Can a Poorly Fitting Saddle Cause Lameness?

Can a Poorly Fitting Saddle Cause Lameness?
In short: YES!

The longer answer is that it may take a while for the lameness to arise, but the damage is being done every time the horse is worked with the saddle- and it's worse when the rider is in the saddle.

What happens when a saddle doesn't fit?

The symptoms of a poorly fitting saddle can vary depending on the manner in which the saddle fits poorly.

One of the most common side effects of a poorly fitting saddle is saddle slipping. If the saddle slips forward, backward, or to either side- it doesn't fit.

Another common symptom of an ill-fitting saddle is a poor topline. A saddle that is too narrow will restrict the blood flow to the muscles under the saddle and that will affect the entire top line. There will be over-developed shoulder and butt (semimembranosus/ semitendinosus) muscles and the muscles just behind the withers (thoracic trapezius) and the loin/croup will be atrophied.

Aside from the way the horse looks and the saddle moves, how will this affect the rider?

Having an ill-fitting saddle will cause your horse to be unable to use their body correctly. This will lead to pain- it could be relatively instantaneous pain or developed over time depending on the saddle fit issues.

The horse with an ill-fitting saddle will struggle to pick up leads, will not be able to lift his back, be incapable of lifting the front legs to jump without knocking poles, and in general- struggle with back soreness and lameness,

If the saddle fit problem is coupled with saddle placement issues, the rider will struggle to find balance and bounce harshly on the horses back.

All and all, if the saddle doesn't fit right and isn't in the right place, you will struggle to have good rides with a pain-free horse that is capable of doing even the simplest movements that you ask of them.

Are you concerned your saddle is the problem, but not sure how to find a properly fitting saddle? I have a FREE mini-course in my Facebook Group- Happy Horse, Happy Life- Check it out 🙂

Helmet fit

Helmet fit

I get the feeling that this is not a popular opinion: Helmets should be worn, every time, every ride, and on every horse.

It has nothing to do with how well behaved your horse is or how skilled of a rider you are. I have had horses save my life... and those same horses get into a bad situation that was completely unforeseeable and no fault of their own that has lead to my helmet saving me.

The thing is, if you don't have a proper helmet, specifically for horseback riding that fits well, you might be better off without it (so... that would mean skipping the ride 😞).

If you are new to helmets or new to horses (or both!), this is for you 😉

When shopping for a helmet, make sure your helmet is ASTM and SEI certified. This is how we know that your helmet has been tested for equestrian use. Plus, ASTM/SEI certified helmets are required to compete when helmets are required.

The fit of the helmet is critical... and where most people go wrong. First, if you are buying online, you are going to need to measure your head to get an idea of what size you will need. Also, be prepared to try the helmet on when it arrives and return it if it doesn't pass the shake test (shown in the video above).

When measuring your head, use a flexible measuring tape. Wrap it around your forehead about one inch above your eyebrows. Make sure the tape stays flat and even around your head as best you can. Your measurement in YOu will want to get the measurement in centimeters (that's the hat size 😉). Check out the individual manufacturer’s websites for a size chart.

When you try on a helmet, wear your hair the way you will when you are riding. Helmets are not made to accommodate a ponytail or messy bun. For the helmet to best serve you, you should avoid any hair ties or pins underneath it.

Some helmet styles will have a built in fitting system- something that will dial in the size to ensure that your helmet is snug. I suggest expanding this system to its largest setting and making sure that the chin strap is let out as well. Once you have the helmet on your head, tighten both the chin strap and the fitting system. If the helmet you're trying has extra padding instead of a fitting system, start without the extra pads and add as needed.

The brim of the helmet should be about an inch above your eyebrows and you should feel even pressure around your head. The chin strap should not be loose at all. It should be comfortable, but not drooping down either. Your helmet should be snug enough to remain on your head through the shake test (see the video above). If you find that you are getting a headache, your helmet is too small- adjust the fitting system/ pads, try a size up, or even a different model.

