Stay in the saddle

I know it, you know it, Clint Eastwood seems to know it (sometimes): riding bareback is “riskier without the saddle to rely on for security”. It’s as simple as that. So why risk it?

Of the different types of horse riding gear, a proper saddle is a fundamental investment that will ensure your horse’s comfort, yes, but also one that will contribute to your safety whilst riding. A saddle that is the incorrect size increases the chance of you slipping and falling off. Once flung, you run the risk of being stomped on too – if the fall itself wasn’t enough! We’re just reinforcing this information because we know how quickly and easily accidents happen.

But apart from buying the right saddle, there are measures one can take when it comes to securing the saddle and remaining safe in the seat. Lend us your ears; we want to protect you.

1.    Check the saddle length

A horse has a specific saddle-support area. The saddle should sit behind the shoulders and must not extend past the last floating ribs. This is uncomfortable and unhealthy for the horse, and may cause it to buck which in turn endangers you as well. It’s best to procure the right equestrian equipment to suit your horse.

2.    Watch your back in the saddle

Once you have mounted your horse, imagine you are holding a ball between your shoulder blades. With your shoulders pushed back, and your upper body erect, you will sit more deeply in the saddle. Practice this position regularly when you ride and in time you’ll find that it becomes a habit. You’ll become a safer and more effective rider.

3.    Stand saddle-strong

When you stand in your stirrups, your weight sinks down into your heels. If you maintain your balance this way, your legs will be beneath your centre of balance, which is ideal. You will get accustomed to standing and just so your legs will stay under you where they belong when riding.

4.    It’s all about balance

Your balance is what keeps you on your horse. Some people even say that one should not grip anywhere when securing a seat but should rather lie softly on the horse’s barrel so that the rider’s pelvis can roll with the horse’s movement. A well-balanced saddle distributes weight over a larger area and the rider can use the horse’s curves in its back as natural shock absorbers.  

“No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle,” according to Winston Churchill. Securing the right saddle and using it properly is an equally valuable use of your time!

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