Horse Forum
Home Forum Home Search Horses for Sale Other ClassifiedsNEW! Post an Ad Help

Go Back   Horsetopia Forum > Horse Advice > Health & Nutrition
Note: Forum logins are completely separate
from your Horsetopia classifieds account or wishlist.
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 11-05-2008, 08:01 AM  
Greenbroke Member
 
Crookedblaze's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 3,333
Send a message via AIM to Crookedblaze
How bad is riding bareback for your horse?

The other day I went out for a trail ride with my friend, who is working as an intern for an equine acupuncturist. Normally, we just walk around the block and talk, so I threw on my thick wool pad, my bareback pad and off we went.

When I got to our meetup spot, she told me that riding bareback was really bad for my horses back. I knew that riding bareback isn't great, because your weight doesn't get spread out like it would in a saddle, but I ride bareback a few times a week for short periods - about 45 minutes - and thought nothing of it. Some days, I just don't want to lift my beat of a saddle up there.

Is riding bareback really that bad for Rocket?
__________________
Missing Rocket, who now lives in Orange County with his 2 little girls.

Four things greater than all things are...Women and Horses and Power and War -Rudyard Kipling
Crookedblaze is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2008, 08:06 AM  
Started
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 2,169
zzz

Last edited by oveywon : 01-10-2009 at 08:32 PM.
oveywon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2008, 08:06 AM  
Seasoned
 
Mav2007's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 4,347
I don't see how riding bareback is bad for your horse unless you are severly overweight and you sit like a brick on your horse's back. I can see how the saddle helps spread the weight, but it also ads another 30 pounds. Plus, you had padding between you and the horse's back so I don't see what harm would be done.
Mav2007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2008, 08:07 AM  
Coming two
 
David's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,602
I only know of one case where it actually had a serious effect on the horse. A girl I knew rode her horse everyday bareback for a couple of months ( only about 30 minutes to 1 hr each day) but after a couple months of this he had pressure sores on his back just like you would get from a saddle with too much rock to it. ( too much rock is the opposite of bridging, all the weight goes onto one spot in the center instead of two spots on the ends) Just the fact that you had the bareback pad and the wool pad on him would protect him a little but it's not going to give the same level of protection as an actual saddle.

If you don't like lifting your heavy saddle all the time, why not get a cheap english saddle to ride in? There's no law saying if you ride an english saddle you have to ride english...I know I've rode plenty of them when I was a kid and couldn't afford the saddle I wanted. You can pick one up for under 100 bucks if you look around, I saw one the other day on craigslist for 35 bucks.

David
__________________


"If you see your stirrups slap together above the horn, you're probably bucked off". Dave Stamey.
David is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2008, 08:11 AM  
Coming two
 
David's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,602
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mav2007 View Post
I don't see how riding bareback is bad for your horse unless you are severly overweight and you sit like a brick on your horse's back. I can see how the saddle helps spread the weight, but it also ads another 30 pounds. Plus, you had padding between you and the horse's back so I don't see what harm would be done.
Mav--not to dispute you but just for the sake of discussion. Ask your servicemember if he would rather carry a lighter pack without a frame or a heavier pack with a frame and why...

I'm not saying you can't ride bareback, I'm just saying it's better to have some kind of saddle.


Also, the girl and horse I spoke of didn't meet any of the criteria you mentioned here. She was a very good rider and the horse was in good condition but over time was broke down to the point that she couldn't even ride him with a saddle, he spent several months on pasture rest to heal his back.

David
__________________


"If you see your stirrups slap together above the horn, you're probably bucked off". Dave Stamey.
David is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2008, 08:16 AM  
Seasoned
 
Mav2007's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 4,347
Quote:
Originally Posted by David View Post
Mav--not to dispute you but just for the sake of discussion. Ask your servicemember if he would rather carry a lighter pack without a frame or a heavier pack with a frame and why...

I'm not saying you can't ride bareback, I'm just saying it's better to have some kind of saddle.


Also, the girl and horse I spoke of didn't meet any of the criteria you mentioned here. She was a very good rider and the horse was in good condition but over time was broke down to the point that she couldn't even ride him with a saddle, he spent several months on pasture rest to heal his back.

David
I'll ask my husband about the lighter pack/no frame, vs heavy pack with frame. I'm sure you are right. I'm sure saddles were invented for a reason, maybe horse's were getting sore from being ridden bareback, maybe people were falling off and dying. Either way, in moderation, I think riding a horse bareback is not going to hurt them in the long run. Lots of people enjoy riding bareback and do so not because the saddle is too heavy, but because they just like to ride bareback.
Mav2007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2008, 08:22 AM  
Started
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Arcadia and Marianna, Florida
Posts: 2,168
"Chancey" was one of the best trail horses we had in our camp string here in FLorida. He was a registered Paint, and had been intended to be used as a breeding stallion. The folks that had him kept foster kids, mostly high school age.

