What causes a horse to be unbalanced?
There are so many things that can cause a horse to be unbalanced, just like humans that are not quite upright.  Just a few of the things that come to mind right off the bat are uneven trims in feet, sore muscles, thrush, and weak abs (this sounds like riders too!).  

Not only do we have to think about left right balance with a horse, but there is also the front to back balance that is an additional challenge that riders don't always think about or understand.  If a horse is heavy on their forehand, they are going to want to speed up, like they do when going down a hill.  Balancing them front to back can really help with maintaining speed as well and helping them to be more balanced left/right.  

What I would like to talk about is us, as riders, and how we affect a horse's balance and some things we can do!  My wonderful structural consultant, Anna Bergenstrahle, at Riderfitness.com said, it is like us, carrying a child around on our shoulders and having them lean all over the place.  That visual made so much sense to me!  Imagine how frustrated you would be if you had to carry that child for a trail ride, or a horse show, for extended periods of time and had to compensate for their leaning all over the place!  You would be exhausted, sore, and probably a little frustrated or even angry.  Our horses show us, what we need to learn if we listen to them.

Work on your balance.  On and off the horse.  My favorite things to work on balance are to stand on each leg, one at a time, with my eyes closed, and move my other leg all around.  With my eyes closed, I have to really focus on the feel of my weight, my body and it helps me to know where I am in relation to gravity.  I started out slow with this.  I heard that most people can only stand on one leg with their eyes closed for 5 - 10 seconds.  Since I have done this exercise since I was a kid, I can do minutes.  I was really shocked that not everyone does this.  Of course, if you are just starting out, keep something close to lean on if you need to catch yourself.

Another favorite is to put on my pants, socks, and shoes, standing on the other leg, as tall as I can.  Bring the knee to the chest and put the clothes/shoes on.  Again, if just starting out, you want to make sure you can catch yourself on something. 

The point is, the better balanced we are, the more effective we are helping our horses and not hindering them!

Here is a link to my Balance video if you would like to check out my goofy antics!  Click Here!

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