Why Riding Bareback Is Good for You

Posted by Paige Cerulli
Girl riding andalusian grey horse bareback

If you want to improve your skills as a rider, build your strength, and fine-tune your balance, then it's time to give riding bareback a try.

Do you shudder when a friend suggests that you take your horses out for a bareback ride? Does the thought of your horse's withers make you cringe?

Truth is, riding bareback is actually good for you. Here are just a few ways that you can benefit from riding bareback.

Improve Your Strength

8562456027_5255dafb38_z (1)
lostinfog via Flickr.com

Bareback riding is a great way to develop your strength as a rider. Because the saddle, which normally supports you and helps to hold you in position, is gone, you must rely on the strength in your legs and your core to keep yourself upright and on the horse.

You'll find that you quickly tire when riding bareback, especially when working at the trot or the canter. If you want to quickly improve your strength, then make it a point to ride bareback for ten or fifteen minutes at the end of each schooling ride.

Fine-Tune Your Balance

8506936949_d4c8da875c_z
Diaper via Flickr.com

You'll quickly find that bareback riding truly tests your balance. If you thought that you were balanced in the saddle, removing the saddle can reveal areas in which you've been riding unevenly.

The more time that you spend bareback, the better your balance will become. Ready for an added challenge? Close your eyes as you ride.

Develop Your Awareness

234577138_f58e73daa8_z
jdj150 via Flickr.com

When you ride bareback, the barrier of the saddle is removed. You are sitting directly on your horse's back, and because of this position, you'll feel your horse's muscles moving and shifting beneath you.

A bareback ride, even at the walk, can develop your awareness of how your horse's body moves. The next time that you ride in a saddle, try to recall this awareness to better understand the effects that your movement and position have on your horse's back.

Enhance Your Communication

4887560781_7c10726405_z
Clara S. via Flickr.com

Riding your horse bareback gives you the opportunity to enhance the communication between the two of you. Experiment with how your horse reacts when you shift your weight while you're bareback.

Try to steer your horse using just your weight. By removing the saddle, the way that your horse reacts to your position becomes more obvious.

Increase Your Stickability

4173895175_e4c11a1aa3_z
Andrew Moore via Flickr.com

Spending time focusing on bareback riding can improve your overall skill as a rider. Because your muscles and balance will be more developed, you can gradually increase your stickability, too.

If you put in your time bareback, then the next time your horse spooks or bolts under saddle, you may notice a difference in how securely you sit.

There are so many benefits to riding bareback - so go ahead, bridle up your horse and go for a ride!

WATCH NOW: Endo the Blind Horse Is an Inspiration

oembed rumble video here

Why Riding Bareback Is Good for You