Originally Posted by WesternBella
I've never been one to want to do bareback..I prefer my saddle ;)
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But don't be dependant
on your saddle. It is only an aid for your riding. You should be able to keep your balance without it.
Now it's a different story if you have a green horse, but if your horse is well-broke and knows his job, I would strongly suggest you practice bareback riding.
Do you have to go out for a 2-hour trail ride without a saddle? Absolutely not. But it certainly doesn't hurt anyone to do 10 or 15 minutes of bareback riding in an enclosed area to practice balance and proper riding posture before you tack up to ride for the day. And it doesn't have to be anything fancy; even simple walking is beneficial.
My mother would ride her pony over to the neighbors about a mile away when she was merely 3 or 4 years old. She didn't get her first saddle until she was 16 years old, and got her older sister's hand-me-down. She rode 2 speeds growing up with her siblings: Walking, and full-blast running. And they trained a lot of young horses to ride, and rode a lot of older nutty ones too. She's got superb balance, needless to say.
Point I'm trying to make there is that a saddle is not necessary to ride a horse. It's just an aid.