5 Tips For Riding Bareback

Hey, y'all! Sam here bringing you 5 Tips For Riding Bareback.


Before we get started, I have an important announcement. My book, Links of the Two Worlds, is now available for preorder. Yes, y'all, this is the book I've been talking about for months now. If you're into middle grade fantasy, this may be just the story for you!


Now, I'm giving you two options: One, you can preorder it and have the Ebook version delivered directly to your Kindle on July 17th. Two, you can wait until July 17th for the paperback version. Either way, you'll be able to experience this magic-dusted story!







Now, for the horsey stuff. A few weeks ago, I made a post called "Bareback Or Saddled?" where I talked a lot about the pros and cons of riding bareback (I will be bringing back a few of the pros, just to refresh your memory). Bareback is for some people, but it's not for everybody. However, I highly recommend you at least try riding bareback, if not practice it regularly.


Pros of Riding Bareback:


  • It's a terrific way to bond with your horse. You're able to feel them move and breathe underneath you, causing you to be more connected in ways that are hard to explain.

  • It's great for strengthening your muscles, especially the inside of your thighs. Seeing as these are the same muscles you use when riding saddled, they're extremely valuable. These muscles are used more than any other muscle in your body when you're on horseback, making them crucial. You definitely can strengthen these muscles when riding saddled, but bareback riding takes it to a whole other level. Once you start trotting bareback, you'll know what I'm talking about 😉

  • It helps your balance. Riding saddled is much easier than riding bareback. What makes it so much easier? The stirrups. Having a place to keep you stable and balanced helps you stay on so much easier! When you ride bareback, you don't have this extra support. This is great to help improve your balance. You want your balance improved because it will not only help you when riding bareback, but it'll also help you tremendously when riding saddled.


5 Tips For Riding Bareback:



1. Perfect Your Trot Before You Lope/Canter


Once you start getting more comfortable with riding bareback, you'll want to go faster. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is loping before you're completely comfortable with a trot.


It may be tempting to lope/canter instead of trot because trotting is bumpy and uncomfortable. But it's so important to be accustomed to that second gait before you go faster. Trotting is more difficult than both walking and loping/cantering, thus most people will want to skip it and go straight to loping/cantering. This is a big no-no.


Perfecting your trot before you start loping/cantering is important to get you used to riding bareback and the muscles and balance you must use. I highly, highly recommend that you perfect your trot before you lope/canter.



2. Use the Mane


Every time I switch to a faster gait, I grab hold of my horse's mane. This helps to stabilize me so I don't fly off my horse's back. I recommend you do this, too. But you need to be careful when grabbing your horse's mane. You may not mean to, but you could be ripping out their hair. It would be better if you grabbed more in the middle of their mane (the thickest part), so you won't pull out much or any.



3. Focus On Your Posture


It's very important when riding, whether it be bareback or saddled, to make sure you have good posture. I may or may not write a more detailed blog post about this subject, but basically, good posture is good for your overall health. Good posture, in or out of the saddle, will help to keep your spine and the rest of your body in good shape.


At first, riding with good posture will seem like a chore. You'll hate having to constantly focus on keeping your back straight; it'll probably make your ride much less enjoyable, and it'll be tiring. But fear not! This task will become more and more simple over time. If you really work hard on maintaining good posture during your rides, you could make a habit out of it in a week or two. If you don't ride very often or don't focus on good posture very often, then it could take months, or in some cases, years.



4. Use Your Non-Dominant Hand


If you're right-handed like me, use your right hand to hold the reins and put your left hand on your horse's withers. If you’re left-handed, vice versa.


Putting your non-dominant hand on the withers during turns and things you're uncomfortable with will really help you stay on. If you don't have good balance, putting your hand on the withers can help so much! Even if you have excellent balance, it's still completely okay to put your hand on the withers. For example, I've been riding for years now, preferring bareback, and I still have to put my hand on the withers when Ellie makes a sharp turn at a high speed.


However, it is a bad habit to constantly keep your hand on the withers. It will make you rely on that extra source to balance you out, instead of practicing your balance by using nothing but your legs.



5. Don't Squeeze


When you're riding bareback, holding on for dear life, it can be tempting to squeeze your legs together to help you stay on. Don't. When you do this, it signals your horse to go faster. If you're pulling back on the reins while squeezing your legs, it gives the horse mixed commands. This is very, very bad. It will make your horse confused, not knowing which command to obey. Confusion leads to stress. Stress leads to you getting bucked off.


If you squeeze to stay on regularly, it can even cause your horse to become immune to that command. At first, you might think this a good thing, but it's certainly not. If your horse doesn't respond when you squeeze your legs together, why would it respond to a kick? If it doesn't respond to a kick, how will you make it go? Vocal commands are good, but they don't work all the time. By squeezing your legs together and pulling back on the reins, you're untraining your horse to follow the squeeze/kick command.



All right. That's 5 Tips For Riding Bareback and a book release. Comment below on which tip is your favorite! Sam out!

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