Riding Bareback VS. Saddle

In the latest edition of Equus Magazine, there was an interesting report on riding bareback vs using a well-fitting saddle and determining the amount of pressure on the horses back.

The article was written by Christine Barakat and Mick McClusky, BVSc, MACVSc.  The title caught my eye:  Surprising findings about bareback riding.  Hmmm.  What could be surprising?  Everyone know that bareback is more natural and therefore better for the horses back, right?  Maybe not.

According to the study the saddle disperses the rider’s weight more evenly along the back whereas riding bareback creates severe pressure points.  Which actually makes sense.  The article continued to say that so long as you don’t ride daily, putting pressure on the same damaged capillaries in the tissue all the time, everything should be alright and no permanent damage done.

So, the take home lesson is that you can ride bareback periodically to experience a closeness to your horse that only bareback can bring, just doing it sparingly and enjoy the ride!

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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2 Responses to Riding Bareback VS. Saddle

  1. Mom says:

    Don”t tell the Indians that they were hurting their horses due to every day bare back riding! but it does make sense to me too. Love Mom

    • Jack says:

      There’ were reasons that multiple horses represented wealth to the Indians. Lack of good hoof protection was probably primary, but lack of back protection could have played a part.

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