Horse Seesaws: Which size fits?
What are the questions that horse people who are concerned with sensible gymnastics through seesaw training ask? Of course, a lot is about how to get the horse to move on the seesaw in such a way that his musculoskeletal system gets the greatest possible benefit from it. But before the beautiful muscles can sprout, the right size of seesaw has to be chosen. In our seesaw shop
we offer the so-called full-body seesaws. We created the name because, on the one hand, the whole horse’s body is trained on it and, on the other hand, there is usually not much more space on such a seesaw than for a whole horse’s body.
In the seesaw shop there is a size finder that is based on the horse’s stature, but I would like to address a few other important factors.
An easily measurable parameter for the right horse rocker is the so-called “wheelbase.” There are square and rectangular types of horses, which come in different lengths for the same stick size.
To determine the wheelbase, I recommend the following procedure: You stop your horse from moving and measure the length from the tip of the front hoof to the ball of the equilateral hind hoof. Then let your horse walk a few steps, stop again and measure again. After five measurements, take the cut and find the length your horse needs for full body rocking.
Now, many equids often lie exactly on the border between two rocker sizes. We offer them in 1000, 1250, 1500 and 2000 millimetres length in the footprint. This is also the reason for the product designations, e.g. T-1500 of the Steigerwald.T horse saddles.
What if your horse has a wheelbase of 160 centimetres? Of course it can also bob nicely on a Steigerwald.T- 1500, if it puts itself together a bit there. But it can only bob in this way, because there is simply not enough room for all the other positions. The particularly beneficial effect of the loose swinging on muscles, fasciae, tendons, ligaments and joints cannot be achieved in this way. The reason for this is that your horse has to build up and maintain a certain tension in order to be able to stay on the reduced and unstable support surface at all. The stretching, relieving component of the “teeter-totter” movement is therefore considerably less.
Of course, the “rocking mountain goat” is a great workout and a real eye-catcher especially for people who find it hard to believe that you can get horses on such training equipment at all. Anyone who has ever sat on a horse’s back and felt the different types of seesaws will confirm that there is a lot of tension in the whole body when it pushes itself together on the little horse seesaw.
That’s why I recommend a larger size when choosing a horse rocker. You can place your horse sometimes more open, sometimes more closed, sometimes slightly sawhorse-like like a rocking horse, sometimes more at the front end, sometimes more at the back end of the seesaw. And then you have a much greater variance in the strain on the muscles.
Then, of course, there is the question of how old your horse is, or whether he has physical problems such as spavin or problems with his spine. In this case it makes sense to make the task easier for such a candidate.
Especially stepping on the seesaw is easier if there is more space. This also applies to horse-human teams that do not have much experience with ground work or clicker training. An experienced trainer can set the horse tricky tasks such as a shire on a two-legged see-saw with fewer mistakes and more success.
If the seesaw is to be used more on a trail and for riding over, the T-2000 is a good choice. Due to the longer overhang, it has a fixed end for stepping on and off. This allows horses that need to balance the rider in addition to their own body to move safely into instability. It is approved for up to 800 kilos in wood and up to 1000 kilos in stainless steel and can also be managed by less experienced teams with a little practice.
After all, gymnastics training should be gymnastics with fun! If the tasks are easy to understand and manage, especially at the beginning, the joy is greater on both sides. In the Steigerwald.T Online Academy you can find great webinars on seesaw training (LINK) and there are now some seesaw trainers who can help with questions.
But back to the size of the seesaw. Horses are known to be herd animals and it is possible that several horses share a rocker. The following applies here: Smaller equids can move any size of see-saw, my two Shetty geldings with their 100 and 105 centimetres of stature and 102 and 98 centimeters wheelbase respectively can move all horse seesaws well up to the T-3000. If you have a pony with a wheelbase of 115 centimetres, for example, it will be able to perform versatile seesaw training on a T-1500 or T-2000. A big advantage of a larger footprint horse rocker is that you can rock up and down together with your horse. There are three variations:
1. you let yourself move and let your horse do all the work.
2. you move your horse. This is wonderful for loosening up his muscles and strengthens your hindquarters 😉
3. you find a common groove of alternating activity and passivity. A wonderful way to move together with your horse!
There is no right and wrong, every seesaw moves differently, every hoof length change in position changes the whole balance structure. For transport, I always recommend using a handcart. This is a good way to move all the seesaws from A to B on your own and is easy on the back.
Whichever seesaw you choose and whichever one you are already using, enjoy the valuable training time you spend together with your horse!