Bareback loping? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 18 Old 10-07-2014, 01:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by disastercupcake View Post
It is more aboutfollowing the motion when bareback. There's nothing to hang on to, so you must have a good, following seat. It's also important to have a bit of cushion so you don't kill your horse's back with your seatbones :)
^^^this, but this is the way you should ride all the time. A good rider shouldn't "hang on" to anything. As others said, drop your stirrups first, preferably in an english saddle, and then move to bareback. Bareback is a whole 'nother ball game. I could canter all day without stirrups, but bareback I am still working on. I think it's because I am not as relaxed at faster speeds bareback, so I will tense up and then won't be in sync with my horse which leads to us stopping or me falling off. My mare is good about knowing when I'm coming off and will stop... but I suspect that may be because then I am not driving her forward so she has no reason to continue But I like to believe the former.

Be careful with bareback pads, as others said you hold them on with your weight. If you lose your balance, your likely to come off! I had my own experience with this where the pad slid and I landed on my butt in the dirt beside my horse while my horse gave my a funny look and my friend was laughing Needless to say, I don't use them!

I had my own bareback adventure today and I just had to share this. Apparently I have a better seat than I thought! Today, I decided to hop on my mare real quick and take a walk around the property. I decided against doing any real riding because the girls are way overdue for shoes (farrier trouble... had to find a new one. but yay he's coming on Friday!). I also decided against doing liberty work first, just me being stupid.

My mare has been having a flake of alfalfa for dinner for the last few weeks and grass hay the rest of the day. I feed her alfalfa because I like her to have that extra energy she needs for liberty work and jumping. I should have pulled her off the alfalfa though, because she hasn't been in work due to me being busy with school and then getting sick AGAIN. So though she isn't stalled, she was still hyped up on alfalfa. She's also a little buddy sour (there's only two horses on the property), and I've had her for five years and feel like I know her like the back of my hand, but this still happened:

So we are walking towards the back of the property, and she is doing well. A little spooky and nervous, but nothing that worried me. We get behind this small incline, and she hears Belle (the other horse) whinny but she can't see her. So out of nowhere, she starts rearing. No warning before hand. NONE. First she does a half rear, and my reflexes grabbed her mane, pushed my reins forward, and gripped hard with my knees (not what you are supposed to do when riding, but it was a reflex). Then she comes down and goes up again. I'm leaning forward and hanging on, reins forward so I don't pull her over backwards. About halfway down, again my reflexes kicked in and before I knew it I had swung off her and landed on my feet, her standing next to me. I was oddly calm about the whole thing, and so was she! Weird. No spooking, or bolting, or freaking out, we're just standing there. So then I take her and walk her to the back of the property, proceed to get on again. Riding back I was nervous, but I took really deep, slow relaxed breaths, kept my body relaxed, and allowed a light but relaxed contact on the reins, not allowing my hands to clamp up. We made it back without any further episodes, although at a rather upbeat walk compared to my mare's typical amble.

So yeah, I stayed on bareback on a rearing horse, then did a midair dismount and landed on my feet next to her still holding the reins, as if I planned it that way. But it was all reflex. I'm still kind of like this:
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post #12 of 18 Old 10-08-2014, 02:43 PM
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Yes, as everyone stated, drop your stirrups! I lope my big QH mare who has a rough, jouncy trot and a bucking problem at a lope. If you hang on with your upper thighs, and 'rock' with your horse, you should do okay!

Loping bareback isn't terribly hard, and honestly, I remember the first time I did it. There was this amazing freedom, and I had to do it again! Now I lope bareback like it's as easy as in a saddle, and after about two rides of doing it, it is!

My horse has a short mane, and if she gets to bucking, I will grab her mane. It's perfectly okay to stabilize yourself with it. And another thing, it's easy to swing off bareback. So, if you're about to fall, swinging off and landing gently is not an issue.

