QUESTION: I have two well broke, very quiet horses and want to learn to ride bareback. BUT my neighbor says that riding bareback wrecks the horses back? I want to believe him but I am fairly new at all this riding stuff. Is this true?
ANSWER: NO!!! In fact riding bareback protects a horses back from ill fitting saddles, poor quality or dirty saddle blankets and poorly fitted/positioned cinches that are also often the wrong cinch for the horse and/or stiff from dirt and sweat. Riding bare back is far "Superior" to riding with a saddle any day for the horse. NOTE: As long as you do not use the reins to hold yourself on the horse or hold them to tight because your scared!!! People learning to ride bareback are notorious for wrecking their horses mouths by trying to stay on the horse by a death grip on the reins or by getting unbalanced and jerking the horse's mouth. Nothing bad for the horse's back, just the horse's mouth!!!
NOW FOR THE BEST PART: I have always believed and always will believe that a rider............... "Is Not And Can Not" be truly in motion with a horse at all gaits and all maneuvers unless that person can ride BAREBACK. Thus ride the horse truly as "IF A PART OF THE HORSE". Not a Human and a Horse, but "AS ONE IDENTITY". So keep in mind while learning to become "Part Of The Horse" that you will fall off, that you will become unbalanced until you become one with the horse. And learn slowly so as to not use the reins to balance yourself or because your scared. Grab a fistful of mane to balance yourself until you gain confidence. Start slow and work up to speed and quick maneuvers from there. It can take at least a couple of years of daily riding to become "One With The Horse". (And no longer fall off with speed or fast maneuvers). Please note that many, very well trained horses have never been ridden bareback and may be spooked/act up at first until they learn that someone can be on them and work them without that cumbersome piece of leather called a saddle.