Remember- helmets aren't just for inexperienced riders (Olympians wear them!)- they are there for the unpredictable moments when your horse doesn't necessarily mean harm, but accidents happen.

Want more tips from me and other experienced horse people? Check out the free group Happy Horse, Happy Life.

Essential Oils for Horses: Why and Purity

Essential Oils for Horses:  Why and Purity
We use essential oils in all areas of our life to reduce the number of toxic chemicals we come into contact with and to stay above the wellness line. We use oils to clean, cook, garden, and to keep pests at bay. We also use oils for personal care, and to support the body systems of our family and our pets. Essential oils aid us to prevent many unpleasant health issues. Oils can be used on people and animals with similar results in both, with few exceptions. All oils mentioned here are good for your horse but double-check before using on other animals.  

Essential oils are: 
  • Non-toxic to the horse.
    • Just like the human body, toxicity is a huge problem for our animals. 
  • Easy to use.
    • Essential oils for horses can be used exactly in the same manner as with humans. Horses can inhale the oil directly from the bottle or from your hand. They can be placed directly on the body or placed in their feed. 

  • Extremely beneficial for training and rehabbing horses.

    •  I mostly train young or green horses, or re-train problem horses that have people problems! The emotional component of this training is the most difficult portion and it is what makes me good at my job. The oils  are another tool for the toolbox. I can cut through training issues faster than I ever could before and I can see horses releasing emotional baggage before my eyes. Sometimes it is miraculous! 

  • Good for riders too!

    • Riders are continually dealing with fears, insecurities, and nerves.  These emotions and others affect our horse on a daily basis. The oils can help release many of these emotions, produce a synergistic effect between horse and rider, and ultimately improve our riding! In addition, a healthy rider/ caretaker can take much better care and be more of a participant in the horse/ human relationship.

In the United States, there is no rating system for essential oils. The closest we get is an FDA requirement that states in order to label a bottle of essential oil "pure" or "therapeutic grade," the contents of that bottle must contain at least 5% essential oil! I don't know about you, but I prefer my essential oils to contain 100% essential oil- not some unidentified substance that could be hazardous to myself or my animals.
Before you purchase, check to see if the company grows its own plants, owns its own fields, and controls the  entire process from Seed to Seal- from the farm to the sealed bottle.  Pesticides, pollution, previously farmed land- all of it can affect the quality of an oil. 

How do I use Essential Oils for Horses? 
This is true for both people and horses: there are 3 main ways to get oils into your system:  topically- rub it on the skin;  digest and cook with it; or diffuse and inhale, which can be the most effective method because it doesn’t have to pass through the digestive system.  
How do I know which oils to use for Equine Aromatherapy? 
Using the oils is a bit of a learning curve for sure, but the best thing you can do is research oils for a particular use or choose oils that you would use for yourself.  

Want more information about using more natural methods for you and your horse? I have a great Online Course that covers exactly that! Check it out Here.



I have avoided goal setting for a long time.

Ugh- there I said it. I know it sounds silly. I mean what's the big deal right? And aren't goals a good thing?

Yeah, goals should be a good thing, but when you have it in your head that whenever you set goals, you fail- you don't quite hit that goal- well, goals become horrible things.

Thankfully, I have made a lot of progress over the last month or so. I haven't just set goals. I have set BIG goals. I have also been talking to other people about goal setting and you know what I have found? I am not the only one with an aversion to goals!!

These few people I have talked to (and myself) all expressed the same issue with goals: there is a major fear of failure and also a fear of the embarrassment and shame that comes along with that failure.

Our brains are only able to envision the future based on what has happened in our past. So, if every time you set a goal, you don't quite meet it or you don't make an effort to achieve it, your brain concludes that when you set goals you fail. This is just a natural part of our programming for survival. For example, we need to be able to experience a life-threatening situation once and learn either, how to get through it safely or how to avoid it entirely.

