So I've been kinda hankering to ride Lacey bareback lately but I'm not sure if she's ever really been ridden bareback before since she can be a bit of a firecracker under saddle.
That being said, how would I go about checking to see if she's fine with it? She can't stand it when anyone is holding her and someone gets on her back so I'm not thinking that's an option... Should I just kinda lean on her back from the mounting block and hop on if she seems ok?
I'm thinking she'll probably be fine since she's has calmed down a lot a lot in the last couple of months but she does have her bronco moments and while I'm confident in the stickiness of my rear I'm not sure I could stay on if she starts pulling some crazy tricks.
I really don't want to come off of her becuase she learns super fast so she'd probably either start behaving worse for awhile or, like she was after a girl fell off of her last summer, super concerned about the human on her back and pretty much doing everything with her head turned so she could see how the person back there was doing. Silly horse.
So any ideas?
Honestly, getting on bareback is taking a bit of a risk... but it's definitely worth it if it works out. I suggest just getting on as you normally might and walking calmly around a little while to gauge her reaction. If she seems a little disconcerted, proceed with caution.
Something that might ease the transition would be to use a bareback pad. As long as you get it on good and snug, it's usually better material for your butt to stick to. Horses can be fairly slick some of the time. :D
I agree, a bareback pad can make the transition from saddle to no-saddle a bit smoother for a horse. My mare had never been ridden bareback before I got her, and she was way confused, kept looking over her shoulder, not wanting to go. Sort of like "Are you sure you're supposed to be up there... there's no saddle..."
Then I slapped a bareback pad on her and she was good to go. She just needed -something- there to tell her we were working. Then I took the stirrups off. Then I took the pad off. She seemed ok with it all, she just needed the pad for a while.
I will disagree with the bareback pad unless it's one of the really $$ ones. the cheap ones slip very easily.
Also, in general, it really depends on your horse. If you are confident in your seat that will be a huge help. Getting on is often the hardest part, at least for me, haha... Will she go into a squeeze, or between a fence and a car, or something similar safely? I say "safely" because my mare will and that's the only way I can get on her bareback, but not all horses are ok with going into a narrower space like that. I used to park my mare between the arena rail and a raised bench and hop onto the bench to get on her back; now after only a couple years of that (!) she'll stand next to anything and let me on.
Beyond that for the actual riding itself, try it in a bullpen or other small area first? You could even hop on in her stall if it's safe and just hang out on her while she's eating or something, if she'll let you. Like anything new, maybe put a pad on her and lunge her with it first, then get on and start with the basics and work your way up to regular work.
Also, if the bareback pad itself isn't enough, you can always put a saddle pad under it for extra squishiness or grip if you have a rubber-backed saddle pad.
I don't ever get on a horse bareback unless I am sure that they will not buck. There is just too much risk there, in my opinion. As for actually getting on, I do just what you said
"Should I just kinda lean on her back from the mounting block and hop on if she seems ok?"
I also stick with an area that I know they are comfortable with for a while and make sure that they are relaxed before I ask for anything more than a walk.
Thanx ya'll! I didn't ask the question, but I've been thinking about it with my mare, too. Good advice.
One thing about bareback pads is stirrups=very bad idea. If you lose your balance with stirrups the entire pad will slip whereas if you lose your balance without stirrups the pad wont tip and you'll actually have an easier time righting yourself.
Thanks for the great advice! I'm gonna go see her tomorrow so I'll hopefully be able to try it out then.
I'm probably not going to use a pad because I've used them before and I just find them to be a lot harder to deal with, but if she seems completely uncomfortable/freaked out I'll definitely try using one.
I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow! =)
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