The Thrill of Riding Bareback

I have not ridden bareback in years.  I had forgotten the range of emotions it always brought me:  thrills, fear, and a closeness to your horse that nothing else can bring.

A week or so ago, when Sugar had one of those huge bug bites on her girth area, my friend Toni wanted to come and ride.  Feeling guilty for tacking her up and putting a girth on an already inflamed area, she jokingly said, “Maybe I should just ride bareback then.”

Like I said, I have not ridden bareback in years and it seemed like a good idea at the time, so I told her if she would, I would too.  (Nothing like peer pressure!)  Toni had slightly more of a challenge that I did.  Sugar is at least 5 inches taller than Kobi, so while I was still able to use the mounting stool to get up on my ‘pony’, Toni had to climb the side of the barn and mount that way!

Toni rode Sugar around bareback with just a halter and lead rope for control – I’m not quite that trusting, so I used a full bridle.  It was so much fun!  At first I thought each step he took would toss me over the side, but after a few minutes I had found my balance and was relaxing.

Today, I took it one step farther.  August in Florida is not one of our better months.  Between the heat, humidity, and bugs it’s best to stay indoors.  With all that against me, I decided to take Kobi out bareback again.  The gnats were unreal and tormenting us something fierce, so I convinced Kobi to grudgingly jog to get away from the bugs.  I was nervous at first, but anyone who has ever had the privilege of trotting/jogging on Kobi knows that he has the smoothest ride you will ever know – and he didn’t let me down.

After jogging for a bit, we worked on opening gates and steering without reins – not quite there yet, but one day I’ll be able to ride like Stacy Westfall!

About Heather Hamel

Growing up with horses is a little girls dream come true. Heather’s dream in life was to be a horse trainer - how dreams change - sort of! She moved to the wonderfully historic town of St. Augustine, Florida and was a historic tour guide and a ghost story teller while putting herself through college to become a special education teacher. After graduating, she felt the pull of horses in her life again. That's when she met Kobi! She learned quickly that when you own horses you become a part time vet, part time nutritionist, and full time equestrian. She wouldn't change a thing! In addition to being completely obsessed with her herd, she still teaches and tutors students with learning disabilities, and more specifically, dyslexia.
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