Hacking/hill work and polework bareback - would you?

VioletStripe

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As title really - some of you may find this a very stupid question!

I've hacked bareback a fair amount but never done much hillwork bareback - what are our thoughts on this? I do tonnes of hillwork with a saddle, but I often use my stirrups to take light seat up the *really* steep bits.

Also re polework, I've seen a lot of tackless riders jump and the likes, but is it safe for the horse's back to be trotting over poles bareback?

I'm aware this sounds like very silly questions to some, so apologies, but I haven't done a large amount of bareback since pony club as a teenager - bar a bit of relaxed hacking! I'm keen to do more bareback as I think it would benefit the both of us - and when it's warmer in summer (she says, watching the grey sky and adjusting her knitted cardi) I think it's nice to take the saddle off for more sessions.

So, opinions please!
 

planete

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Try it with something between you and the horse to improve stickability. I used to use a numnah held on with a safety girth and kept in place by a hunting breastplate. Start small for poles and not too steep for hills and go from there. You do need to be able to survive without using the horse's mouth to stay on, this is when the breastplate can come in handy.
 

FunkyFilly28

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For hacking it depends on how steep the hill is and how slippy your horse's coat is! On some steeper parts out hacking previously I've felt myself sliding back and my thigh muscles burning to keep me in place! I'd recommend a neck strap so you can always grab onto that rather than the reins. A bareback pad like other posters have suggested might be a good option.
 

charterline

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I’d also say that if you are going out on the road you need some form of “saddle” not just bareback
 

HashRouge

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I used to do ride bareback all the time when I was a teenager. I once did a four hour hack round the Peak District with no saddle, and that involved some very steep hills. Depends on your horse really and how much you trust them. I'd avoid busy roads though.
 

Sheep

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Personally I wouldn’t, mainly because the horse I’m riding atm is 17hh with shark fin withers 🤣 don’t think I could even get up there, let alone enjoy it once I was haha! My old boy tho, I have done in the past, he is only 15.2 so doesn’t present the same logistical challenges 😉
 

Mule

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Personally I wouldn’t, mainly because the horse I’m riding atm is 17hh with shark fin withers 🤣 don’t think I could even get up there, let alone enjoy it once I was haha! My old boy tho, I have done in the past, he is only 15.2 so doesn’t present the same logistical challenges 😉
I've also stopped riding bareback since I got a giant with shark fin withers. It lost its allure very quickly:p
 

tristar

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i spend a lot of time trying to keep my seat light so a no for me anyway

looks pretty brave though
 

ihatework

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I remember a time with fondness that I hacked my rather buzzy, sassy dressage mare out bareback, due to a temporary lack of saddle.

I wondered a little at my sanity before doing it, as she was quite a high energy type.

The lack of saddle freaked her right out. She could not understand how I had forgotten this vital piece of equipment and hacked out cautiously like an angel. No spooking in spooky alley. No bogging off in canter up the hill. The rider was judged by her to clearly be having some sort of breakdown and needed looking after.

That aside. It was quite slippy, uncomfy and made my beeches extra dirty. So it’s not something I’d be up for regularly.
 

VioletStripe

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I remember a time with fondness that I hacked my rather buzzy, sassy dressage mare out bareback, due to a temporary lack of saddle.

I wondered a little at my sanity before doing it, as she was quite a high energy type.

The lack of saddle freaked her right out. She could not understand how I had forgotten this vital piece of equipment and hacked out cautiously like an angel. No spooking in spooky alley. No bogging off in canter up the hill. The rider was judged by her to clearly be having some sort of breakdown and needed looking after.

That aside. It was quite slippy, uncomfy and made my beeches extra dirty. So it’s not something I’d be up for regularly.
Update, my horse reacted exactly like this!

I have to say, we have never worked so much on our walk-cater-walk transitions - it turns out trotting on a short-backed, narrow overgrown connemara who thinks he's 18hh isn't as comfy as you would hope..
 

DressageCob

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I remember a time with fondness that I hacked my rather buzzy, sassy dressage mare out bareback, due to a temporary lack of saddle.

I wondered a little at my sanity before doing it, as she was quite a high energy type.

The lack of saddle freaked her right out. She could not understand how I had forgotten this vital piece of equipment and hacked out cautiously like an angel. No spooking in spooky alley. No bogging off in canter up the hill. The rider was judged by her to clearly be having some sort of breakdown and needed looking after.

That aside. It was quite slippy, uncomfy and made my beeches extra dirty. So it’s not something I’d be up for regularly.
That's adorable. What a good girl.
 

Goldenstar

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I rode bareback a lot up until my twenties then I got near TB and that was the end of that it was not fun .
 

myheartinahoofbeat

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This post has inspired me Violet Stripe. I rode bareback today. My horse had a suspicious lump lazered off 10 days ago. It was bigger under his skin than expected so the wound is now in the way of a girth. Vet said to carry on as normal, so I tried bareback. I agree with walk-canter being a godsend but my canter-walk didn't quite work! If I can still walk tomorrow morning, I shall have another go as it's got to be good for my balance and core or something! I probably haven't ridden like that for 30 years.
 
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