Balance when riding bareback
I saw a thread awhile ago about balance but can't find it and I'm not sure if there's much difference when you're riding bareback. I rode bareback this afternoon on two of my horses and couldn't go anymore then a trot. On Sam who is quite wide I can only stay on at a walk otherwise I just feel like I'm going to slip off. I sometimes even feel like I'm slipping when he walks fast or turns, I think that is partially because of his big belly swinging from side to side. Then on Pepper who is much more narrow I can stay on at a walk easily and trot easily if she doesn't weave which knocks me off balance I haven't tried cantering on her. But I'm not sure what I can do exactly because I thought I had quite good balance. I'm used to both of them taking sharps turns and constantly changing speed when they're excited. Now I think I rely on my saddle a lot more then I originally thought. Any advice other then simply riding more?? Thanks
I think I still have pretty good balance but had not rode bareback for years and forgot how much work it took when I tried last year. When I was a kid our folks wouldn't let us use a saddle until we could ride bareback.
Just more riding is the best thing. Make sure you aren't tensing up your thighs more than necessary, that can make you stiff and unbalanced. Also, since you feel like you are sliding around, you might try a bareback pad. No stirrups, just a barrier between you and the horse's hair as it can sometimes be slick and hard to find purchase on. I made one of my own out of an old saddle pad and it works amazingly.
^ As Smrobs said, bareback pads are really nice. No stirrups, but a suede seat can really help you stick! :)
Thanks I might have to try just using a saddle pad and see how well that works. I've ridden more and feel like I'm doing good at a walk and am trying to trot thats been ... interesting so far. I try to make sure I have my legs against his side evenly if that makes sense.
Apache a bareback pad usually has a girth, so you might find that you slip just as much with just a saddle pad. Have you got a lunging roller? Whack that on over the pad to keep it in place :)
Haha sorry should have mentioned I would put my lunging roller over the top to keep it in place.
The first thing I can say is, RELAX.
No one can be balanced when they are stiff. If you are relaxed, your body can move with the horse and not against him. To be balanced you have to be fluid throughout your body.
For now, I would stick with the gaits you are most comfortable with. No use moving up to the canter if you are stiff and nervous.
At the walk and trot, really concentrate and feel how your horse moves. Notice when his shoulders move forward to stretch out to place his hoof and when his hips rise to lift and place his hoof. Listen and feel for the 4 beats of the walk and the 2 beats of the trot. Doing this will help you to relax and find your horse. Try not to clench with your legs but to think about gently holding or wrapping your horse from your hip all the way to your toe. Sit up tall and look up. Be happy. :D Usually tense people are scared and nervous.
As you've mentioned, different horse's body types can slightly put you different positions and can be more or less difficult to ride bareback. Wide-backed horses can be easy to sit on but a little more difficult to keep your legs in place to help keep your body position in place. Again, with these guys, stay relaxed so you can move with his body. With the narrow horses, for me, these are easier to ride bareback although slightly more uncomfortable but because they have a thinner body, its easier to keep your legs around them and keep your position.
I hope this helped in some way. More riding and time on the horse's back/in the saddle will help you most of all. :)
I second the above.. RELAX!
If you're tense, you're going to bounce all over the place.
And just because you are bareback, don't forget to use a good riding position - heels down, sit up straight!
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