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FireFlies 12-09-2009 08:19 PM

Bareback or saddle?
So today I rode Zane for the first time since he has been back from the trainers for the second time. He did wonderful, much improved since a month ago but of course he still needs miles put on him and more training.
Because it was cold and I still needed to put my stirrup back on my saddle, I rode bareback. Which this would have been the forth time I've ridden him bareback and I like to because I feel like I have more usage of my legs to urge him forward and such.
So we rode up and down our short drive way and he was doing great--even got him into a trot!--so I decided to ride through the fourwheeler trail that loops around our house. I had already walked him down it and he did fine so off we went.
Having a lot of pent of energy Zane started trotting down the trail and I had to really focus on keeping him a a walk because he doesn't do his foxtrot yet and I was failing all over the place trying to stay on!
Anyway, Our neighbors have a garage/barn that sits at the end of the trail before you turn to walk into our front yard. We were halfway up the trail facing this barn when their black ****zu--named Speezio who I like to call Spazio--comes bolting around the corner barking his stupid head off.
Zane is very spooky, the trainer said so and I've dealt with it. He's spooked at an apple tree before. So of course he was completely terrified of this tiny dog--who dissapeared inside after I started calling him bad names--and jumped sideways then bolted down the trail.
Needless to say I fell off.
I rolled but somehow Zane's front hoof lightly grazed the side of my knee. I'm fine though! There's not even a bruise :D
I got to my feet and jogged down the trail were Zane was bucking, calm him down and lead him back up the trail and past were I fell so he could see the demon dog was gone then mounted up again and rode the rest of the trail and up and down our drive way until my mom left for work.
I had an awesome time even if I did fall off and if it's not blizzarding tomorrow I'm gonna do it again with a pellet gun so I can say "Hi" to Speezio :-P

Okay, so now the story is over with kind of. The point of this thread was to ask you guys which do you think is better to do? Riding bareback or with a saddle? I told my dad about my riding--with a grin on my face--and he got on to me for riding bareback and told me to never do it again--thus removing the grin and happy feeling from me--. He is impossible to argue with so I didn't press the point but the whole time I was thinking, why?

The same thing above happened to me in the saddle too. Zane spooked at a apple tree and off I went...I was fine and I got back on.

My saddle is the oldest in the world--70 years old--so everything--no matter what I do--is very stiff, the fenders mostly, so it's really difficult to work Zane with my legs and the stirrups are about one hole and a half to short and I can't raise them any more.

My seat and balence is just as good--if not a little better--riding bareback then riding in a saddle.

What do you guys think?

IslandWave 12-10-2009 02:33 AM

I like both. I tend to ride more in a saddle, but not for any major reason. I like riding bareback without a pad, so it's not that fun to do when my horse is shedding or sweating alot. I do tend to ride bareback on our lazy or fun days and tack up when we're going to do a serious workout.

I'd do whatever works best for you. Unless you plan to show, a saddle isn't even needed.

AlmostThere 12-10-2009 02:44 AM

I think your Dad was scared for you and overreacted.

Personally, if I was worried about my horse spooking, I'd probably ride in a saddle in areas with spazzy dogs. I'd save bareback for areas I was reasonably sure he was comfortable with, which might be around the yard for awhile.

If your saddle is hard to use, and your Dad is worried about your safety, maybe you can convince him to get you a new saddle for Christmas. You know, so you can be safer :wink:.

FireFlies 12-10-2009 10:06 AM

Thanks for your opinions guys! Today when I go back on the trail I am going to use a saddle but I will probably ride bareback when we warm up on the drive way.

AlmostThere: yeah, I've been hinting about a new saddle since November :P I'm kind of stuck though because I still need to find a good place to board my horse and I would be taking money out of that to get a new I don't know. We are kind of tight on money right now and you know how much saddles cost!
Also, I totally agree that if there were dogs or anything that might scare him I would ride with a saddle but yesterday I just completely forgot about that dumb little dog! Which is odd since he attacked one of my chickens and I swore to avenge her lost tail feathers :P

Crimsonhorse01 12-10-2009 10:24 AM

Personally, I start horses off bareback and if there might be a situation I ride that way as well. I wont get caught or drug. I think it is much safer. I ride better bareback than in a saddle though.

