The Importance of Balance and Stability in the Rider.

Most of us, whether horse or human has a dominant / stronger side, but have you considered how important it is to be a balanced rider ??

The importance of balance and stability in the rider.

Whatever your discipline or whether you are just a happy hacker , you can help to improve your performance and make your ride more  comfortable for you and your horse.

1.

Balance is the key to training any horse and rider

2.

If a horse’s balance is good this makes further training easier

3.

The ridden horse has to adjust it’s balance to accommodate the rider

4.

The balanced rider has a combination of strength , flexibility, balance and self awareness.

Balance

Comes from inside out. Our core muscles are critical for achieving balance in the saddle. Pilates is a method that trains the core, it encourages the deep postural muscles to be activated helping to re balance the body and achieve the correct alignment.

Alignment

Riding requires the body to work evenly and symmetrically to enable us to give the correct cues to our horse. If our body can work optimally it will prevent unwanted muscle activity, postural strain plus undue wear and tear. The activities we perform on the yard essentially make us work one side more than the other such as mucking out and sweeping. We need to give our bodies the best opportunity to recover and remain balanced and symmetrical. Postures we assume if working in a desk based job can cause strain and over-activity of certain muscles. This can affect our position in the saddle. Spinal alignment can affect how we absorb the horse’s movement and how are legs and upper body are positioned which will all impact on our aids.

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Self Awareness

This is the key to achieving a better posture and position in the saddle and ultimately improving our riding. It is one of the key principles of pilates which helps to bring the mind and body together offering both physical and mental training.  Having an awareness of our own bodies  allows us to identify areas of increased muscle activity and tension which can be released and correct postural alignment achieved.

Crookedness in the saddle

 Rider alignment creates many frustrations.  Riders often reach a plateau in their ability and learning and will only progress when they address some of these specific issues.

These are some of the common imbalances seen:

  • Collapsing / shifting – through shoulder or into one side of the pelvis – very common.
  • Fixing – often in one shoulder or hip
  • Twisting / rotating – pelvis or upper body
  • Tilting or twisting head
  • Leaning forwards or backwards

Problem areas can be identified in a rider biomechanical assessment and can be targeted by specific exercises but always in relation to the body as a whole.

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Riding requires symmetry, balance, stability and coordination. It is the rider that makes  the horse. The ultimate achievement is to work in harmony with our horse.

Equi -fit classes / clinics can help achieve this . See our website for more details.

Have a good week everyone!

Louise