Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bareback Beginnings - Is it a Good Thing?


Icy is a sweet girl, a 7 year old pony with a bit of barn sourness in her.  She is quickly overcoming that with almost daily handling and a plucky girl who is just about as stubborn as a pony!


I began my horseback riding experience as a young girl riding bareback.  My mom felt it was the best way to learn to have excellent balance and coordination while riding a horse.  I'm not worried about injury as my girls wear a helmet (something I never did) and they really don't have far to fall.  My girls are not pulling on her mouth to overcompensate as initially they did take riding lessons with a saddle and they learned the reining then.   I remind them to keep their heels lower than their toes - this is something I do even when they are in a saddle.

I was reading that bareback riding is not easier on a horses back and they prefer a saddle.  Hmm.  I usually always rode my horse bareback as a girl (I was light weight) and I think he preferred that during the hot summer months.

My plan is to alternate between the saddle and bareback.  Does anyone have any thoughts on the subject?


7 comments:

Shirley said...

I too learned to ride bareback, and I think it does wonders for balance. We used to have races, ride up and down steep hills, and all the other shenanigans kids could do on horseback. I think it also helps to build a "oneness" with the movement of the horse, because you can't brace against anything.
I think kids should ride both ways.
That's a really cute pony!

Dom said...

I learned to ride bareback and it DEFINITELY made me a better rider. I think a BAD rider hurts a horse less in a saddle. I think good riders are about the same no matter what tack they are or aren't in.

Margaret said...

Shirley & Dom - thanks! I already see her improving on her balance (and confidence) and with it so HOT out lately, I really think the pony appreciates it!

Kate said...

I love bareback rides, but I don't do them every day. Saddles are created to keep the rider's weight evenly distributed over a horse's back, so for the longevity of my ponies I generally stick to a saddle. However, if we're ever having issues (or I just want to have fun) off comes the saddle!

Old Raven said...

This gave to me great delight. I was raised with horses and adore them. They were however not meant to be a part of my adult life. Do you belong to a Pony Club? Well, I guess that I mean do your girls belong? They are fabulous places to learn horsemanship, riding and competing in 3-day work.

Bareback. I really can not add much to what you have said. As I envision someone riding bareback and getting out of sync with their mount I can see them being bumped around on the horse's back ... and this being uncomfortable to the horse. But nothing else. Thank you for this treat.

Margaret said...

Kate - Not for long trail rides (for me) anymore - but when I was a girl, my horse seemed to love it.

Old Raven - I few friends have suggested "The Pony Club" so I guess we do have one around here. I will look into it, thanks for reminding me. Bareback isn't for everyday, but it's a nice treat now and then, I think... especially on a hot day.

Jennifer MacNeill-Traylor said...

I think it' s a great way to learn. I have my daughter ride bareback and I have started to again as well. I know my legs hurt a lot more after I ride bareback:)