Last week you may have seen my clients hopping around and even over poles on a Space Hopper.
Of course this looked like lots of fun and like we were just messing about. It’s actually a tougher cardio workout than you realise!
However there were some serious lessons being learnt here. Most notably in relation to your internal spring.
When an advanced rider asks for more collection, extension, impulsion even a half halt it can be almost invisible to the rest of us. If asked they might say something like they used their seat, maybe their core ……..but your brain still asks “but how?”
Now the answer is via a serious of muscle contractions and relaxations both from your abdominals, your back, your glutes…….yeh I know “how?”
The thing is its quite a big combination of things going on that unless you can actually narrow all those finite movements down it’s not really a learnable thing by directing muscle contractions.
Enter the Space Hopper!
Bouncing on a Space Hopper gives you feedback on your internal spring system. If you bounce from your middle rather than your legs you can feel how much higher you can go with less effort.
You can feel what it takes to absorb the movement of the hopper (or your horse) underneath you whilst remaining balanced and without tension.
You can play around with height (Collection), distance and speed (extension) and then when you’ve got the hang of it try upwards and downwards transitions and half halts. It sounds really silly and kind of wishy washy to say to just think it, try playing around with taking a breath using more or less tension in your middle and glutes. See what a different feel it gives you. Which is exactly why it works! You can play around with it and the space hopper will give you a different feeling.
You can do most of this with a regular gym ball you just might struggle to move forward -it’s not impossible just tricky without the handles!
I’d love to know if you give this a try and see what you can discover about how your body can affect your horse.