Money in the bank

I have not been able to ride my horse in 4 years since I had my daughter. When I got on her yesterday (i am determined to get back to my riding schedual) she did good but was really stiff and spooky. I know that time and patience is the best thing, but is there anything I can do to help her to calm and stretch out better? I usually ride bareback and with just a halter and rope. I seldom actually tack her up but when I do i have both english and western, Wink prefers the western. Thanks for any help, Erin

When I am working with my horses I think about the training as putting money in the bank. ‘Money’ can be deposited in the ‘training bank’ by a horse trainer that you hire, or by purchasing a horse that has lots of training, or you can do the training yourself.

Just as hanging out with your kids may enjoyable and pleasant some times the time we spend with our horses is also just for enjoyment and pleasure. Other times when we are with our kids there is more direct teaching.

It sounds like your horse is in need of some more deposits in the training bank. Speaking from my own experiences I have found that riding bareback and/or bridleless tends to fall into the withdrawal category more often than the deposit category.


  1. Olivia Sutter on November 3, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Thank you!

    Also, how do you get a horse to relax with you riding her? I have a Appendix QH mare that’s off the track. She is really nice and gentle on the ground but when you get on her she just about goes wild(she doesn’t buck, she’s just hard to control). We bred her this year to a really nice cowy stud. I’m hoping that that will do the trick. The problem, she’s 21, and in very good health, but she’s stubborn (very!) partly because of her age. I’m only 13 and my parent’s know very little about horses and I have to do everything with them. How do you build trust with them?

  2. Drucilla on November 3, 2011 at 12:06 am

    Look forward to it! Thanks Stacy!

  3. olmata on November 2, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    I actually prefer riding bareback to riding with a saddle. I can feel the muscles in my horse’s back flex and stretch and tighten, I can feel him preparing to speed up, slow down, turn left or right, get ready to go poopy or potty, tense up, relax, stumble, etc. and I think it can prepare me much better than I would be able to be prepared with a saddle. Some of the above can still be sensed through a saddle, but bareback is easier. Also, I have found that the shape of some saddles can mess up my balance and makes me slip. Plus, people look up to people who can stick to their horse like a burr through galloping, sliding stops, spins and tight corners and spooks. Don’t get me wrong, saddles have a time and purpose, but bareback is the fav for me and my horse

  4. Drucilla on November 2, 2011 at 12:23 am

    I never thought of this. I would love to hear more details about bareback not being a deposit!! I love bareback and always feel like I am more connected but I have fallen off two different horses in the last few months both when I was bareback. I assume it is just my poor balance and riding skills. I always thought the more i did bareback the more I would get better balance. I have been riding mostly saddle now working on all our lessons then riding bareback just once in while and just revisiting what we already learned in saddle I think this sounds like what you are suggesting. would love to hear more2@

    • Stacy on November 2, 2011 at 2:07 pm

      You are right, I should write more about this. I think bareback can be a deposit but it is much, much harder. I should have been more clear. Especially when I am doing bridleless work I don’t consider it a deposit as much as ‘polishing’ something that already exists. I say this with the experience of growing up riding more bareback hours than those with a saddle and the experience of now training high level horse. Let me write another post….

      • LINDA on November 3, 2011 at 6:56 am

        Reflecting on my present bareback skills, I know I need to strengthen my core muscles and be more relaxed like I was 20 years ago when I didn’t own a saddle the first 6 mos. We all want to ride like you Stacy! loose and free! Looking forward to more posts on bareback deposits from you.

  5. Kassie Faye Tabor Cumbee on November 1, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    I agree. I was currently riding bareback (with bridle) one day and then riding with saddle (and halter w. rope) the next. All I seem to be doing was building my own confidence and leg muscles (until I feel off bareback last Thur and broke a bone). The horse I was riding didn’t seem to take anything from the lessons. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE riding bareback, I think everyone should do it weekly , but like Linda said, I don’t ride the same manuvers I would if I was in full tack. Until I fell I do think my horse realized that she wasn’t going to “bounce” me of with her famous crowhops!! Which was good, but my limitations as a bareback rider kept me from actually teaching her anything while riding that style.

  6. Patty on November 1, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Linda, I’m doing the exact same thing – bareback pad and just building (my) confidence back after a wreck. Glad to hear I’m on the right track and not alone.

  7. LINDA on November 1, 2011 at 7:12 am

    I agree with you Stacy. When I ride bareback (with pad more than not) and I do not leave the arena, I feel we are just out there to connect and get a little better in my seat. When she gets a little hot, then I find a place in the ride that I can dismount gracefully. I am always ready to have an emergency dismount. We do not do all the tasks and games when bareback that I like to practice when in the saddle because I do not ride barebac like am NOT afraid to fall off.

Leave a Comment




100% Private - 0% Spam

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

No one taught you the skills you need to work through these things.

Riders often encounter self-doubt, fear, anxiety, frustration, and other challenging emotions at the barn. The emotions coursing through your body can add clarity, or can make your cues indistinguishable for your horse.

Learning these skills and begin communicating clearly with your horse.

Click here to learn more.



Join the newsletter

Subscribe to get the latest content and updates by email.