Chancey was so quiet, calm, as a yearling that the kids would go out in the pasture and just sit on him bareback. He'd graze, and they'd sit. For hours.

Chancey wound up with one of the worst swaybacks I've ever seen, and I think the bareback riding at too young an age caused it.

Second story:

One legged woman (lost her leg in a motorcycle accident) riding a Paso Fino across the state of Florida as part of the FLorida Cracker Trail Ride. With only one leg, she didn't feel "secure" in a saddle, so she used a bareback pad.

By the end of the second day, the Paso wouldn't gait, was shying and totally misbehaving. He had a "blister" the size of my fist on his back from the pressure of her hip bones pressing on him through the bareback pad. I held an icebag on his back for hours. We were able to put an old Army McCelland saddle on him the next day (the gap in the middle cleared the pressure sore) and she finished the ride.

These are two worst-case-scenario stories.

Conversely, I had a bunch of campers who wanted to ride their horses bareback down to the creek and swim. The one timid rider who kept her saddle on was the one who fell off!

Too much of a good thing is still too much. Saddles "spread the weight" and protect a horse's back.

My old Appaloosa, who never offered to buck under saddle, would buck off anybody who tried to ride him bareback. He wasn't having any of it.
theoldbear is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2008, 08:25 AM  
Greenbroke Member
 
Crookedblaze's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 3,333
Send a message via AIM to Crookedblaze
I do have an English saddle, and have no problem riding English but it doesn't fit Rocket. He's inbetween a semi and full QH bars, his main problem is tall skinny withers and a really wide barrel. I've been looking at a few Big Horn and Abetta synthetic saddles but none of them fit. There are a few english saddles on Craigslist for $200-350, a really used Bates Caprelli and a nice Collegiate. I want to get a dressage saddle for trails, those things are the bomb...even comfyer then my western saddle.

Theoldbear, my horses seem to like getting out bareback...they know it will be a quiet ride and they can relax. I did have a few roping horses that wouldn't let my butt get near them without a saddle, though. When I ride bareback Rocket doesn't seem sore or get sore, but that's why I use a 3 inch thick pad plus my bareback pad. And it's all natural wool, the polyester bareback pad seems to rub the horses and make sores.
__________________
Missing Rocket, who now lives in Orange County with his 2 little girls.

Four things greater than all things are...Women and Horses and Power and War -Rudyard Kipling

Last edited by Crookedblaze : 11-05-2008 at 08:28 AM.
Crookedblaze is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2008, 08:28 AM  
Started
 
GreyDot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Hamilton, OH
Posts: 2,465
Send a message via Yahoo to GreyDot
If you're sitting softly, and moving with your horse, then it should not be bad at all. The saddle just gives you a place to put your feet, something to grab, and something to tie stuff to - PLUS, it does distribute the weight, if you're working for any extended period of time. If you're just messing around, going for a hack or whatever, then it will only improve your balance to ride bareback. North American Indians rode bareback all the time, and it didn't seem to bother their horses - but imagine putting a fully armed knight or cavalry officer on a horse bareback, or roping cattle bareback! It just wouldn't be too comfy, so a saddle was definitely needed.

If it's a choice between a questionably-fitting saddle and going bareback, then definitely, bareback is better - but I would make sure that you're sitting very flexibly, and that the horse's back is well-muscled, though. You can also use a bareback pad, like you did, so that your seat-bones don't dig into the horse's back. Nevertheless, I honestly think that it depends on the individual horse and rider. You'll know whether the horse is happy or not, because if he sticks his head up in the air, tightens his back, strings out his hindquarters and 'jigs' instead of walking, he's obviously uncomfortable. If he's just wandering along, relaxed, though, then it's not bothering him.

Since Dot has been having issues, I've been just walking him around bareback, and we have both been enjoying it. I used to jump him bareback, when we were both significantly younger. Personally, I actually find that my seat is even more secure bareback than in the saddle, because there's less between me and the horse - but that's just my own preference.
__________________
......................................
www.deruyterdressage.webs.com
GreyDot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2008, 08:34 AM  
Seasoned
 
thumpersgirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 4,127
I've heard mixed responses on this one. Earlier this year, I had Rocket massaged and adjusted. The gal who did that told me that if I could, to ride him bareback for a while as it would be better for him than riding with the saddle. I did ride him bareback for 2-3 months but this was only once a week. He was fine with it. 3 of my 5 horses are fine with someone getting on them bareback. The other 2 will have none of it. The mare I had earlier this year would promptly ditch anyone who got on her bareback.

