This is an article I have on Horseman’s U.com, but it remains one of the most popular articles so I thought I’d post it here.
Learning to ride without a saddle has multiple benefits
Bareback riding (without the saddle) was always something kids did. You grabbed your pony from the field, hopped on and away you went.
Today we barely function without saddles. While saddles help us look pretty or be more functional, bareback riding has many benefits for both posture AND confidence.
Bareback riding allows you to feel the true movement of the horse, and sends the rider information that is imperative for higher training. It is this very idea that correlates to English saddles having as little leather between the horse and rider as possible, especially in dressage saddles, where the flaps are thin and flexible.