Gonna Relearn Barebacking & Swim
So, I've recently decided that, for the sake of my saddle, I'm going to at least attempt training myself to ride bareback again. The only problem is, the first time I rode, I learned on a pony - not a full sized horse. I'm also really worried he'll get giddy on the trail, and knowing my luck, when I squeeze, he'll bolt.
Does anyone have any advice for me here? I know I'll be practicing in the smaller arena at the ranch so I have sand to land on for awhile, but that won't help me in the open if he does get fresh.
On the trail with a saddle, he's known to buck and get hyper, especially when he's been permitted to trot/canter for any amount of time or another horse around him trots/canters/has a meltdown. He never has had a serious meltdown on me since the first few rides, but y'know...
Take it slow! I would start in the arena or lawn if you don't have one so that if you do fall or need help you are right at home/barn. Start at the walk, and work your way up as you feel balanced. Don't push yourself too quickly. Once your horse can spook, buck, and canter in the arena and you're comfortable with it, THEN you should try the trail... :) I'm not saying to quit trail riding, but to only do it with a saddle for now until you are more comfortable without one.I re-taught myself last year and was terrified at first, but I took it slow and now she can gallop, buck, saddle or not I don't really care. It just takes time and patience! I also cheat and use a bareback pad to get some traction. If your horse has a sleek coat, you may want to do the same. Good luck!
i think that they make bareback pads with stirrups(de-tachable) which might be something to look into. then you get the "bareback" feel, but have stirrups to use if anything gets funky.
They do make bareback pads with stirrups, however I don't advise using that kind. The reasoning here is that if you lean more into one stirrup than the other, the whole thing swings sideways and you are more likely to fall...kind of a "false sense of security" thing. Plus...posting and riding with a stirrup-less bareback pad results in amazing leg muscle :)
I walked him bareback yesterday. First in the arena, then I opened the gate (on his back) and walked him around outside, up and down the little slope where we tie the trail horses. (It's weird to describe, but it was helpful.) He was really comfortable, and even managed to stop himself from having a meltdown when the dogs ran down from Nancy's porch barking.
This Sunday we'll be going swimming. My mom suggested I ride him tacked up out there and simply untack him at the lake. Sounds good, but I wouldn't be able to ride him out into the water, which is half the fun. He's a tad tall for me to hop onto, but I'm gonna see how patient he is with me and find a way to do it if I'm barefoot. (Mostly because I used to ride barefoot on bareback all the time.)
Good luck on the bareback work. I am very jealous. I love going swimming bareback, but I have nowhere to.
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