As the first presenter in the Balanced Equestrian Series, I covered the main points of saddle fit for horse and rider. My aim was to help our attendees better understand both my perspective as a fitter and to recognize when to reach out for professional help. After my session, a number of riders asked more specific questions about their horses. I appreciated the engagement and questions I got from our audience and found it refreshing to see a high level of critical thinking from our audience. I’m confident they went home with a better understanding of the importance of a properly fitting saddle.
Next, Nicole delved into the world of acupressure and massage. I was surprised by the wide range of systems, including heat cycles in mares, issues in the thyroid and pituitary glands, and how the digestive tract could be affected by acupressure treatment. As she spoke I kept thinking of other ways the horses in my care could benefit from her expertise! So I made sure to book another appointment with her to come out and work on my horses again.
Cerice engaged the audience from the get-go with active participation exercises like
balloon breathing. We learned how deep breathing in the saddle can greatly affect the horse’s rhythm and relaxation. As a rider who struggles with breathing on a regular basis, (thank you, exercise-induced asthma) I couldn’t wait to get home and try it out myself in the saddle. Through biomechanics, Cerice discussed how a rider should actively support themselves in the saddle instead of just passively sitting down. The rider should engage
their thigh and lower leg to keep positive tension through their body, to support their own weight on the horse’s back. I found that very interesting in regards to position and completely different than anything I’ve heard before. Observing these cues in two different demo riders, it was easy to see how quickly those little changes in position and breathing could make a huge impact on both the horse’s way of going and the rider’s security.
I couldn’t be happier with how our first Balanced Equestrian Series went. The positive response we’ve received has truly been humbling. We have several dates and locations lined up for future clinics in Atlanta, Hendersonville, and Spartanburg. In the spirit of education and balanced horsemanship, we will engage a variety of clinicians to present their expertise to the equestrian community. All in all, there is a bright future ahead for the Balanced Equestrian Series, and I am truly honored to be a part of it.