One thing to always expect when riding is ……...the unexpected.
There is the spooking at nothing, the cheeky buck and No matter how bombproof your horse may be sometimes he may just trip up potentially sending you somersaulting over his head!
So as well as a core of steel it helps to have good reaction times. In team sports such as hockey they will work on this stuff as part of their regular training but I don’t think it’s something as riders we really think about . Yet when things do go wrong how fast we can react and re-balance can make a huge difference as whether you hit the deck or stay on board and keep riding forwards (usually muttering a few choice words….)
Here’s a couple of suggestions for training your reflexes that we use in class and with 1 2 1 clients.
- A reaction ball is an odd shaped bouncy ball, that when you throw on the floor can bounce off in any direction meaning you have to be ready to grab it at any angle-it’s sooooo tough and we have lots of fun playing this as a group in class.
- The humble gym ball essentially teaches you to constantly re adjust your balance just to stay sitting, kneeling whatever. If you have mastered staying still why not try adding throwing and catching a ball, if you do this with a group of friends you can throw to each other whilst shouting out someone else’s name….so you’ve no idea where the Ball is actually heading.
- And a game we played this week I’ve called Musical S!ut drops! If you are in a group with whatever track you fancy on squat as normal then someone stops the music and you drop to a low squat -holding your reins so like a two point seat as fast as you can. If you’re on your own use a track with a repeated word or phrase and each time it says it drop down as fast you can-Try Bring Sally Up…..or set a timer for every 20 secs or so but face away from it so you can’t see it.