I was giving a lesson to a student the other day and we happened upon the topic of balance as it pertains to the horse rather than the rider. I must mention at this time that my student is a very balanced rider, yet her horse is lacking the balance that she needs to do well in the performance aspect of her training.
The question that she asked was simple enough, how do we get the horse to be more balanced?
The student that I am referring to does show hunters and jumpers,( I know, JR, you are a cow horse trainer), but the basics are the same.
The answer is really a two part answer.........
1) Balance is achieved fairly early in training, and that training starts as soon as we start to ask the horse to turn on his hind end and turn on the forehand. Remember when we ask the horse to turn on the hind end, or pivot, or ask the horse to turn on the fore hand, the horse is not balanced. We are only asking the horse to move one end of his body. Balance comes when we ask the horse to move laterally, such as side passing or two tracking. At that point in the horses training, both ends are moving in sync. That is when we end up with a balanced horse that can use his hind end and front end equally.
It is important that we do not allow the horse to be heavy on the fore hand, which will occur if we spend to much time turning the horse on the fore hand. The same goes for the hind end, we do not want the horse to become too light in the front end, because we are turning the horse on the hind end too much. Remember.....balance!
2) Balance is also visual as well as physical. While we do not want the horse to side pass or move laterally down the rail, we do want there to be some roundness in his movement. If we allow the horse to just move straight down the rail with out the use of our legs, especially our inside leg, then the horse will just start to become heavy on his front end and 'strung out' behind. However, when we apply light leg pressure with the inside leg and light contact with the inside rein the horse will become rounded giving us a more balanced appearance.
Another visual clue as to whether the horse is truly balanced is, if one end of the horse is more developed than the other. If the front end of the horse is more developed that the hind end, then the horse is heavy on the fore hand etc.
Like I always say, a head does not necessarily mean that the horse is balanced, and if you have a horse that is more balanced physically then you will not have a horse that jigs every where you go.
On a separate note.......Phillies 1...Yankees none! The final score in yesterdays World Series game Phillies 6 Yankees 1. Yeah Phillies!
Update on the Morgan story
6 years ago