Yes, I am counting. What am I counting? I'll get to that in a minute..
So, it's only days before Christmas is here. Are you still shopping, wondering what to get your horsey friends? I have the perfect thing.
For endurance riders, we're kind of a funny bunch. We're really into our equipment and many are really into accessories... We spend alot of time in the saddle and we focus alot on pacing, rhythym and timing. We all know that if we are tuned into our horse and our horse is tuned into us, we'll likely both come through 25, 50 or more miles a lot less fatigued. Getting into a rhythm is pretty important.Often times, when I am working in the arena on dressage or other flat work, I find playing music with a good beat helps both the horse and myself find cadence in a canter , or keeps the trot steady but having access to music while your out riding the trail isn’t always convenient, even with the age of personal music devices such as IPods. If you want your horse to be able to hear it, you need to pack along speakers and that just doesn't work. Believe me I have tried. As it turns out , there's another way to bring along some music with you and your steed out on the trail.
Rhythm beads, aka Speed beads. You’ve probably heard of them. Or maybe not.
What are Rhythm beads? Only the coolest thing I think an endurance rider could possibly accessorize their endurance "get up" with, in my humble opinion. !
They are jewelry for your horse but they are more than that. I think it’s a valuable training aid used to help accentuate the rhythm and cadence of your horses gaits. Remember that counting I was doing???
Those of you that are Rhythmically challenged….. listen up! This could be your ticket to not bouncing into your saddle anymore!
These Rhythm beads are worn like a necklace on your horse, just in front of his/her shoulders. They are typically made of glass beads interspersed with small bells. Similar to how a musician uses a metronome, the bells and beads omit a soft jingle as the horses move with each stride. It helps the rides learn to hear the gait, then learn to feel the gaits. Even better, horses seem to get something from them as well and will often learn to follow a tempo.Its not uncommon to see these necklaces worn in the dressage shows where riders and horses score depends stricly on finding rhythym and cadence in every gait at every moment. I have even used them when I do a little jumping to help me count strides between fences. The beads can also serve other functions as well. On the trail, they help alert wildlife that something is approaching. That can be beneficial when you live where I do and occasionally have to deal with bears , wolves and cougars. The last thing I want to do is surprise a mama Griz with a cub. The rhythm beads would let her know something is coming long before I get there, hopefully. (Ofcourse, I could always strap on a few larger bells to my saddle like a lot of riders do here, but to me they are kind of like a dinner bell to a bear since all the hikers in the park wear those big metal bells. Besides, the rhythm beads have a much nicer sound. Ofcourse, the other perk is simply that it kind of looks nice on your horse, you can match it to your color scheme and with most women, we all like to accessorize, right???
You can google rhythm beads and find a number of places that sell them or, if your like me, you can dabble into making your own and get double to pleasure of coming up with your own customized design. What a fun winter project!! And what a great gift idea!