Saturday, September 11, 2010

Trotting bareback

Someone who likes to ride bareback a lot... How do you avoid hurting your, ah, sensitive parts?

My trainer and I are planning on taking Panama swimming on Wednesday, so she suggested I get a lot of practice riding bareback before then. I rode bareback this evening, and... OUCH!

Panama doesn't have an exceptionally high withers, but I think it's rather long. I feel like I'd have to sit in the middle of his back to be completely behind it, but maybe I am sitting too far forward. Still, within a few strides at the trot, I'm always considerably farther forward than where I started out.

I know I'm probably not sitting back enough, but if I try to sit straight, I feel like I'm positioning myself for considerably more pain. Those of you who prefer to ride bareback, how do you manage it — and still have a sex life?!

I don't have a bareback pad anymore, because his old one (pony-sized) no longer fits him. He still has a smaller girth than most horses (44"), so I'll probably have to get a regular horse-size pad and have it altered. No time to do that before our swimming date, though.

Well, I'll be riding bareback at least a little every day until Wednesday, so hopefully with the extra practice it'll come to me!

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8 Comments:

At September 12, 2010 at 5:00 AM, Blogger Kate said...

That can be a challenge and it also depends on the shape of the horse. I think the trick is to sit up straight on your two back seat bones, and to not grip with your legs. The two things that will throw you forwards are bouncing - you need to relax your pelvis and lower back to allow your seat to stay glued to the horse's back - and hunching/gripping with legs - this will bring your legs up and body forwards. It should feel like sitting on the edge of a chair on your two seat bones. But then there are some horses that are shaped in such a way that it's hard to find a comfortable position. Good luck!

 
At September 12, 2010 at 11:39 AM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Thanks, Kate, I'll try your suggestions -- especially relaxing, because I know I am not! I am also hunching at the trot, and gripping with my legs -- although I can't think of any way around the latter, as he is very narrow. Since he is a small horse, he just doesn't have the nice wide barrel of a larger horse, and I think that is part of my problem -- I've trotted bareback on my trainer's mom's horse before, and his broader back made it much easier to stay balanced!

 
At September 12, 2010 at 6:23 PM, Blogger Sydney_bitless said...

Sit on your seat bones. To find them swing each leg one at a time all the way forward then all the way back and let them settle strait underneath you. You will feel your seat bones you should be sitting on them every time you ride. Also make sure your heels are ALWAYS down. Even though you don't have stirrups relaxing and letting your toes point down is going to land you on your rear in the dirt. Keep your upper leg to your hip still and relax your lower back. You can try using a surcingle and a western saddle pad if that helps you. Narrow horses are always hard to balance and ride on, especially bareback.

 
At September 12, 2010 at 8:24 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Sydney, thank you. I have been keeping my heels down, but my lower back is certainly NOT relaxed -- that's something I'll definitely have to work on. I believe I am on my seat bones at the walk, but my body won't listen to me at the trot! Probably goes back to my lower back not being relaxed. :o) I'll work on that tomorrow...

 
At September 13, 2010 at 9:18 AM, Anonymous Jackie said...

I second all of the comments about relaxing the lower back and connecting through seat bones - I think you got that point already, but I wanted to totally agree with it. :) I ride my TB bareback frequently ... and he's quite narrow, with very high long withers, and can be like sitting on a fence. One thing that has really helped me has been thinking about tucking my rear under and making sure there's no arch in my back. I have a bit of a natural arch in my lower back, which throws my seat forward and my weight to my toes, also making it more difficult to follow the movement sitting at a trot. So think specifically about getting rid of that arch.

Also, the other thing that will help is keeping your knees and hips bent so that your legs are in the same position as if you were in your saddle using stirrups. It's harder to protect yourself if your legs are hanging all the way down.

Good luck, and let us knpw how it goes!

 
At September 13, 2010 at 7:54 PM, Blogger jane augenstein said...

Katharine, just reading your post tonight, I am going to ride Gilly bareback tomorrow. He has some welts from something stinging or biting him. When I rode today the girth was bothering him, I found them after I rode.

So bareback we go tomorrow. Gilly has a nice wide soft back that is easy to sit on. Not so easy to ride that big trot but this will help me learn to sit it (I hope!).

What Sydney said sounds like good advise! I will try it too. Good luck sitting on Panamas back, I have never had a horse that didn't have a nice wide back. Hope he plumps up as he gets older so you have a nice soft seat!
Good luck on your ride!

 
At September 14, 2010 at 7:24 PM, Blogger jane augenstein said...

Katharine, I hope your bareback ride went better than mine did today!!! I swear I couldn't sit balanced on Gil's back for nothing today! LOL I was wobbling like a drunk, I could not even begin to trot, so we walked, backed up, side passed both ways at the walk, then I got off. Gilly kept turning his head and smelling my feet, What the heck is the matter with you? he seemed to say!
Bad day in the round pen!
SO how did your ride go???

 
At September 14, 2010 at 8:28 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Jackie, thanks, I have been trying to keep my legs in the normal position, particularly with the heels down, and it does seem to help.

Jane, Panama may still fill out as he gets older. He has already filled out a lot in the last couple years, and he is only 5! Today's ride went pretty well -- I'm going to blog about it in a few minutes!

 

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