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AllThePrettyHorses 01-11-2011 05:50 PM

Bareback-How Much Is Too Much?
 
I love riding bareback, but I've heard that eventually it will make your horse's back sore if you do it too much and too often. How many times a week is it possible for me to ride bareback without creating any soreness? I generally just walk/trot (a little) for about an hour-often less.

NorthernMama 01-11-2011 07:46 PM

If you are riding with proper balance, sitting or posting the trot properly I don't think it would cause any problem at all. A poor bareback rider will do harm, as will a poor saddled rider or a good rider in a poor fitting saddle.

Brighteyes 01-11-2011 08:02 PM

I ride bareback more than I ride in a saddle, and I've never experienced a problem. I'm a balanced rider and ride gaited horses, so there is no bouncing around on their backs. I'm sure if you were to ride at a trot for a long period of time, bouncing all over their backs, it would cause soreness. As long as you stay balanced and don't bounce, I would say you could ride bareback as often as you please. Before and after your rides, check for signs of soreness. Run you fingers down your horse's back, pressing at on his spine and other areas that are likely to get sore. Watch the ears: if they go back, the horse is sore. Watch the tail and legs as well: if the trail is swishing (not as flies) and he is stomping a leg, he is uncomfortable and sore.

Electra 01-11-2011 08:25 PM

If you ride correctly, I can't imagine why bareback riding would be any worse than a big ole heavy saddle on a horse's back. I love to ride bareback, especially in the winter.

MacabreMikolaj 01-11-2011 08:42 PM

Considering how often a saddle does NOT fit your horse properly, I would wager to guess that a properly balanced bareback rider is risking a LOT less damage then the average rider in an ill fitted saddle.

Our friend has been riding her pony exclusively bareback for over six months now because her saddle doesn't fit. This includes trail rides at all paces for hours at a time. Her pony is completely happy and they have zero problems.

We usually ride bareback all winter because of the cold and we've never had a problem.

mumiinek 01-11-2011 08:46 PM

Just wanted to add that the problem with bareback riding is not that much bouncing (you can bounce in a saddle too) but mainly the fact that saddle is made to spread your weight over a bigger area on your horse's back. Without a saddle your weight is not distributed over the places it should be for the horse to properly function without discomfort. Put a saddle on your back and have someone sit on it while you're on all fours, it feels much more comfortable than if they sit on you without it when you feel all their weight on much smaller area.

MacabreMikolaj 01-11-2011 08:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mumiinek (Post 886145)
Just wanted to add that the problem with bareback riding is not that much bouncing (you can bounce in a saddle too) but mainly the fact that saddle is made to spread your weight over a bigger area on your horse's back. Without a saddle your weight is not distributed over the places it should be for the horse to properly function without discomfort. Put a saddle on your back and have someone sit on it while you're on all fours, it feels much more comfortable than if they sit on you without it when you feel all their weight on much smaller area.

I'll let my horse be the judge of that. My Arab mare will not tolerate an ill fitting saddle and she has zero problems with me extensively riding her bareback.

I am inclined to believe that a lot of that is hooha brought around by saddle makers who fear for their trade.

mumiinek 01-11-2011 08:49 PM

I was talking about properly fitting saddles of course.

AllThePrettyHorses 01-11-2011 09:59 PM

Thanks everyone =D I'm so glad bareback riding doesn't cause any real problem.

I think I'm a good rider...I feel balanced, anyhow, and I don't bounce any more than I would in a saddle-not that I do in a saddle either (it's not like I'm trotting for extended periods of time anyways).

My dad always said that when they had horses as kids, they never even owned saddles. I was always confused why it's ok for people forty years ago to ride bareback and their horses were fine, yet suddenly, bareback hurts horses' backs nowadays.

MacabreMikolaj 01-11-2011 10:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mumiinek (Post 886151)
I was talking about properly fitting saddles of course.

My point was that if I was causing her discomfort by riding bareback, she would let me know. If she won't tolerate even the slightest pinch from her saddle, I somehow doubt she's going to tolerate me on her bareback if I'm causing her any pain.


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