I feel that so long as you're not doing it often or for long periods of time, it should be okay. You did similar to what I was doing - I put on a thick saddle pad and then the bareback pad on top of it. That way, Rocket had a good cushion between me and his back.

I do agree with David though. I've thought about getting an English saddle for that very reason. That way, I don't have to go bareback and hurt my butt and I don't have to throw a heavy saddle up there.
__________________
Some people are like Slinkies; they're good for nothing, but make you smile when you push them down a long flight of stairs.
thumpersgirl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2008, 08:40 AM  
Started
 
GreyDot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Hamilton, OH
Posts: 2,465
Send a message via Yahoo to GreyDot
Quote:
Originally Posted by thumpersgirl View Post
I've heard mixed responses on this one. Earlier this year, I had Rocket massaged and adjusted. The gal who did that told me that if I could, to ride him bareback for a while as it would be better for him than riding with the saddle. I did ride him bareback for 2-3 months but this was only once a week. He was fine with it. 3 of my 5 horses are fine with someone getting on them bareback. The other 2 will have none of it. The mare I had earlier this year would promptly ditch anyone who got on her bareback.

I feel that so long as you're not doing it often or for long periods of time, it should be okay. You did similar to what I was doing - I put on a thick saddle pad and then the bareback pad on top of it. That way, Rocket had a good cushion between me and his back.

I do agree with David though. I've thought about getting an English saddle for that very reason. That way, I don't have to go bareback and hurt my butt and I don't have to throw a heavy saddle up there.
TG, that's really interesting, to have another chiro's point of view! Dot just had a second visit from the chiro, and I asked her about riding bareback - and she said it was OK to do it if he seemed happy with it, but had not made any specific recommendations. Pretty much seemed to take a "wait and see" approach - which reinforced my own attitude to it. Did your chiro explain her reasoning at all? I'm just really curious as to why she'd say that it was better without the saddle. Just thinking about the whole weight distribution thing, since some horses do seem to handle it better than others... Just curious
__________________
......................................
www.deruyterdressage.webs.com
GreyDot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2008, 08:47 AM  
Seasoned
 
thumpersgirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 4,127
She's not really a 'chiro' so to speak. She's a massage therapist but it is along the same lines. The reason she had me go bareback with Rocket is his shoulders were out. She put them back in and explained that he should still be worked but that it would be better if he didn't have the pressure from the saddle for a while. Rocket was very underweight when I got him and he still has very high withers. He's also gaited so she felt that the freedom from the saddle would do him some good. He never missed a beat riding him like that. He'll walk, trot, canter (would probably gallop too but I'm skeered ). She told me once he started putting more weight on, the saddle would be okay again.
__________________
Some people are like Slinkies; they're good for nothing, but make you smile when you push them down a long flight of stairs.
thumpersgirl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2008, 09:02 AM  
Greenbroke Member
 
Crookedblaze's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 3,333
Send a message via AIM to Crookedblaze
I started riding Rocket bareback because his shoulders were out too. He also took his back out with a poorly fitting saddle, compliments of a leaser who didn't care. The chiropractor reccomended to give his shoulders some freedom.

Now, I can ride him bareback almost anywhere. We do small jumps bareback, I love to gallop bareback, we go up and down hills. It improved my balance so much, and also helped with my seat.
__________________
Missing Rocket, who now lives in Orange County with his 2 little girls.

Four things greater than all things are...Women and Horses and Power and War -Rudyard Kipling
Crookedblaze is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2008, 09:06 AM  
Seasoned
 
Mav2007's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 4,347
Now that I thought about this thread and read the other responses, I think the best thing to do is what is right for your horse. If you ride bareback and he has problems because of it, then don't ride bareback anymore. If you can ride bareback, jump logs and all kinds of stuff and he isn't lame, sore, etc, then I would continue to ride bareback as long as my heart desires.
Mav2007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2008, 09:13 AM  
Coming two
 
David's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,602
Two things...I'm not saying never ride bareback, I'm just saying "all things in moderation" As was stated by myself and theoldbear, the instances we know of where riding bareback actually harmed the horse were extreme instances. I'm glad that you care enough about your horse to ask if what you're doing could hurt him instead of waiting to see.

Second--Greydot---Native American Indians didn't ride bareback unless they had to. In fact several tribes developed their own style saddles when they couldn't get enough of them by raiding or trading. Look up native american saddles and see what you find, you'll also find that any native american who could get one rode with a bit and bridle, those who couldn't did what anyone else would and improvised. Sorry to get off topic but being a history enthusiast this is kind of a pet peeve of mine...

