"The classical seat with a vertical alignment of ears, shoulders, hips, and heels, is the 'neutral' position to which the rider returns immediately after all deviations that the horse may have made necessary. It is the position in which the rider is the least burdensome, even to a young horse - because he is sitting in balance with the horse. Leaving this position is either an aid, which helps the horse improve or regain his own balance and straightness, or it is an interference, which destroys the horse's balance and straightness."

Thomas Ritter, ArtisticDressage.com

One of the "golden rules" in riding is the seeking of the perfect balance. We all strive for balance - in our position, our seat, our movement with the horse. Another fundamental area of emphasis is in the horse's balance: too low, and the horse is on the forehand; too high, and we risk taking unplanned airs above the ground!

But there is so much more to balance.

The secret is identifying when you find the "perfect in-between" - and being able to replicate that just-right-balance regularly enough to reap the rewards.

When considering horses, finding balance occurs in avenues other than just during the rides themselves. Too much of something can be just as harmful as too little, and the horse person must learn to 'listen' carefully to the horses to know how much of something is just enough.

You must find balance in:

- hay: too much is almost as bad as too little

- supplements: too much can be wasteful or damaging, and too little can be similarly wasteful and useless

-riding: too often, and the horse can get "sour"; too infrequent, and your horse becomes less fit, able, and mentally ready

-turnout: too long and your horse gets dirty/cold/tired/ "wild"; too short and your horse gets bored/sour/unhappy

-bathing: not often enough, and the coat gets grimy and bacteria can cause skin problems; too often, and the oil gets stripped from the hair and the coat loses its luster and shine

Well, you get the idea.

There must be balance in pretty much everything, and all you need to find it is awareness and willingness to make the necessary changes to even out the scales. And whether you are sitting in balance on the horse, or achieving balanced nutritional requirements, you can be satisfied in knowing that the perfect-in-between is a great place to be!

What other areas do you find balance in your horse riding and keeping endeavors?

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7 Comments

  1. I started lessons about six months ago after not riding for many years. For the first few lessons my instructor purposely had me ride off balance, to assist me to find the proper balance. I found this very helpful both in my approach to riding and balancing my life. Just another thing I bring home from the barn besides a big smile!

  2. You have totally missed the entire ‘BALANCE’ thing … the most important part of the horse is their hooves .. before anything … you must have a farrier who CAN PUT your horse in BALANCE. Once your horse is in balance (not by riggs & gadgets) but with his hooves .. then all else falls right into place. People don’t realize that a farrier is the only occupation that is NOT governed by the USA .. anyone can go out .. by a truck, a pair of chaps, a pair of nippers, a knife etc. and call themselves a farrier .. Please be smart .. make sure your farrier is certified !!

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