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- - Bareback Riding? (http://www.horseforum.com/horse-training/bareback-riding-17982/)
I know alot of people like to ride bareback, however I've been told that this can damage a horses back? What are your opinions? I've ridden Candy bareback around the paddock before and its alot of fun because she is so fat [=
Is this bad for a horses back? Some people love it but others think its wrong.
Why would bareback be bad, when strapping an ill-fitting saddle that really CAN mess a horse's back up isn't? Not logical, but I see that alot in horses.
IF you are a good rider, you won't hurt a horses back reguardless of how you ride. I ride bareback alot, and it has improved my riding skills, I can feel the horse's back movements, and how they collect and such even better that way.
I think excessive bareback riding may be bad for a horses back but I'm not sure, I have seen others post on this topic but I have not asked a vet. I ride bareback quite a bit in the summer.... I feel like it's better then putting a big heavy saddle on the horse....
i think that if you are bouncing up and down with out a good seat bareback you can do harm.
if you are "with the rythm" and really one with your horse, I see no problem in it at all....justin has more miles bareback than not, and has never been back sore ;-)
Bareback riding generally won't damage a horse's back. However, it isn't highly recommended with older horses (it can help speed up giving a horse a swayed back as they get older). Plus, it can help you learn to find your own center of balance without relying heavily on a saddle. You also generally don't have to worry about a loose girth, or saddle that is too small. Not to mention it's just plain old good fun! It, for me anyways, always helps me feel more...connected with me horsey!:-P
The trot is normally the hardest gait to sit to, even in a saddle...so of course it's going to be 10 times more bouncey without the saddle. If you are constantly bouncing up and down (meaning your butt leaves the horse's back even an inch) you can do damage quite fast. One day of it probably won't be permanant damage, but if it's a constant thing that you cannot correct, then it can be really bad for the horse.
As with gaits...you may have the best of seat in the saddle...you can even ride out your horses killer trot (extremely bouncy), but can you ride it without bouncing bareback?
Since you are close to the horse, every pressure you put on the horse every move that you make...the horse will know. You must be sure that you are sitting on your balance point, that you aren't constantly moving around (not only uncomfortable for hte horse, but you'll start making him do dead to leg aids).
I have asked my vet what she thought, and she said the same thing, as long as you aren't bouncing on the horse's back, it's fine. Your horse will tell you if you are hurting them, so look for the signs.
A good way to tell if they are hurting is get a video of you riding in your saddle (make sure it's one that fits properly) and get the video of walk, trot, and canter. Note where his head is, neck, ears, tail, and back.
Then do it while going bareback and note where everything is.
If the head and or is higher, normally that means pain (or he's frightened), if ears can mena pain if they are back really far, tail extra swishing of tail, and the back if it's hallow or hallow-er than normal.
If you were to start riding bareback, I highly suggest a bareback pad for the first month or so. Especially one with a handle on it. That way it's a little easier to balance and you'll know where you have to sit to stay on. Then once you can sit walk/trot/canter on the bareback pad, remove it and have fun. Not sure if anyone else would suggest that, but that is what I did, and it helped completely.
A note about bareback pads- I would HIGHLY recommend a breastcollar, and use a mounting block. Not the easiest to secure, even as tight as you get it with a saddle. That has been my experience with them.
I recommend the Tacky Too bareback pad...or any one that uses a REAL girth (western or english). It will not move side to side as long as it's on tight enough.
The other type that has two metal ring things and a nylon strap...does NOT WORK. I've tried them and they don't stay tight..so you'll need a breastplate with that type.
All in all, you don't particually need a mounting block, but I find it's alot easier for you and the horse. Sonny gives me weird looks when I try to mount without one
Never tried the Tacky Too pad. Love the saddle pads, tho.
Unless you can vault-mount, any mounting can be hard on the horse. I only mount without a block if I have to, cuz I can't vault-mount.
I actually use bareback pad all the time - otherwise my butt will be horribly dirty (had it experience in the beginning).
As said if your horse is smooth and quiet it's fun to do. My paint has a horrid trot even in saddle and rather funny back, so no matter what I can't sit very tight bareback. My qh with the wide back is nice to sit on (although she may buck if she feels like it).
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