There are a couple of things to consider when considering goal setting. First of all, logically, we know that our past does not determine our futures. Just because you didn't meet one of your goals, doesn't mean that you won't smash the next goal you set! Second, there are benefits to failure. I know it sounds crazy, but really think about it. Not only are you learning ways that don't work to meet the goal you set, but you are also opening yourself up to the possibility of something altogether different. Here are eight examples of inventors that didn't meet the goal they set out to.... they just changed the world with their accidental inventions instead!

If you have the desire to accomplish something (anything!), all you need is the determination to see your project, journey, or process through. It can be so easy to give in, to give up, and to forget. You will never lose that desire no matter how hard you try. Please consider this before you give up completely: What if? What if you are meant to create a life-changing invention? What if you are the only person on the planet to educate on a certain topic? What if your story is the story that changes the life of one desperate person? 5 people? 100 people? What if you push through, smash your goal, and change your own life? And the lives of those you love with it?

Goal setting can be a challenge. Facing the fear of failure is not fun. This is not the path of least resistance. However, this can be the most rewarding path. Don't quit. You are the only person capable of doing whatever desire is on your heart. The world needs you. There is only one you.

Want more? Join the Happy Horse, Happy Life Facebook Group!

What is a Heart Wall?

What is a Heart Wall?
I have struggled to connect with people... even the people that I should just be close to... my siblings, my parents, my children... even my husband.

A huge part of that has also been that I apparently have stuffed down my emotions the majority of my life. This lead to basically operating without emotions... until I was triggered (which wasn't rare 🤦‍♀️).

Rage is an emotion that I know well. I know that my familiarity with rage has not helped my relationships with those closest to me. If I wasn't raging or cluelessly hustling toward my next accomplishment, I was most likely crashed in bed or on the couch feeling worthless and exhausted. It didn't matter how caring and loving my family was being, I couldn't feel the love from them.... and they certainly weren't feeling the love from me.

My chiropractor had some essential oils in her office and I heard her talking about them to another patient one day... so I bought some. I found one that tamed the rage. I learned a lot about hormone disruptors and how many of my household products were contributing to my rage sessions and pitty parties.

I learned that feeling any emotion is OKAY. It seems too obvious, but it needs to be said. It is okay to feel. You are supposed to feel- it's how we connect deeply to others.

However, sometimes even the emotions that we accept can get in our way. Sometimes they can cause (chronic) physical pain, anxiety, or even prevent you from moving forward in certain areas of your life.

When I brought the issues about connecting to people that I was having to my Emotion Code practitioner, she suggested that we work on my Heart-Wall. (Learn more about the Emotion Code here).

When emotions become trapped in our bodies, they are recognized by our subconscious mind as spare material just laying around.

At one point or another, you have probably felt heartache. And you have probably heard of the concept of having a broken heart. Our conscious mind and our subconscious mind both agree that heartache and broken-heartedness are to be avoided at all costs.

As a result, the subconscious mind uses what it has to protect the heart: that spare material- trapped emotions. The trapped emotions are used to build a wall around the heart to keep it safe.

It sounds like a good plan: protect the heart- prevent pain. However, that plan doesn't come without consequences.

The area of our body where the heart is located has been long been referred to as "the seat of the soul" and it is believed that our hearts don't only pump blood through our veins, but it also emits our life force. People also associate the emotion of love coming from the heart.

If we believe that love and our life force come from the heart and we know that trapped, lower-frequency (negative emotions) are forming a wall around the heart, then, we know that for anything to travel to or from the heart it has to pass through the heart wall. That means the love you are sending to your kids is polluted before it reaches them. That means that the organs that depend on your life force to sustain them are receiving a polluted version of your life force.

Have you ever been told to follow your heart? You can't follow a heart that is trapped behind a wall. There are so many ways we benefit from taking down our heart walls. So many parts of my life fell into place by simply scheduling a heart wall session with my practitioner- from the family relationships, I mentioned earlier, to launching new aspects of my business with confidence and success. If this sounds like something you need, you can get more info and schedule here.

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