One of the key things in riding is coordination and quick reactions.
The whole inside leg, outside rein, steer, change gait all whilst being on top of an animal with a mind of it’s own and your body’s reaction to all of that; it’s a lot huh!
Your reaction time isn’t just relevant for the oh sh!t moment’s, it’s the whole ride with your body adjusting and adapting to the horse underneath you. A quick reacting rider can prevent a horse falling in or out, they can react to an unbalanced horse and help him out or deal with any change in tempo.
One thing that is super interesting about children that do lots of different sporting activities whilst they are young, is that as adults they find it easier to pick up new sporting activities even if they’ve never done them before. So those kids that did football, hockey, tennis, skied etc. then go to the gym as adults and take up something technical like Olympic lifting and they are more likely to pick it up quicker than someone who only did one sport.
This is because the nervous system is primed to respond to lot’s of different patterns, not just one pattern of movement.
Which tells us that in order to improve our coordination on horse we do not necessarily need to make it riding specific.
So, just have fun with it!
If you want to start adapting to movement underneath you, sitting on a gym ball is a good place to start. You can just sit with feet on the floor then once you’ve got that you can try lifting your feet.
If you want to try improving your coordination, you can start simply with throwing and catching a ball-you could do that on the gym ball if you fancy a bit more of a challenge.
You could try a funky shaped reaction ball, that when you bounce it fires off in a random direction.
You could also do exactly what the kids do. Try a different sport! Kick a Football, try a dance class whatever you like.
In order to be a better Equestrian Athlete you need to be a better all round Athlete.
PS. Keep an eye out for an exciting upcoming partnership with Stephanie Dootson Veterinary Physiotherapy starting out with an Advent Challenge designed to improve both you and your horses performance across 24 days with help and support along the way.