I saw a study this week using gym balls that showed the ability to move the pelvis on the ball correlates to moving the pelvis on the horse and facilitates better riding. As opposed to the ability to remain static on a ball which did not facilitate better riding.
I use both modalities of movement and static work on gym balls with clients as I am training different things with each.
An important element of good riding is stability. Amongst other things stability can be described as the ability to demonstrate mobility under load.
An unstable pelvis often appears stiff or tight on a horse as the horse is now the load. As mentioned stability allows the mobility so we both to move with our horse well.
Back to moving the pelvis on those gym balls though. Just being able to move the seat bones independently, or slide forward, back and side to side is much trickier than might first appear. If you try this you might notice one side is easier than the other, perhaps you can’t move symmetrically left to right or even stay balanced with your feet on the floor when you move one hip.
If you’re struggling on the floor on a ball, what do you think happens when you give an aid with your seat on your horse? You may not notice the instability as acutely on your horse as on your gym ball -as in you may not fall off the side! However you may be unbalancing your horse as he compensates for you and your aid will be unclear or indeed lost as your pelvis moves to re-establish stability.
I recommend a gym ball as a simple yet very effective way for riders to improve their performance. So dig yours out and get it pumped up!
Start with these simple exercises.
- Slide the ball forward and back.
- Slide it from side to side.
What happens to your hip bones?
What about the rest of body?
Did you manage to stay on the ball…….
Now try this.
- Push the button. Imagine there are buttons just in front of your knees and slide your knees individually forward to push the button.
Again, what happens to your hip bones? Do they move symmetrically? How’s your balance and control?
Let me know if you try these out and what you find!