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Love Horseback Riding, Issue #003 -Balance in the Saddle & Holidays
November 30, 2014
Dear Horsey Friends,

Hello Again

I can hardly believe that another month has flown by. We are already into the throws of the holiday season! Soon we'll be sending out Holiday cards and in the midst of the busiest time of the year.

The temperatures drop there are increased commitments for the holidays, and less daylight, all of which can make squeezing in horse and riding time a challenge.

With temperatures in many areas of the country getting to that official "winter" feeling, it can end up meaning less saddle time.

Now can be a great time to spend some time with your horse without requiring anything from him in return.

A nice grooming session, or even just hanging out in his paddock or stall can strengthen the relationship with your horse exponentially.

On the brighter side though, the holidays often bring fun barn parties! This is a great time with your horsey friends, and celebrate the holidays and your mutual love of our equine friends!

One of my favorite things about my barn party (besides the yummy potluck food of course) is the gift exchange. Many barns do a gift exchange or white elephant type exchange of lower priced horse related gifts.

At ours we all pick numbers, and #1 draws first. They open a gift and then #2 can either take #1's gift or open the next and so on. It is great fun to see who swaps, who keeps, and who ends up with what.

If you are going to be participating in a barn party, here are some ideas for lower cost gifts you could bring if your barn does a gift exchange;

-Nice hoofpick (who couldn't use another quality hoof pick, don't they just disappear?)

-Mane and tail detangler

-Mini first aid with antiseptic and vet wrap


-Horse picture frame

-Homemade horse treats

What's New

Do you know how horses see? Their vision is so different from our own. Being a prey animal, they have extremely large peripheral (side) vision in order to detect predators. Along with this, they have a couple blind spots where they can't see at all. Learn more about how horses see and how to stay safe when riding and handling them here.

Reader Question- Balance in the Saddle

Sherry writes "Do you have any exercises to do whilst in the saddle to help with balance please?"

Why yes I do! Balance is one of the hardest things to do on an average 1000 pound horse that often has his own opinion of how fast and what direction to go! The forces of physics are at work, and keeping balance can be tricky, especially if you and your mount are not in sync.

In the realm of beginner riders, they are so often just trying to think about all the things they need to do (steer, eyes, up, back straight, heels down) that they forget everything else! Here are some tips and exercises for balance in the saddle.

1. Don't forget to breathe! It sounds so basic, but this is a biggie. Most of the time riders will hold their breath without even knowing it! This causes you to unknowingly become tense. And where there is tenseness, their is stiffness.

Stiffness = Bouncing = Lack of balance

When you are riding, make a conscious effort to breathe and relax your muscles while keeping your eyes forward.

2. Another common reason a rider can't keep their balance is with all the movement of the horse and their body (posting etc) their lower leg gets out of position. A quick way to check your balance is to stand up a little in the stirrups and hold yourself there.

-If your lower leg is too far back your body will fall forward onto your horses neck

-If your lower leg is too far forward, your body will fall back into the saddle.

-When your leg is in the proper alignment, you will be more balanced overall and the position will be easier to hold

Finding that balance while moving is where the challenge is!

Practice at the halt and then the walk until you can comfortably hold this position (without holding onto the saddle horn or pommel)

I hope these simple tips will help you balance in the saddle!

Have a great holiday season and be sure to visit directly or on social media at Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter! Until then,

Happy Trails!


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