Riding bareback is, for me, a fabulously fun way to improve your riding while having fun with your horse. First, riding bareback really improves your seat, balance and overall riding strength. You have to be much more in tune with your horse and his rhythm to stay on, and without the saddle in the way you can feel what’s going on so much better. Also, if you can ride bareback, it opens up all sorts of fun activities, like swimming with your horse, playing pony tag or even pony capture the flag. And I think there’s nothing better than having fun with a horse ;)
Of course, you have to practice to get good at riding bareback, just like you have to for everything involving horses. I suggest starting out just at the walk, maybe even on a lunge line or with someone leading you. Trust me, it will feel TOTALLY different the first time you hop on a horse without a saddle. You’ll probably feel like you’re just going to slip right off, especially because horses’ skin is so wiggly. That’s why it’s nice to have someone lead you the first time you try, so you can just grab mane to help you feel secure. Try not to grip with your legs too much, or you’ll just tell your horse to zip right off with you.
So, check out the video below for a few more tips and an example of me riding bareback. Then go for it yourself! Once you try it, though, you may never want to ride in a saddle again ;)