4/30/2010

How to Teach Your Horse to Spook

I don't want to talk about teaching your horse to spook in place, at that, I am not an expert. Rather, I want to discuss the behaviors you should engage in as a rider to ensure your horse jumps, snorts and acts squirrley at every opportunity.

I recently did many of these things to turn my ho-hum Morgan who had never spooked into a spooking machine after her first bobble. I am sure if you engage in these activities, I can guarentee you that your horse will spook.

1. Worry. Worry that everything might spook your horse.

2. Have zero confidence in your horse. The less confidence you have (and have in your horse) the more likely she is to spook.

3. Hold your breath. When we are relaxed we breathe normally, sometimes we even sing a song or laugh. Holding your breath is an awesome sign of tension and your horse will react to it.

4. Over react. Did it scare you? Make sure you let your horse know! You are, after all, a predator, so if you are scared-your horse will be do.

5. Go fetal. We curl up when we are afraid. Sitting up straight, with a deep seat is a sign of confidence, so make sure to fall forward on your horse, it might even help you come off if he is super scared.

If you decide that you don't want your horse to spook, then just relax, be confident, breath and sit back. There are many other things to help, but this is a good place to start.

4/23/2010

How to Fit a Saddle: For Women!

I actually don't know that much about saddle fitting and what a shame. There is so much around biomechanics of both horses and humans that a well fit saddle can save hundreds of hours in resistance, injury and training, not to mention lots of saved money from vet bills, chiropracters, multiple saddle purchases and most of all-saved aggrivation.

I have been looking for a dressage saddle for several months and sitting in every one I could try for over a year. Today, I sat in one that was comfortable. It was the first time I ever sat in a saddle and went 'YES!'. It was like the first time I put on a pair of Dansko clogs, I just felt it was made for me.

Well, this saddle, a Schlesse, wasn't made for me, but it was made for women. After researching them tonight, I found they have published an excellent series on YouTube for the 9 points of saddle fitting. It is well worth 30 minutes of your time. If you have another 10 minutes watch the saddle fitting for women videos. In fact, if you are a woman, watch those first. They are ENLIGHTENING, I think I just came out of the saddle dark ages.

And don't freak out when you see the prices. Yes, they are expensive, but you can find used ones (that is what I am trying). And really, if it is the last saddle you ever buy-it might be worth the investment.

To find them on youtube, click here.