Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 3:57 pm
|Oh, I love riding bareback. I haven't done it in awhile, simply because the horses I ride aren't dependable enough at this point (and I'm not as good at riding bareback as I used to be!)
But when I was a kid, we always rode bareback. It saved time, you didn't have to saddle up, just jump on and go. Also, it seemed like our ranch horses were more lively and happy to go riding if they weren't weighted down by a saddle. In the winter, you were MUCH warmer! And since we only had western saddles, if we were riding over our jump trail in the woods we rode bareback so we didn't get hit in the stomach by the saddle horn.
I have had the opinion that bareback is not so dangerous as riding with a saddle. My reasoning is, if the horse starts to spook or gets in a bind, you can easily lean forward, hold the horse's neck or shoulders, and swing your legs safely to the ground in a standing position, all in a matter of seconds. If you're in a saddle, chances are you'll hang on and the horse may really go to spooking or rearing or running away---then if you fall off, you'll most likely be mid-air and land really hard and are in much more danger of being hurt. I have never been hurt riding bareback. Yes, I've fallen many times in my life, but the times I came off the horse bareback were the least scary. The ones where I got shook loose from the saddle were actually pretty terrifying.
I think if you have a well trained horse you can depend on, bareback is really great. It can teach you a lot about balance and you can feel the horse's strides much better and learn to gauge where his feet are. You will definitely become a better rider if you practice riding bareback.