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manca 08-25-2011 07:44 AM

How to ride bareback?
I always thought that bareback riding is really bad for horses, that it will cause kissing spine or other back problems. That's what most horse people here believe. I see now that many of you on this forum ride bareback and that it's not dangerous for a horse if you don't over do it. I would really love to try it, but at the same time I'm still worried I'll harm a horse if I won't do it right.
I would like to ride bareback especially in winter when I don't ride for long and I hope it'll keep me a bit warmer :lol:

How exactly do you sit when you're without a saddle? Are you completly relaxed and sit mostly on backbone or do you hold most of your weight with legs to put less pressure to backbone?

I weight 55kg and my mare is about 16 hands I think I'm not to heavy for her, am I? She has a bit high withers and it can be uncomfortable, what can I do about it?

For how long can I ride bareback and how many times a week?

I guess the position of my body should be the same as with saddle, but I have huge problems with it. My back isn't straight, I really have to work to keep myself from moving my legs way to forward and I can't keep my heel down. And I only tried walk :oops:

Any other things I should know?

Any advice will be helpful :)

RedTree 08-25-2011 08:05 AM

haha okay, first of your making it way to technical lol

The more you ride bareback the better you seat will get, just sit normally like you would in a saddle.
You said your horse has high withers, join the club lol, theres nothing you can really do to help that except maybe get a bareback pad but there like $60+, I just deal with it and mainly only walk with slight trot and when I do trot I make him do the slowest trot possible.

But you just have to relax don't hunch over and go with the horses movements :D

candandy49 08-25-2011 08:21 AM

I always liked riding bareback, but didn't go for long rides barebacked. Never knew of it causing the horse physical problems, such as the kissing spine, etc. However, I digress to say that I just don't know if it could be a possibility. I have heard that our seatbones can cause sore spots if on over long rides.

Sit on the horse's back just behind the withers. Use the muscles of the inner thighs to stay in the middle of the horse's back. That in itself will take some of the pressure off the horse's back. If you use just your lower leg to grip the horse that puts more pressure on the back and is also not a secure way to ride bareback.

natisha 08-25-2011 08:27 AM

Your legs will be more forward than with a saddle, usually. Let them hang, keeping your heels down or level will help prevent you from pointing the toe down which in new bareback riders often causes them to bend the leg too much, which cause the rider to lean forward.
Balance is kept with the upper inner thighs & keeping your low back fluid & following the horse. Do not grip with your feet as that will pop your butt off the horse & cause you to bounce.
It would be best to start with someone leading the horse while you get the feel for it.

manca 08-25-2011 05:39 PM

Thanks for explaining :) I'm going to try riding that way as soon as possible.

I've heard that it causes kissing spine from neighbour, but I'm actually quite sure it's not true. I've been searching for any informations that say the same, but I didn't find any.
I'll ride that way about 20minutes, max. 30, so I don't worry about my horse being sore.

Poseidon 08-25-2011 06:00 PM

A bareback pad might be worth the investment for a high-withered horse or you might be a little numb in unmentionable places.

I know of people, particularly one of my friend's family that are very cowboy, who have to earn their saddle, just like 'earning your spurs'. You have to learn to ride and prove you can bareback before you're allowed to have a saddle. I don't think that would single-handedly destroy your horse, IMO.

But others above have explained bareback well. It's something you really figure out as you go.

palominolover 08-25-2011 07:12 PM

Bareback you actually ride with your TOES down =) sit relaxed, don't grip and almost lean back.

Courtney 08-25-2011 07:38 PM

When I ride bareback, I settle myself right behind the wither. As they move, your body will slide into the most comfortable place. Keep your legs relaxed, but grip very lightly with your thighs because you might slide around if you ride in anything but jeans (or so I've found). If you feel off-balance, grab a handful of mane. And then... just go with it. You'll find your groove and then you'll wonder what you were worried about.

I had to 'earn' my saddle too. Joke was on my instructor... after a few weeks of bareback, I decided I didn't really want a saddle and she had to force me into one.

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