Bareback Pad

Written by Linda Alexander
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Whether to use a bareback pad really depends on both the horse and the rider. Consider whether bareback riding is comfortable for both. A bony spine or a horse with a sensitive back may not be able to tolerate the pressure of your sit bones on his back. And if you feel pain when riding bareback, you won't be able to ride correctly and thus may need a bareback pad.

There are safety considerations when using a bareback pad vs. traditional riding gear. First, never use one with stirrups; they are dangerous. Since there is no tree (structure) in it, there is nothing to hold it on the horse. Your foot in the stirrup can easily cause the pad to slip; you could fall off your horse with your foot stuck in the stirrup. You may also want to consider wearing a protective vest.

The Difference Between A Bareback Pad And A Treeless Saddle

A treeless saddle is essentially just that: a saddle without an underlying structure. It has stirrups and is very well padded and comfortable for both horse and rider. Like a treed saddle, it is designed to distribute weight throughout the panels, making your weight easier on the horse and distributing it evenly. A pad for riding bareback is just a saddle pad with a girth.

A pad is a good idea for intermediate riders wanting to learn bareback. First, you should learn how to get your balance by riding with a saddle. From there you can move on to riding with a pad, and finally, truly riding bareback. Riding correctly without a pad will strengthen your muscles and perfect your balance. However, if you are a beginner it is best to learn basic skills with the help of a saddle, then move on to bareback riding.


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