David
__________________


"If you see your stirrups slap together above the horn, you're probably bucked off". Dave Stamey.
David is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2008, 09:16 AM  
Kid Safe
 
ThorArb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Fairbanks, AK
Posts: 6,047
Send a message via AIM to ThorArb
I rode bareback all the time. Id always preferred it, but my friends and I were only doing it for "trails" which lasted maybe an hour 2-3x a week at most... some weeks we didnt ride at all. But whenever we did it was almost always bareback. If I were doing anything else but this Id probably use a saddle.

Ive never had any problems at all and all of my horses will go bareback willingly, if not better than with a saddle. So what Im saying is, all of this is very interesting to me as I didnt think riding bareback was really all that big of a deal since Ive been doing it for years now.
ThorArb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2008, 09:21 AM  
Long Yearling
 
Bonanza's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,375
I ride Rosie bareback 2-3 times a week any where from 45 minutes to an hour and a half. She doesn't seem to mind it at all - we ride in the arena and in the pasture and take small jumps that way. Lots of meandering around, walking, lots of trotting (her favorite gait) and some loping too - with an occasional gallop thrown in for fun And our communication I think is better than in the saddle.

I recently had a chiropractor for her and he said he prefers people riding with a saddle because of the weight distribution is much more spread out, but for as little as I ride her that it wasn't a big deal. He did say that if we were going to go on a trail ride he would want me in a saddle because for extended periods of time that would be a lot better for her back.

I do plan on following his advice about any future trailrides - I rode her two hours straight once on a trailride bareback and I don't know about her (she seemed fine with it), but my legs were wasted - with a saddle you can shift position and rest your legs in the stirrups or get on and off easily to stretch. Bareback you don't have as many options...
__________________
It's hard to stumble when you're on your knees.


Visit us at www.goldencrossranch.com
Bonanza is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2008, 09:24 AM  
Greenbroke Member
 
Crookedblaze's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 3,333
Send a message via AIM to Crookedblaze
David, when I lived on the Navajo reservation I got to watch them handmake saddles that they used hundreds of years ago - it as so neat. They looked like old army saddles, but covered in fur. A lot of the guys there rode in traditional hackamores too. My favorite charecter out there, Clyde, was a self taught horse trainer but he used mostly traditional (like natural horsemanship) techniques. He rode his horses all over bridleless, he took 4 horses on trail without halters or anything to keep them nearby, he said a word and they'd all line up behind his lead horse.

He actually taught me how to ride bareback on his old old mustang. I had no confidence in my riding ability. Riding bareback helped me so much with my confidence. Next, I want to try vaulting.
__________________
Missing Rocket, who now lives in Orange County with his 2 little girls.

Four things greater than all things are...Women and Horses and Power and War -Rudyard Kipling
Crookedblaze is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2008, 09:26 AM  
Kid Safe
 
ThorArb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Fairbanks, AK
Posts: 6,047
Send a message via AIM to ThorArb
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crookedblaze View Post
David, when I lived on the Navajo reservation I got to watch them handmake saddles that they used hundreds of years ago - it as so neat. They looked like old army saddles, but covered in fur. A lot of the guys there rode in traditional hackamores too. My favorite charecter out there, Clyde, was a self taught horse trainer but he used mostly traditional (like natural horsemanship) techniques. He rode his horses all over bridleless, he took 4 horses on trail without halters or anything to keep them nearby, he said a word and they'd all line up behind his lead horse.

He actually taught me how to ride bareback on his old old mustang. I had no confidence in my riding ability. Riding bareback helped me so much with my confidence. Next, I want to try vaulting.
I think I'll pass on the vaulting!
ThorArb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2008, 09:31 AM  
Bombproof Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 8,275
I rode one particular horse bareback all the time, for hours at a time without him developing sore spots. Unless we move around a bit, our pelvic bones can create pressure spots, but if the rider tilts the pelvis a little and tighten's the glutes, this will lift the seat bones. This exercise helps the rider develop a nice butt.
Slim Pikkens is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply

  Horsetopia Forum > Horse Advice > Health & Nutrition


Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Riding bareback. . . BornToRide Trail Riding 18 12-26-2006 05:17 PM
Riding bareback PonyMom Training 7 12-05-2006 09:30 AM
Riding bareback??? BornToRide General Horse Advice 13 10-19-2006 07:51 PM
Bareback riding teddy Health & Nutrition 3 08-08-2006 12:53 AM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:56 AM.


Board Powered by vBuletin ® Copyright © 2000 - 2007 Jel Soft

Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.2.0