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A Balancing Act
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A Balancing Act

Obviously to be a good rider it is all-important to maintain the correct balance when you are atop your horse. There are two big misconceptions about balance that prevent many riders and horses from fulfilling their full potential. The first is that it is possible for the rider to support the horse through the reins contact, thus preventing him/her losing their balance. It is important to remember that the horse carries us, not the other way round – it is physically impossible for the rider to support the horse's balance. We can, however, help the horse to maintain his balance by having the right speed and level of impulsion (i.e. forward thrust, when moving with controlled power).

The second misconception is that it is possible to improve the horse's balance by moving your weight further back in the saddle, regardless of the way your horse is going. In fact, this can actually prevent the horse from arching and using his/her back. If this is taken to the extreme, where the rider's weight is over the horse's hindquarters, this can cause the horse's hind legs to become overburdened and unable to function normally. The only way to get the hind legs to carry more weight is by gradual and progressive training. Developing the horse athletically and increasing impulsion will bring the weight of both horse and rider further back, as one unit.

If the horse loses his balance, he naturally slows down to regain it. This is what the rider should encourage the horse to do in order to make his balance more stable. However, because the horse has four legs, it is remarkable how well he can balance, even when his weight is too far forward. Unfortunately this also increases the strain on the front feet and foreleg, which can in turn increase the risk of injury. As a horse learns to be more evenly balanced, this strain on his forelegs is reduced, which will extend his working life. The easy way to instantly reduce wear and tear on the forelegs and improve a horse's balance is to work him going up an incline. Small hills are an invaluable resource in helping your horse achieve a natural balance.

 

 

 

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  1. Eve Sherrill York
    Eve Sherrill York
    Think you could help me with my balance? I'm so uncoordinated. lol Voted.
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  2. MReynolds
    MReynolds
    Great advice! Voted!
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  3. Rene Wright
    Rene Wright
    Voted. Love this piece. Balance in both horse and rider is essentially the core of riding. Without it.. neither of you do very well. lol
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  4. dusty
    I have truly enjoyed what I have read from your blogger and the articles so far. I would love to be able access information of things my mom and I struggled through while we were showing horses back in the 60's 70's and 80s . There is really no greater thing of beauty to me then to watch and horse and rider work in tandem with each other and no greater rush then the thrill of the win . But as all of you well know it takes many long hour of work and devotion to get there.by both you and your partner . I've seen the amount compaction out there today and my heart goes to young riders of these times. I simply can imagine having to come with creative financing to work out my show schedules or which class A shows I couldn't go to cause because I would have the funds to pull it off. To be honest my mom Is pretty much my hero for all of my success there she scrimped and she wheeled and we boarded extra horses and trailed many extra horse along the way .I believe it would be co opting these days but i was at least some of the ways we got things to come together. This Sport has never been an easy one we do not going quietly in to the night . and there are some very long night involved in competitive riding I don't care if you are showing roping horses, Jumping horses or English equitation is you thing..You have already won cause you are still working at it. I miss it so you don't give up
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