Balance: Too High in Front
Do you feel you are struggling to get balanced in the saddle and are feeling tipped back? Are you struggling with getting your horse engaged or is it experiencing back issues?
If your saddle is too high off the horse’s withers or too low in the back, this will cause a lot of excess uneven pressure on the horse’s loins. It will not only put you in the wrong position, but it will be very difficult for your horse to engage as it will be unable to come through with its back and step underneath itself into a correctly engaged frame.
Balance: Too Low in Front
Do you feel tipped forward in the saddle? Is your horse resisting?
If your saddle is too low in front, it will pinch the horse’s shoulder – which is very restrictive for your horse! In this situation, your saddle may be too wide in the front or too high in the back. Not only will this cause discomfort for your horse but you will also be forcing yourself to sit in an unnatural position that may affect your riding or strain the discs in your lower back!
Steps to check Saddle Balance:
- Remove your saddle pad and irons. Place your saddle over the withers and slide it right back behind the shoulder blade. On a dressage saddle, the cantle should be a little higher than the pommel.
- Take a small round object (like a pencil) that will roll. Place it on the seat of the saddle and observe. If the saddle is balanced the pencil should rest in the center of the seat. If it rolls too far forward – the pommel is too low (cantle too high). If it rolls too far back, the saddle is too low in the cantle (pommel too high). It will be very difficult in either of these situations for both horse and rider to balance properly!
The horse will be much more comfortable in a well balanced saddle, because the weight of the rider will be distributed over a larger area. The saddle will not be driven into the shoulder or back on the loin. With correct balance the rider will be able to use the 4 curves in her back as natural ‘shock absorbers’, and she will sit balanced on their seat bones. This good posture means she will be able to lean forward and backward without the lower or upper leg swinging back and forth.