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Going Bareback for the Winter...

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  • Going Bareback for the Winter...

    Out here in Oregon, its been a bit chilly. It was 12 degrees when I left my house this morning, and the highs have been consistently in the upper 20's for the mid-day. By the time I get to the barn after work, its around 25, and 20 or so when I'm done. I'm layering like a madwoman and last night had two pairs of long johns under jeans, a couple pairs of socks, and a thermal under a long sleeved shirt with my sheepskin lined hoodie under my barn coat. My three-pairs-of-socks feet were stuffed into my muck boots. It was actually pretty comfortable.

    I've ridden my greenie bareback (ok, bareback pad!) for the last three days and she has been WONDERFUL. Nice and connected, using her back, and willingly offering some nice steps of shoulder in in addition to just plain nailing her leg yeilds and canter transitions. Her left lead is coming right along and I can tell she is really starting to stretch her stiffer right side out now that we've been consciously working on making the LH more active.

    She's only four. Three great rides in a row is not a fluke, we must be doing something right.

    Anybody else find themselves hacking in a bareback pad more during winter?

  • #2
    I climb on the shark fin to ride him back to his pasture after I ride. he wears a halter. I wear a vest and helmet.

    I am closer to 60 than 50 and sometimes might let him jog a few steps if I am trying to reclaim my youth.

    I do hate winter tack. stiff and sticky at the same time.

    and I live in coastal California!
    A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton

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    • #3
      I did that all last winter!

      Mostly because my horse had a weird girthing issue and I didn't want to deal with it, but it was still fun and I think did a lot for us

      Bareback in winter is the best way to keep the butt warm, anyway

      I wish I could say I worked on actual training... but we have fun anyway.
      Last edited by caffeinated; Dec. 10, 2009, 03:32 PM.
      "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

      My CANTER blog.

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      • #4
        Yeah, I've ridden bareback more in the last few days than I have in the last few years, thanks to the temps. I forgot how much fun it is- and my very green OTTB mare was a champ. I just climbed on her with a halter and leadrope. I DID have to teach her how to steer with just a halter, but never once did I fear for my life.

        I think we've been bonding.

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        • #5
          caffeinated- I LOVE that photo! If I had one that nice of me riding one of my horses, it would be up on the wall!

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            I can't say we haven't had practice - I broke my left foot in July and became a pro at mounting from the off side, bareback (wasn't supposed to put weight on the foot!). My girl stands like a rock for mounting now - I swear I saw her roll her eyes at me when I was doing my hop-wiggle-climb on from the wrong side for a couple months. We have a standard two step mounting block, and she's a long-legged, 16.1-2h TB.

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            • #7
              No, can't say I do it very much, other than just goofing around or tormenting a pony. When I was a teenager, I always gave Neigh a month "off" in the winter. But, being absolutely obsessed with getting on my horse, "off" meant no tack whatsoever. So, I rode him around bareback in a halter and lead.

              I am a bit of a killjoy, too. I feel there's a reason our saddles are designed with trees (helps evenly distribute the rider's weight), so I feel like doing too much riding bareback can actually make a horse sore and uncomfortable. And considering most of the horses around here are pretty fit with pointy TB withers...we won't even TALK about the rider's soreness!
              Amanda

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                I agree with you on the weight distribution point, yb - I won't be riding exclusively bareback, and not for the ENTIRE winter, but I'm thinking its working for us for the moment and hope to incorporate it regularly. I'll still throw the old saddle on for any o/f work! I'm sitting on a bareback pad with a thick saddle pad under and a half pad between, more for MY comfort than anything else - my girl has a nice, round barrel but still has TB withers. They are not so mountainous as some, but still noticeable!

                One of my favorite memories as a WS was getting to hack the best training horse bareback - and jump. He was a huge barrel-bodied WB with very little wither to speak of, super easy to sit on and those big, expressive gaits were a thrill. My draft x brought back similar memories last winter, he was quite a big mover.

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                • #9
                  a small connemara horse that I used to event would go SO much better on the flat without a saddle than with. We had the saddle fitted regularly, so it wasn't a soreness issue. He would round his back and engage his hind end so much more when I rode him bareback. He was a pudgy little thing so pointy withers wasn't a problem. I also felt like it was a good experience for me to ride him like that occasionaly because I could more easily feel what muscles and parts of his body were engaged.

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                  • #10
                    yeah i am currently between saddles and hate the saddle i am borrowing. So yesterday after a icky ride, i took the saddle off and went for a canter in the snow! I dont think i have had that much fun on a horse in a long time.

                    When the barn owner saw me cantering around the property in the fresh snow all she could do was roll her eyes and laugh.
                    "Let the fence be the bit." - Phillip Dutton

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                    • #11
                      Not so much in PA, but in Michigan, I used to put on the carharts and ride bareback a fair bit (the padding helps with those TB whithers)
                      OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!

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