bareback - bad habits? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 23 Old 09-20-2014, 05:23 AM
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You can tell if the horse has a sore back by running your hand along it and pressing, just like if you were running your hand on your back to see for sore spots. It sounds like you are getting really strong doing all of that bareback though!
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post #12 of 23 Old 09-20-2014, 07:24 AM
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That's great that you and your family are having so much fun with the wonderful world of horses!

You are absolutely doing no harm to the mare riding bareback and it sounds like you are doing it exactly right. You are learning balance and that's the first thing to be learned, also the hardest for many people.

When you decide to get a saddle and if you think you may be a bit heavy, consider getting a synthetic. They are much, much lighter and when dirty you can just hose them off. They also have much more padding on the seats. I have 9 saddles of various quality but my homely old synthetic is everyone's favorite!

A note on the mini-probably fine for a 3-4 year old to fool around on but they are not ponies. They are fairly fragile in comparison and cannot carry the weight that a pony can. They can do very well with small carts though. I see people put their heavy 5-7 year olds on them for showing and it makes me wince and wish they had bought a stout pony instead.

Have fun! It's a great lifestyle and something you can all do as a family!
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post #13 of 23 Old 09-20-2014, 08:44 AM
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First of all, congrats on the newest family members!

My two cents are always going to point back to good training because I think it is imperative to have a good foundation for you and your horse. It can't hurt to find a reputable trainer in your area and schedule a few lessons to have him/her watch you ride and help you develop good posture and a solid riding foundation.
Especially when dealing with horses who really can que in on bad behavior or know when they are dealing with a new rider, having an extra set of eyes on you while you're learning would be a really great investment to make. It ranks right up there on the "must have" list for me!
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The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit, and fire. ~Sharon Ralls Lemon
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post #14 of 23 Old 09-20-2014, 09:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaydee View Post
Riding bareback for long periods is putting a lot more strain on a horses spine than a well made saddle will and if you're doing a lot of bouncing around that's going to increase it
As for creating bad manners - well that depends on if you insist on good behavior at all times or if you allow her to call the shots.
It will create bad habits for the uneducated rider ;) You may get into the habit of riding poorly and bouncing around which will effect her (some horses would not tolerate this). Particularly if you're ever hoping to have good equitation, but even otherwise I would recommend a saddle and at least a few lessons.

Jaydee covered the rest. Hopefully you aren't just in your honeymoon period and the mare is as good as she sounds :)
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post #15 of 23 Old 09-20-2014, 02:33 PM
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One summer we rode only bareback; it was so cool! (I only rode on weekends.)

But when we got back to the saddle, I had a very hard time! I found I was relying a lot on the friction with the horse to keep my seat. In the saddle again, I slipped all over the place.

Just my own experience. I still like going for a bareback ride now and then, though.
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post #16 of 23 Old 09-20-2014, 03:15 PM
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Sounds like you have a very forgiving, well trained mare that isn't out to be the alpha in your herd. Riding short periods on her bareback will better your balance and as long as you aren't hanging on her face be it in her mouth or off her nose you are doing fine. As previous posters suggested there are pros and cons with each way. Enjoy your horse and yes put the mini to a cart.
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post #17 of 23 Old 09-20-2014, 05:35 PM
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Color me seriously impressed that you're riding in just a halter and neck reining while cantering bareback without lessons!!!!

I've been taking 2-4x weekly lessons for a year and I can barely canter in a saddle. I wouldn't dare try anything more than a walk bareback.

Good for you! I hope you're wearing a helmet, though. :)

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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post #18 of 23 Old 09-22-2014, 08:55 AM Thread Starter
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I think the horse is smarter, better trained, and gentler than we originally realized. Just for fun, I hopped on the other day without putting on a halter. She walked me around, and I could get her to turn by just pressing my hand on one side of her neck up near her head. It was pretty cool. I wasn't about to get her into her trot or lope this way though, just in case I couldn't make her stop.

We had a farrier/trainer at our house the other day and within 10 minutes she had the horse following me around with no rope. Going backward, coming forward, turning side to side, and keeping her head up (where she normally grazes on grass) just by my body language. It was awesome. The lady taught us a little on how to keep the horse's respect and utilize her "smarts". She said the horse is definitely smart and willing, but if we get complacent, she will easily take advantage and have her way. We'll keep having this lady come over periodically.

I might be picking up a saddle to try out tonight. We've only been riding bareback so much because we don't have a saddle. I really think we'll prefer the saddle, but in just these couple weeks of bareback riding (3 - 4 times per week) we have really gained a lot of balance and trust.

Thanks for your kind words and advice, everyone.
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post #19 of 23 Old 09-22-2014, 12:16 PM
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Sounds like you found a great horse with a lot of training in her background. Good luck with her!
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post #20 of 23 Old 09-22-2014, 02:39 PM
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Bareback is great, it can just teach you certain bad habits. It's good practice to continue BB even when you do have a saddle to stay "in tune" and learn not to rely on the saddle.

Your mare sounds amazing. So glad to hear, too many beginners end up with poor/unsuitable horses.

I'm glad you have a trainer to help you.
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