What You Need: English saddle Western saddle Pictures of saddles Toy saddles
This game can really be played with any piece of tack, but saddles are easy to start with. This game teaches riders horsemanship skills and jargon (tacking is an important part of riding and ‘saddle’ is a word used in the equestrian field).
Horseback riding is all about balance. Staying centered and balanced on the horse makes it easier to stay on if a horse spooks, takes a misstep, or does something unexpected. Balanced riders also keep their horses content. Think of a backpack on your back. If it’s sliding to one side, you are constantly shrugging your shoulder to center the bag. The horse feels the same way with an off-center rider.
In therapeutic riding, many riders struggle with balanced, centered riding so how do we work on it in lessons to make our clients better riders and our horses more content?
Hello friends! I skipped last week because I was out in Yellowstone National Park celebrating the Fourth of July in the wilderness. I could have pre-planned a post but I thought everyone should take a little break to celebrate the holiday, especially in the summertime! Is it just me or is this summer absolutely flying by?
Anyway, that’s not what you came here for. On to today’s game suggestion: “Mother May I?”
Tacking rounds out the fifth pillar of riding: groom, tack, ride, untack, groom. Teaching riders to tack gives them the complete picture of riding their horse, helps them learn a new skill, and puts their physical body to work.
Tacking can include actually tacking up a horse or it can be used to teach riders about different types of tack. In therapeutic riding activities, we typically see English and Western saddles, bareback pads, surcingles, and possibly Australian saddles, side saddles, or adaptive equipment.
There are also different types of pads and girths, halters and bridles, and accessories like a martingale. You can adapt the lesson to your individual riders based on how in-depth you want the lesson to be. The beauty of tacking is that it can be taught over a few weeks to cover all the basic tack and also teach parts of the tack.
I typically use tacking to teach riders how to tack up their horse correctly and to learn the parts of tack. Sometimes we clean tack and learn each piece of tack and other times we will tack up the horse. I find tack lessons usually help engage the rider mentally and it is easy to bring them back to the task at hand if they get distracted.
Do you teach tacking in your lessons? What’s something you’ve noticed when your riders learn about tack? Let me know in the comments below!