Not only did I ride bareback, but I trained horses for my neighbors starting when I was thirteen, bareback. I prided myself on being able to sit any horse at any time without a saddle. It gave me a great seat and incredible balance on the back of a horse. Alas, that seat and balance (and my confidence) have been lost in the years between. I think it is still there, but buried beneath age and pain and stiffening muscles and aching joints. This getting older really sucks.
Last night, I rode with R and her mom, G. R rode her mare Ardee and G rode her very large gelding Noosh. R was bareback (she's saving money to buy a jump saddle, plus taking it easy in the off season and just playing a bit with her mare). After I was done with destroying my canter work, (flying changes will make you cry. Just saying.) I decided to pull my saddle and do a little light walking to cool out the boy bareback.
R was willing to walk on the inside next to Ashke, since Ardee lurvs him, and remain prepared to intervene if it looked like Ashke was going to get jumpy or out of control. We just walked until Ashke was cool.
Ashke was a little tense at first, not really understanding what was going on.
And I held onto his mane, not necessarily to hold me on his back, but to make me feel more secure.
We even got a little trot work in.
The breeches were slick. Next time a more appropriate pant choice.
We had one little spook, but he didn't try to get out from under me and he only flinched and took a couple of steps, then slowed back to his walk. It was a little difficult to get off, since he's rarely had a leg and boot slide across the top of his rump when I am dismounting, but we managed without him bolting or me falling.
Soon, we will try it again. I have to say I could feel the difference in my upper thighs and lower back. R kept telling me this counted for no-stirrup November, so there's that.