Good luck, and have fun!:)
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post #13 of 18 Old 10-18-2014, 06:26 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks all! I've trotted bareback before but Prince doesn't trot. He does a fast walk (he's a TWH) that feels like you're on a cloud. Bragging aside, I'll try loping bareback today if I feel brave enough!
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post #14 of 18 Old 10-18-2014, 06:30 AM Thread Starter
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One more question, how hard is it turning a horse (like in a large circle) bareback loping?
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post #15 of 18 Old 10-19-2014, 02:24 PM
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Destinygirl, I have ridden bareback most of the time I have ridden at all. I got ponies when I was a 6, then a horse when I was 10. I didn't get a saddle until I was 12, and the saddle I got was too big for me or my horse. So, I have never been very comfortable or happy in a saddle. I just had a cheap little bareback pad with a handle, and it worked great for me when I was a young.

Now, I am 48 years old and still riding bareback. I found a used Parelli bareback pad, which I love, but the thing about bareback pads is its cost really doesn't matter much. It is such a simple thing, that they are all pretty good. I do recommend using a good cinch on them, not the cheap ones they tend to come with. Then the pad will stay on better. I like mohair the best.

I do use a saddle when I ride longer than an hour, mostly because I want to bring water, a snack and first aide items in a saddle bag.

Riding bareback is totally different from riding in a saddle. I let my legs just dangle down, long and draped over the horses sides. I don't worry about heels down or any of that. It really is more in your hips and thighs than anywhere else that you get your balance. Its like you are slumped in your hips, then straight in your back.

Walking and loping bareback is pretty easy, its trotting that is the challenge. Turning is easy too, so I wouldn't worry about that too much. I find my horses can really feel where I want to go because as I look where I want to go, my torso turns and my legs turn a bit too. You can just relax and find the horses rhythm as they move.

Go slowly as you build the muscles you need, as bareback requires quite a bit of core muscles that you will not have when you first start. Without those muscles being in shape, you will have a hard time keeping your balance as they are the ones that pull you back to center when you tip. Its like when you try to stand on one leg for as long as you can. As it gets harder to stand on one leg, you will notice that you have little muscles that pull you back to center, and they tire quickly. Bareback riding does that to your core.

I really like bareback riding, probably because it is what I am used to mostly, but also because I feel safer since its easy to swing and slide off, its incredibly good exercise, and I feel very connected to my horse.

I wish there were more people who talked about it on the forum here. There are many things I am still trying to figure out, like riding up and down steep hills. I just moved to a place in the mountains and every ride is up and down steep hills. I finally figured out that I have to clench my butt muscles tight when going down hill to pad my tailbone and lean back a bit. Going uphill, I drop the reins, grab some mane and lean forward a bit. I would love to hear what others do in this situation!
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post #16 of 18 Old 10-19-2014, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much Foxtail Ranch! Fantastic advice I will use! :) I don't bother with my feet and legs either, I just let them relax and pretend they aren't there and as you said, focus on my hips and upper body. My horse is still sore from getting his shoes removed (he got them removed 2 weeks ago lol) and I haven't loped him. Once he isn't sore I will try it out!
So about the bareback pad thing, what type of material should it be made out of? An old barn I used to ride at used wooly ones without a handle or stirrups (won't get the ones with stirrups though).
And I agree that you need to work those core muscles and keep them in shape, I got on bareback for the first time in a while the other day and thought it would be the same as before, but it didn't feel the same. I lost touch with it and my balance and I'm trying to get it back :)
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post #17 of 18 Old 10-21-2014, 08:15 PM
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I like a handle and a natural fiber like wool, for a pad. you could even make your own with a saddle pad and leather strap. Smrobs is on this forum, and she had a surcingle and wool pad that worked great. the pad is just there to protect your horse from your butt bones and you from sweat!

wish we were neighbors so we could ride bareback together.
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post #18 of 18 Old 10-21-2014, 09:55 PM Thread Starter
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Awesome! :) And me too that would be so fun!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxtail Ranch View Post
I like a handle and a natural fiber like wool, for a pad. you could even make your own with a saddle pad and leather strap. Smrobs is on this forum, and she had a surcingle and wool pad that worked great. the pad is just there to protect your horse from your butt bones and you from sweat!

wish we were neighbors so we could ride bareback together.
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