Balance straps are for beginner riders, aren’t they? WRONG! Balance straps are useful for everyone. A balance strap is a leather strap that fastens to the D ring on the front of saddle; they are well-placed for the rider to grab onto, if needed. They actually help create a safe, secure seat when riding your horse or pony. A balance strap is, in essence, a rider safety aid that's ideal if you're riding young, hot headed / naughty ponies or horses.
A balance strap is great for new riders training on the lunge, or working without stirrups to improve their seat. Just hooking one finger beneath the balance strap enables the rider to pull the seat-bones deeper into the saddle, to restore balance and position. As we have described, balance straps are used by everyone and anyone, from first time riders to Olympic medallists. That’s right! Horse & Hound magazine ran a story about balance straps, saying: ‘The balance strap is useful for a young or sharp horse. The rider can keep a more upright position in the saddle and does not have to lean forward to hold the balance strap, as can be the case with a traditional neckstrap. Ulla Salzgeber not only recommends balance straps to her pupils - she even competed at the Olympics with one’.
“It’s very important that the hand is kept still; this is much nicer for the horse. These straps help the horse and rider feel the benefits of a steady hand,” Ulla reported.
The magazine also reported that trainer Pammy Hutton is a fan, and that Grand Prix rider Anna Ross also used one on her former ride, Liebling. Balance straps are ‘legal’ for dressage and permitted in tests of all levels; in fact, they are a boon for young horse classes, where neckstraps are not permitted.
Equi Craft Ltd’s balance strap is currently just £4.99 - why not grab yourself a bargain - this is a valuable piece of safety kit, that for under £5, won’t break the bank!