I have to agree. No offense OP, but it honestly sounds to me like some bleeding heart "They're only happy if they are free........but if you can't do that, bitless and bareback is the next best thing" fanatic. You know, I am all for making sure that the horse is comfortable and well cared for, properly trained on how to carry themselves and has a good rider, but to say that riding in general and saddles are damaging the horse? Let's be a little realistic here. Horses living in the wild generally have a life expectancy of what, 15? 12? Horses in captivity, even horses that are ridden every day and competed on are consistently living longer and sounder lives. There are horses at 30 years old still out there going strong under saddle, more than twice the 'wild' life expectancy. Preventing injury and damage to your horse is one of the reasons for a person to learn to ride properly and well, avoid bouncing around and flopping on the back, teach the horse to round it's back and carry itself well, and recognize the signs when something isn't right so that it can be corrected.