Treatment Type: Tack
Rated for: American Paint Horse
Cashmere, Washington, United States
Posted Jul. 2, 2018
I love using bareback pads for a couple reasons!
For teaching, it's a really great way for new riders to develop better balance very quickly. It prevents them from relying on the saddle or stirrups for balance, and to instead use their core and posture. The caveat is that extended use of a bareback pad by a new rider who does not carry their weight properly, can be painful for the horse since there is no tree that distributes weight across their back. Obviously, it also doesn't provide as much stability and so the risk of falling off is higher.
In therapeutic riding, the added contact and movement felt when using a bareback pad can strengthen the core of the rider even more than if using a traditional saddle.
I like bareback pads for personal use because it encourages me to improve my own balance when riding, and is also very quick to put on the horse, while keeping my jeans clean compared to if I had hopped on without a bareback.
I never use handles or stirrups on bareback pads. This is very dangerous because there is no tree to keep the saddle from slipping if pulled/pushed on heavily. It's always better to hold onto the horses if needed in such circumstances, or to do an emergency dismount. I will cut off the handles and take off stirrups in a saddle comes to me with one that I plan to use for teaching.