, fence, pickup, trailer, etc. Anything tall enough where I can just swing a leg over and don't have to jump or pull myself up at all. I'll walk them up beside it and spend a minute just rubbing them across their back with my arm to judge their reactions to that.

Then, I just slide on and sit there for a couple of minutes, petting on them and talking to them. When I feel like they are comfortable, I will ask them to this point, I usually take a handful of mane as a bit of a safety handle.

Some horses never even act like anything is different and other horses take a fair bit of time to get used to being able to feel you directly on their back like that with no tack.

I always take it really slow at first though, and make sure they are comfortable doing every maneuver possible at the walk (turns, leg yields, stop, backing up, etc) before I even consider going to the trot.

Oh, and most importantly......


Island Horselover 04-09-2012 11:20 PM

I LOVE riding bareback, so much fun and you feel all diffrent muscels of your horse you usually do not feel due to the saddle. I have a Warmblood too, she is 17.2hh and is so not comfortable to ride bareback! Autsch :0) Hope yours has a little bit more of a round back... Just start walking around and give you and the horse a chance to get used to it, but most likely the horse will love it as I can imagine they do not love the saddles :0) You will love it too, just do walking as long as you need to feel 100% comfi and then try some light trotting and maybe a little canter, it is so much fun and you def. should not miss out on that. Enjoy it and be safe but I am sure you will do fine! Cheers!!!!!!!!

Oh, and post some pics!!!!!!!! Love bareback riding pics....

Gleek 04-10-2012 06:07 AM

Don't worry there isn't much too worry about bareback riding. Just a lot of loose fur, boney backs are never good and if the horse gets a fright.. it's barely ever good.
Always make sure you have balance though!
It's fine and if your horse takes a saddle she should easily take you bareback!

autumnheart 04-10-2012 08:04 AM

I have to say that I have not ridden bareback very much, but I do love it! I plan on working with it more so I am at least capable of a trot on bareback. (Yeah, I haven't even managed the trot on bareback...)
Not to scare you, but the last time I rode bareback I fell off. :P

Cintillate 04-10-2012 09:00 AM

I ride bareback a lot. Most of mine were started bareback but one I think wasn't because she kind of thought it strange I jumped on her. Human slave I think you are missing something. I think you should be fine, you say you trust your horse. You know your horse most importantly you want to. :D

If you really want to play safe can you have some one lead you around while you are on her so that you can get the feel of it? Outside of that it is up to you and you shouldn't have much to worry about. Have fun. :)

dressagegirl77 04-10-2012 09:06 AM

I would just take it slow with her, if your reallly worried she wont understand, maybe try a bareback pad first, then you have a little something. every horse ive jumped on bareback for the first time was ok with it. just walk first. i usually hop up on them bareback after i rode and we are cooling down.
Have Fun! =]

autumnheart 04-10-2012 09:20 AM


Originally Posted by dressagegirl77 (Post 1447064)
I would just take it slow with her, if your reallly worried she wont understand, maybe try a bareback pad first, then you have a little something. every horse ive jumped on bareback for the first time was ok with it. just walk first. i usually hop up on them bareback after i rode and we are cooling down.
Have Fun! =]

That's what I used to do in my lessons.

streaky 04-23-2012 10:00 AM

when i first learnt to ride bareback i left my horses canvas rug on and found it helped me grip while getting use to it there are also bareback pads you can buy that might help you. there is nothing better than riding bareback i prefer it over a saddle anyday :)

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