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Lorien Stable: Trainer's Notes
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Bareback and Saddles

 
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galadriel
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Joined: 20 Sep 2003
Posts: 113
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 4:23 pm    Post subject: Bareback and Saddles Reply with quote

I was asked:
Quote:
I ride horses all the time bareback and nothing bad comes out of it. Do you really need a saddle?


I volunteer with a rescue who is having some trouble with getting a good saddle. Last time I was there, I found 3 of their horses sore in the same place. Turns out all 3 are being ridden bareback regularly. The rider is the daughter of the rescue's owner, a small, lightweight person who's a nice balanced rider; they also tell me she only rides bareback for about 15-20 minutes.

The problem is that when you ride bareback, most of your weight rests in your seatbones. Those are quite close to the horse's spine, and they're a rather small area to be carrying most of your weight.

The more surface that you have carrying your weight, the less pressure there is over that area.
http://lorienstable.com/articles/z-fitting/weight/

In a saddle, the whole underside of the saddle touches the horse's back, and that whole underside carries your weight, more than just the small area of the seatbones. A "pressure point" under your seatbones or under a saddle makes a horse sore--but horses don't like to TELL us that they're sore, so they hide it. Unless you know exactly where you look or you hit the dead center of the sore spot by accident, the horse can often conceal when he's starting to feel sore.

The horses I saw last week were all sore in the same spot. I had the rider hop up bareback, and showed her that they were all tender (starting to get some bruises) directly under her seatbones. Seatbones are just too small a surface to carry weight, and they're much too close to the spine.

Riding exclusively bareback, even with a lightweight, balanced rider, can make horses sore.
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