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  • Writer's pictureKristie Cotton

Understanding horses mind and body -Part two

It’s important for your horse to be comfortable in his work. If you are not sure if your saddle fits, ask a professional for help. Always begin by setting saddle on horse without a pad. The pommel should not be touching the wither. Place your hand on inside of bars,, if it feels super tight, it is hampering movement of horses shoulder.. You don’t want the bars ( or gullet ) too loose and wobbly either. Now test the saddle with pad and tightened up, standing in your stirrups, place your fingers between the saddle and wither, when you lean forward, there should be no pinching, that is what your horse would feel, check for pinching in the bar area too. Bit fitting is extremely important, as well. A bit that is too narrow for your horses mouth will pinch the corners. One that is too big will move side to side and cause soreness. If a horse has been ridden with poor fitting tack, just changing does not always solve the problem. Horses can become deeply traumatized by pain. Developing  incorrect muscle comes from compensating for poor fitting saddles, uneducated riders, and false training practices ( misconceptions ).  Pain leads to survival instincts.  Horses will shut off their brain, becoming ” numb” to their surroundings, submitting to pain, just to tolerate and survive. What an impressive defense mechanism, allowing them to evolve, but also, unfortunately allowing them a tolerant nature to training misconceptions. This will cause heavy duty emotional baggage that takes knowledge, time, and creativity to fix. You will need to develop and coordinate correct back muscles with sophisticated gymnastic exercises, re educating the abnormal muscle memory.  Treat the problem at the level of athletic development, fixing the root cause, not just

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focusing on the sole problem. As long as physical pain is still present, no psychology training will work. Fix the muscular pain, then the memory.

____” A gifted horse will lead a good rider to victory, A great rider will give to the horse the gift of soundness” Jean Luc Cornille

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