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.
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 🙂
I get the feeling that this is not a popular opinion: Helmets should be worn, every time, every ride, and on every horse.
If you are new to helmets or new to horses (or both!), this is for you 😉
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.
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.
Want more tips from me and other experienced horse people? Check out the free group Happy Horse, Happy Life.
- 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.