I got on Citrus today, out in the pasture, so I could ride him back. However, he kept reaching to my feet and trying to nibble my toes.... I had just painted them, so perhaps he was smelling them.
The issue is that I am nervous to be on him bareback. I got off and tried again when I had my helmet on and was in the roundpen. He is not the type of guy to buck or super-sideways-spook (he suddenly freezes when something gets his attention).....
How has anyone else worked with their horse to ride bareback. I am sure I did a good thing today by making it short. Now he knows that it is okay with me up there and that he still has to pay attention to cues (I made him back, front and hind pivots and then got off).
I took a young dressage horse, popped a bareback pad on him, and got on him like it was no big deal for his first time. Beforehand, of course, I made sure that he was calm with the bareback pad on and I also did a couple 'fake mounts'/put some weight on him (hard to explain) to make sure he was alright. I find that if you treat it as something normal and expected, the horse will be relaxed as well. His first bareback pad ride was just arena walk work, and he did so well that we did a quick 15 minute trail. The next ride we did just a tad of trotting.
If he goes to nibble your toes, keep your reins tighter and pull on the opposite rein so he can't reach you, and keep him moving forward. It will be much harder for the horse to reach around to your toes if he is maintaining a brisk walk. You may want to try riding with a bareback pad at first, some of them come with a handle and they will often have better grip than without. You could also get used to riding in a saddle stirrup-less first. Make sure when you're on without stirrups that your legs don't flop around, you want to keep them relatively as steady as they would be with stirrups. However, you absolutely do not want to tighten up and grip with your legs.
Haha, I feel the same way on Jynxy right now. I've ridden Zierra bareback from the beginning, she was never phased by it and I've always been good bareback. But lately I've gained weight and my balance is shot. That combined with Jynx not liking me on her bareback, and it makes me a little nervous! The minute I shift my weight, she stops DEAD, and who can blame her? It's not my fault she's hyper sensitive, she's only responding to what I taught her with a saddle.
Just take it slow and easy, they get used to it pretty fast. Zierra seems much happier when I ride bareback, or used to anyway.
Be carefully about those handles on the bareback pads. If you are holding on to it and lose your balance you could pull the pad to the side and you could slip off. It is very hard to get the pad back to the right position. This is also a reason you should not use stirrups on a bareback pad. Remember they have now tree to keep from sliding.
A good chunk of mane is always better then the handle on the bareback pad.
In my opinion, if the horse is broke undersaddle he should be thankful his rider wants to remove some of that weight and behave himself.
I have to agree with sorrelhorse. If I were a horse that was broke to ride with a saddle, I would appreciate it so much if they took the saddle off and rode me bareback. I usually always ride bareback. Rarely do I ride with a saddle, but I can do both really well. It just takes balance, practice, and time to be confident bareback...whether or not the horse is spooky, with time, you won't care, and you will find that the more you ride bareback, the more you can ride out those little "spooks" and such. Sometimes, I find it easier to ride out the little side-spooks and such bareback, than with the saddle on. But like I said, I always ride bareback, it just has always come more natural to me as oppossed to the saddle.
If he's nosing your foot, it means he's unconfident and unsure, and turning to his "herd" for help. He senses your nervousness and isn't sure what to do. Work on getting over your nervousness, and I guarentee he'll stop the foot thing
Thanks equiniphile... I think you are right.
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