Can riding bareback cause horse back pain?

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by sandstorm, Mar 2, 2018.

  1. sandstorm

    sandstorm Senior Member

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    I was hoping to ride bareback for the next couple of weeks while I wait for my saddle fitter to come adjust my too-tight saddle. But my horse was not on board. At the canter there was near constant tail wringing, kicks to the arena fence, and some pretty impressive twitching of the muscles under my seat (I didn't even try trotting and she was fine at the walk). I stopped and put her on the lunge line and rode her very briefly in a poorly fitting saddle to compare her reactions and she acted normal with both. For reference, I'm 5'6/120lb and she's 15hh/1100lb. And yes, I'll stick with lunging only until the fitter comes out.

    Is it possible that riding bareback is causing her pain somewhere or is she just being sensitive?
     
  2. NaeNae

    NaeNae Senior Member

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    Yes.

    If you're unbalanced, bouncing on her back, etc. you can definitely cause discomfort from riding bareback.
     
  3. Ms_Pigeon

    Ms_Pigeon Senior Member

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    If you're certain there are no pain reaction at walk, I think a few weeks of bareback walking sessions can do any horse/rider a lot of good.

    When I was back in The Frozen Tundra (i.e., northeastern Pennsylvania, where I grew up!), we would sometimes do bareback walking sessions when it was too cold to risk the horses getting uber-sweaty. Slowing down the pace, really feeling the connection, etc., made for some great rides. We would work on all of the elements that would be included in a training ride, like ring figures, straightness, bending, and so on. It was often eye-opening. :)
     
  4. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    If the horse is showing you that your riding without a saddle is making it uncomfortable, it's either the horse is already sore, and/ or you are not in balance with the horse and that imbalane is either painful, or annoying.

    They don't fuss without a reason.
    And don't go lunging the horse for exercise. It is too hard on the joints and boring going around in circles. Just wait for the saddle or borrow one that fits the both of you.
     
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  5. peg4x4

    peg4x4 Senior Member

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    You probably have pointy pelvis bones.. Yep,that would cause pain!
     
  6. bellalou

    bellalou Senior Member

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    If your saddle is too tight, it is likely that your horse has some pain because of that. Even if you think you caught it quick, horses are pretty stoic for the most part, and it's easy to miss an ill-fitting saddle until it gets fairly bad (exception being my Bella, who is a diva queen and will pitch a fit if one mane hair is under her saddle pad o_O ).

    I would have a chiropractor out before the saddle fitter to eliminate any residual pain. That way you will start fresh with a well-fitting saddle.
     
  7. sandstorm

    sandstorm Senior Member

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    LOL, sounds a lot like my mare. I can't get a good measurement for her height because she goes into a twitching fit as soon as the stick starts mussing her mane hairs.

    And that's a good point about the seat bones peg, I definitely didn't think of that when I was trying to figure out what could be causing pain.

     
  8. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    yes, riding bareback can cause a horse pain in the back, though most people won't ride long enough. .or hard enough, bareback, to cause pain. And some horses have a 'double back' in which their spine is buried under a lot of muscle and fat.

    Saddles are designed to keep weight away from the spine and shift it to the muscle and fat on either side of the spine.
     
  9. Garfield70

    Garfield70 Senior Member

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    In a horse with already existing back problems, yes, because bareback your weight is not distributed over a larger surface as it is with a saddle. Also you may be more clumsy bareback and just hang in the horses face to stop or for balance, the nose goes up, bad for the back muscles.
     
  10. Mayelix

    Mayelix Senior Member

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    Like others have said, if you’re unbalanced or the horse already has pain then sure.
    You could try a bareback pad to give you and your horse a little cushion and depending on what one you get, possibly better grip.
    I ride my horse bareback (in a Thinline bareback pad) often and before I had my saddle adjusted the last time he was actually better bareback than in a saddle. That being said I’ve also been riding bareback for years and have good balance now (I didn’t when I first started!)
     

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