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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am an over weight rider. I am working on that part of it but I'm sure this is the reason for my balance problem. I'm not horrible at it but do you have some tips on staying in the saddle.

I went riding the other day and my horse got spooked at a tarp they had out for an ACTHA ride coming up and I about made a nasty fall. I had a hard time getting my self up right from the sudden turn and run that I wasn't expecting. If I had fallen I would have fell down a 50 ft hill and into a lake.

I went right back to the barn and told the trainer to start him in his program. He starts today and I am not riding for 3 weeks and then I have to go out on rides with the trainer on his horse while he is on mister

Now I know he will help me a lot and like I said I'm sure weight is an issue but is there anything you guys can suggest. I had a friend say to get some ******. She said those help a lot.( I hate the way they look). But I will do or buy what ever. My horse is being fixed now I need fixing. I'm not confident in my riding at all
 

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If it is a balance issue your having, the best way to find out your center of balance, and others may laugh at this, but it has greatly helped me, and I am no light weight either, is to ride bareback. It works your thigh and calf muscles, you have to sit straight up, because you can "feel" the horse move under you, you can also feel where you need to be or where he may turn.

Good for you for addressing the issue and going to "boot camp" along with your horse, I commend you!
 

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I agree bareback helped me immensely with my balance, stirrupless work also helps. So now when I ride in a saddle whilst using stirrups its pretty easy to sit a spook and anything too sudden. I didn't realise until I tried just how much harder it is to stay on bareback and how much more effort it takes especially if your horse has a bouncy trot. One of mine had a fast swinging stride so it took me awhile to just stay on without thinking when he was walking.
 

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OK, here is my best advice for balance - the good thing is you can start on the ground.

Pick a nice spot of lawn where no one is going to be watching. Close your eyes and keep them closed. Hold both arms straight out at shoulder height and make six inch circles. Now start walking in about a ten foot circle. Keep your eyes closed. You will be amazed at how hard this it is to do.

Once you can do this on the ground, take it to horseback. Have someone lunge a horse who has a steady beat and start at the walk. Eyes closed, arms out, and six inch circles. Move up to a trot when you can. Only move to a canter if the horse you are being lunged on will lunge nicely at a canter.

This will do wonders for your balance. Everytime I deal with a rider who is having balance issues, I put them through this. It has worked every time.

Oh - and gettign to the point you can do it bareback is perfect!!
 

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Balance comes from core muscle strength, and it is a very common problem for over weight riders. It's going to take some hard work, but try pilates excercies..they are great for working the core muscles. You'll be rewarded by seeing how easy it becomes to flow with your horse's movements like you are one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well lucky for me I have a very nicely gaited twh. No canter or lope or anything more then a running walk. He is a very good horse
I was picky when looking for a horse but I know there is no 100% no spook horse. I have been on horses that go on trail rides three times a day everyday and have spooked at the new plastic bag hanging in a tree that wasn't there a few hours before so I know there is only so much training will do for him. He was breed for show but his lazy temperament made him no good for the walking horse world ( lucky for him. Maybe he needs to pass that info on to the other walkers). So he hasn't been trail trained so to speak so that's why I went ahead and put him in training. The place I board him I picked because if the trails Nd events they have I know I can learn a lot he with them. They had buck brannaman last week end and buster McClurey is coming this year as well. I just really don't want to look like I don't belong on a horse around some of these big names. I am just spectating this year with all the clinics and next year I plan on attending. Next week end Leslie Desmond is coming and the is a man coming from georga to attend that might be riding my horse in this clinic. ( free training IMO). But the point is I hate that I am not more confident and hate the fear I have of falling. I spent hours last night googling the subject and got as far as there is a hypnosis cd about this. Just trying to find any and every tip I can because I really want to be ready to get involved and get my money's worth out of this place. I was thinking about palaties any way. You have now given me a reason. Lol
 

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Raise your stirrups as high as they can go and ride that way for a while (in an arena). It's called frog position (picture how jockeys ride). Walk, then trot, then transition up/down, then throw in some cantering, transition down to walk and back up again, change direction, do circles, patterns, etc. Your legs will look great, you will get a hell of a workout, and your balance will improve a LOT.
 

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Raise your stirrups as high as they can go and ride that way for a while (in an arena). It's called frog position (picture how jockeys ride). Walk, then trot, then transition up/down, then throw in some cantering, transition down to walk and back up again, change direction, do circles, patterns, etc. Your legs will look great, you will get a hell of a workout, and your balance will improve a LOT.

LOL OMG that sounds painful!!! I think my legs woudl last about two mintues before they died!! Sigh, but I think I will try this too. I want the legs it is sure to achieve!!!
 

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If you are afraid to go bareback, can you borrow a saddle? I ride a 15.5 in saddle with a rough leather seat (omg forgot what it's called). My trainer sat me in his slick 17 in saddle and lowered the stirrups too low. It was essentially the same thing. I slid all over that seat but if I had to I had stuff to grab.

Also have someone lead the horse and you go no handed. A walk is good. You will be able to focus on balance while someone else has control.
 

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Your horse is beautiful! I love gaited horses! What is helping me with balance is being on a lunge line and trotting no hands & with hands on my head or out to the side. Maybe someday no stirrups....not there yet.
 

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it's hard to sit out a spin (having been set on the ground 5 times by a spin in the last 3 years) but , what usually causes the most porblems is if you are braced in your stirrups, with them sticking out in front of you, you have a hard place from which the rest of your body gets "launched " off of. The locked knee and boot braced into the stirrup makes your whole upper body react to a spin by actaully pivoting off that rigid spot and swinging, like the "crack the whip" effect. Really builds up centrifugal forces and your upper body just falls forward and off the horse.

If you are balancing right over the center of your body, with you legs down below you , you will not be flung out onto the circle of the swing so badly, less centrifugal force and you'll tend to pivot WITH your horse, right around the very center of his body.

So, one thing to work on is NOT bracind your knee, NOT pushing hard into the stirrup, and sitting upstraight, never slouching.
 

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The combo spin/bolt is very hard to sit. That's my most common reason for hitting the dirt!

I would try exercises that relax your pelvis and lower back muscles to get you deeper and more secure in the saddle. These are usually done in a longe lesson, but you can do them on a quiet horse by yourself too.

When nobody's around, drop your stirrups and try these:

1. Bicycle - With alternating legs, draw circles with your knees on the knee roll of the saddle. Not a huge movement, just enough to lift the whole leg up and down a few inches each time. Just picture pedaling a bicycle

2. Raise both thighs straight up so you're sitting on just your seat bones. This one makes sure your pelvis is sitting straight and not tipped forward or back.

3. At the walk, take one leg off the saddle and then the other in time with the horse's steps. This one helps you get in sync with your horse's stride and helps balance and suppleness of your lower back at the same time.

After doing these, take your stirrups back and notice they feel shorter. This is because you have successfully relaxed your back and tension in your legs. You should feel more deeper into the saddle and have a wonderful "aha" moment.

Good luck!
 

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While all these sound great, and are I am sure. The real problem is going to continue to be your weight. And all the balance in the world won't overcome that either.

And speaking from experience here so I do know what I am talking about.

The weight on thighs, calves and rear makes a huge difference in our riding ability and our balance. Not to mention of course what it does to horse.

What are you doing to get weight down? I would work hard on that too, as all the balancing exercises in the world will not help half as much as that will.

Come to think of it? This would be a good thread for the riders who are battling weight issues.

Hang on, let me see where it could go. Be right back.
 
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