TEACHING YOUR HORSE VERTICAL BALANCE DR KARIN LEIBBRANDT
The principles of teaching a horse to find his vertical balance are very simple, but every horse is different and every horse needs a slightly different approach.
Most horses (and riders) are not aware that they actually are out of balance. The horse likes his naturally crooked posture, he has been using it since he was a foal. And he doesn’t have to worry about it as long as he doesn’t need to carry a rider and as long as his body is not too tall, long legged, elegant and hypermobile.
Pictures 1, 2 and 3 below: training under the saddle and in hand.
FINDING VERTICAL BALANCE
The first step is to teach the horse that it is possible to shift weight from the left to the right front leg. Somewhere in between, there is the vertical balance. Horses like this point because they can relax their back when they’ve found it. When the back is straight they want to go into FDO posture and this gives a horse a comfortable feeling. A horse in balance has a nice rhythm, doesn’t waste energy for compensations, and uses the elastic energy in his tendons well – therefore he will have more stamina and experiences no tightness in his muscles
At first, a horse will be sceptical about the vertical balance since this is out of his comfort zone. But after experiencing the comfort it brings, he will be very willing to find and stay in balance. Even after a while horses will start searching for it themselves.
To find out more about compassionate training techniques and all the biomechanics behind a balanced horse, please visit www.equitopia.com for a video course and book on this subject. This will provide you with all the details you need to change your horse’s life and let him experience comfort and confidence during the training. In the past 17 years that I’ve been training horses and riders, I could always tell when a combination had found its balance – the snorting of the horse, the effortlessly moving horse and the smile on the face of the rider!