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Lorien Stable: Trainer's Notes
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Bareback/Cashel Soft Saddle

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

PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2007 8:46 am    Post subject: Bareback/Cashel Soft Saddle Reply with quote

The question was: I don't have a saddle that fits. Will it hurt my horse to ride bareback or in a Cashel Soft Saddle exclusively?

~ ~ ~

When I am out on a farm visit, the first thing I do is evaluate the
horse before even asking about the saddle or riding style, so that I
don't have any expectations about what I might find. However, there are
some consistent soreness problems associated with various situations.
When I find that a horse is sore close to the spine about a hand behind
the base of the wither (depends on the wither shape, of course), the
horse is usually being ridden bareback a lot.

Yes, I see horses who are sore from being ridden bareback. The problem
is that the human seatbones are very close together, and when you ride
bareback most of your weight is focused on the seatbones. So all your
weight is coming through two "pressure points" under your behind, and
they're very very close to the spine.

I found 3 horses recently, being ridden bareback by a very short,
lightweight teenager, who were all noticeably sore from being ridden
bareback. It's not just the weight, it's also the placement and focus
of the weight.

A saddle that fits distributes your weight along the whole underside of
the saddle; when a saddle doesn't fit, pressure points carry a lot more
of the weight and can bruise the horse's back. Riding bareback, or with
simple padding that doesn't actually distribute weight, your seatbones
act just like pressure points under a poorly fitting saddle.

Occasional short rides bareback or in a bareback pad will likely not
hurt a horse, but I don't recommend doing so often. With my back
problems, I don't often tack up my horses to ride...but I don't ride
more than once every week or two and not more than 15 minutes at a time.
If I rode more frequently or for longer periods I would definitely use
a saddle.
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