Horse-Riding Dressage: Equipment in General

If saddles were not extremely important for increasing the rider’s effectiveness and the horse’s comfort, we would still be riding bareback. Horsemen recognized centuries ago, however, that saddles are necessary. The importance of riding in a suitable saddle cannot be emphasized enough. The best rider on the finest horse can lose much of his effectiveness as a master of the art because of a bad saddle.

All equipment should be safe and painless to both horse and rider. Safe and painless equipment depends on its appropriateness and quality. Equipment should be correctly sized, placed, and adjusted. All equipment should be well maintained and looked over often to check its durability and condition.

Beyond suitability and propriety of equipment, rider safety also depends on knowing the horse and dealing with him knowledgeably and lovingly. Rudeness, brutality, and carelessness can become dangerous for the rider. The horse is a placid, phlegmatic, grazing animal. Yet, he has genetically coded instincts for his defense and survival. He uses his defenses instinctively and indiscriminately. Nature provides no time for its creatures to think things over and make decisions based on careful analysis. The kick, the flight, the spin, the strike, the nip, and the bite, all come with the horse and belong in his survival kit. He can mete them all out to his rider without any feeling of malice. The horse cannot change his instincts, which do not include looking after the rider’s needs and welfare. The rider must remain alert, circumspect, cautious, and exercise all precautions to avoid injuries and even death.

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