Cheshire 12-10-2009 02:10 PM

I like in riding bareback...but it majorly depends on the horse. When it comes to Lilly the Witherless Wonder, bareback is like straddling a really slick, wide barrell, lol. The smallest spook and off you goooooooo! When she looses some more weight it might be easier, but somehow I don't think so. A pad would help...I just need to find one.

Personally I prefer bareback for shorter friend and I used to explore all around her property on her two horses bareback. But for longer, more intense trail rides I'd stick with a saddle.

Like someone said I think your dad got scared when you told him that your horse spaz'd you off so he overreacted. ;) One can be unseated just as easily from a saddle IMHO.

Shananigan 12-10-2009 03:02 PM

I love riding bareback!!! I agree, that if your are going to get thrown it is safer because it's a clean fall, and there's nothing to get caught up on. Like what everone else is saying, if I'm going for an intense ride, than I use my saddle, but for just around the neighbor I use bareback. Also, if I plan on the possiblity of getting off I use my saddle because being so short it's difficult to get back on sometimes.:lol: I'd have to say though, whenever I can get away with it, I ride bareback!

I know what you're saying, my dad was (and still is) VERY protective over me when it comes to riding horses. For the longest time he wouldn't even consider me getting on a horse without a saddle. And the EXTREMELY RARE occasions that I did, I was strickly confinded to the yard infront of the house. This all recently changed about a year or so ago. We met someone who use to be an english trainer, a couple years ago and now we're very close friends. She's been giving me lessons. At first she put me in a western saddle, to asses my skills, then she made me ride bareback and told my dad that this was how she taught and I could handle it. Eventually he mellowed and now I can go through all my paces easily riding bareback and now I ride our older Arabian bareback all the time!!!

I have a couple different suggestions!

1.) You might be able to loosen your saddle up by oiling it? You might already have and it's just a stiff saddle, but my trainer friend turned me on to this wood floor polishing oil stuff that works WONDERS on saddles! She gave me a very stiff English saddle, like you couldn't even bend the flaps of leather without it squeaking and cracking. I used this oil and now it's soft, doesn't make ANY noise and the leather is soft and supple! I WILL get back to you with the name of it, because at the moment it has slipped my mind!!:shock: Also, is there any room to punch more holes in it? At a local tack store you should be able to find a hole puncher, or you could probably do it yourself with some sharp tools. This is all just incase you don't get a new saddle for christmas, which I hope you do!!!:-)

2.) Also, maybe you could pick a day where Zane is on his BEST behavior, lunge him maybe, just make sure he's going real sweet for you. (And a day your dad is in a really good, open-minded mood) Then when you are 100% sure everything will be good, call your dad out to watch you ride Zane around the yard bareback and show that you've got it under control! I know there's never 100% with a horse, but get Zane on HIS best behavior and show off a little!:-) It might be worth a shot, I understand if you don't think it'd work. It'd be pretty hard for me to get my dad to agree to it, but if you can pull it off, it might be worth a try!:wink:

Sorry for the long post!!!

RiosDad 12-10-2009 06:25 PM


Originally Posted by AlmostThere (Post 486545)
I think your Dad was scared for you and overreacted.


I don't think he was over reacting at all. You are setting your horse up to fail. I am a very experience long distance rider and I would never consider a ride bareback and my legs , balance and skill are far above yours.
You just got the horse back from the trainer and already you have done something stupid.
I feel sorry for the horse.

MN Tigerstripes 12-14-2009 02:39 PM

I tend to ride bareback much more then I ride in a saddle. However, when taking Soda to a new area I put a saddle on. It's good for him to stay used to a saddle and I want to increase the chances that I'll stay on if he does jump/over-react to something. Also, if you cannot ride a trot bareback without bouncing all over the place I don't think you should ride bareback. I can't imagine it's very comfortable.

RiosDad - What do you mean she is setting the horse up to fail? Riding bareback or how she rode?

sillybunny11486 12-14-2009 02:41 PM

I ride bareback for fun. I ride in a saddle for horses that need retraining. Its hard to ride a green horse bareback, your instincts are to hold on with your legs, and a horses instincts are to go faster with leg pressure.

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