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-   -   Is bareback bad for the horse? (

poultrygirl 06-02-2011 10:09 PM

Is bareback bad for the horse?
I was just thinking about it today, while trying to lug my girl over to the fence (so she can attempt to take off like a shot from a cannon the second I'm getting on.)
I was reading, and one book said it caused swayback. The next said it's a wivestale. Another said it hurts the spine. A website said it made their back "hollow". Now I'm completely confused.

Does riding bareback hurt the horse? Is that why she hates being mounted? Or is it just habit? Any tips for getting a rocket propelled horse to hold still while mounting from a fence? She stands STOCK STILL when saddled, and when I get on from the ground. It's just bareback, from a fence, etc that she tries to getcha off.

bubba13 06-02-2011 10:13 PM

Depends on the rider's skill level. It can cause soreness, yes, if you have poor balance or flop around a lot. Regardless of the rider's skill, the bareback trot is harder on a horse than the saddled, posting trot. But horribly painful? In most circumstances, no, it's not going to cause any noticable detriment.

Jessskater 06-02-2011 10:16 PM

It depends if you got good balance and how heavy your are.

Brighteyes 06-02-2011 10:37 PM

If you flop around and lose your balance frequently, yes. If not, I've never personally had a problem. I ride bareback all the time.

The trot is what is so hard on most people... If you have strong enough legs, you can actually half seat it and not bounce as badly. ;)

MacabreMikolaj 06-02-2011 10:41 PM

Riding bareback does not cause swayback, that's just a complete myth. Trauma to the spine at a young age before it's fully developed, whether bareback or with a saddle, is the cause of true equine lordosis as well as genetics in some cases. Muscular swayback is what you see in older horses, most notably broodmares.

I think it's safe to say most horses aren't highly keen on being ridden bareback. Most of us simply do not have the balance or skill to make it as enjoyable for them as it is for us. I know a lot of horses that act up bareback, and it can be for a number of reasons - discomfort and attitude being amongst the top. Most horses figure out MIGHTY fast you don't stick as well without a saddle and you're a lot easier to dump.

I've been riding bareback my entire life, and as a result, I tend to ride 10x better without a saddle then with one. My Arab tends to be a lot happier when we ride bareback, she works better and hollows less. This is very much the exception to the rule. My Paint filly figured out within a dozen rides she could dump me without a saddle, and so we've put bareback on hold.

If your mare is bolting from the fence, I would actually train her to be ridden bareback - climbing up fences is for trained horses. I would work on having her at a mounting block and easing on. Another huge issues is virtually everyone I know has NO clue how to mount bareback without causing the horse discomfort. Flying through the air and landing with a thud is not going to make him happy about the experience.

Do the same type of work you did as when you taught her to accept a saddle and she'll likely come around.

Clair 06-02-2011 11:08 PM

:) Complete myth

Riding badly using a western, australian, or English saddle, or bareback, or on a magic carpet, is bad for the horse. Bouncing on your horses' back is bad in any gear.
But you probably knew that part already.

Pfft. Mounting is fine! If you don't have access to a 3 step or a sturdy fence (leg over) bring a feed bucket with you. Then GENTLY get your tummy on your horses back, with just a little hop. Proceed to wiggle in an undignified manner until you can get your booty where it goes. It serves double purpose to desensitive your horse to that kind of flailing.
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Saddlebag 06-02-2011 11:18 PM

When bareback the rider moves on the horse's back much more so than when restricted with a saddle. It is this almost continual movement that keeps the horse comfortable. My good gelding preferred that I ride bareback and he would do a wonderful piaffe that couldn't be achieved when saddled.

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