Fun With Balls!

Sorry I left you without some reading last week, was a bit under the weather and decided to take a rest.

Now you may remember a few weeks ago I mentioned I was off to the Movement Convention where Lindsay Wilcox-Reid probably the best Equestrian Biomechanics trainer and founder of Equi Pilates was speaking. I was really excited because I’m actually going to study with her in January.

Lindsays’ talk centred on what is known as the “Riders ABC”. Which stands for Alignment, Breating and Core.

So for now we are going to start with A=Alignment.

It has become something of a pet subject for me as I have struggled massively with my hip alignment in the saddle as I have a tilted pelvis. To be honest although day to day I am aware that my right hip is not as balanced as my left it does not affect anything that I do to a huge degree.

However, when I get on a horse it becomes a huge problem. Basically is it is at such a position that when on the left rein my right hip is pushing the horse left-so I’m basically asking for a leg yield but I’m then trying to keep the horse straight inevitably jamming on the right rein and well I don’t think you need further info to imagine this abomination of riding practice that occurs!

Now as well as being a general un pretty sight this is actually damaging for my horse.

Think about this, I am sat uneven every time I get on a horse, to the point that a more forgiving horse may try to compensate by shifting his own body around to accommodate me. So now the horse is moving uneven, and second to that I am wearing the saddle unevenly, so over time the saddle is also un level on the horse back. So again the forgiving horse will shift around to maintain his balance in doing so actually making himself more crooked.

So I’m hoping you have gathered by now that an uneven horse will inevitably create a lame or back sore horse-not good, not fun and not cheap to fix!

So we had better take the better and much cheaper option and fix you! Sorry if that sounds like I’ve just referred to you as cheap! You are an Equestrian and I’m sure have parents/partners etc to attest that you are anything but cheap!

There are actually lots of ways to fix alignment and no one method will work alone. So I’m going to start with a basic (not necessarily easy!) option that will help you to see if/how wonky you are. It is also a good core and balance exercise so worth doing even if you are a level devil.

It involves a gym ball if you have one, they can be bought pretty cheaply off the internet but try to buy a good quality one if you can-less chance of a puncture!

Basically I want you to first sit on the ball with your feet on the floor, feel where your seat bones are, are your feet both flat on the floor with the same bend in the knee?

Ball Sitting 1

Now try taking your hips from side to side, is one side easier than the other?

And then for your “piece de resistance” take your feet off the floor! You will probably see the look of concentration on my face! I have to focus really hard to do this-but I couldn’t do it at all 12 months ago!

If you can’t do this-firstly you probably have mal-aligned hips. But don’t worry, try building up to it holding onto something first.

Now this exercise alone won’t fix a wonky pelvis but it will definitely help, along with helping you become aware of how sitting level should feel, i.e. really weird if you aren’t used to it!

I will upload some other exercises without the ball to help with wonky pelvis (technical term) over the next week or so –keep your eyes peeled!

For now Happy Ball Balancing………………………………………..

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