Listed below are some exercises to help with balance for riding a horse. So many times I see articles on the ground manners of a horse and how important it is to have these in place because it transfers to when you get on their back. I do agree that ground manners are important and that it does transfer to when you are riding them but I also believe that it’s important for riders to work on their skills for improving their balance and rhythm when riding. Below are some exercises to help with balance for riding a horse:
**Walking on a beam that is on the ground. Don’t laugh as this can be challenging for some people. When I feel confident about my balance in walking forward then I start closing my eyes and walk forward.
**Walking backwards – this was something that I found very beneficial when I took a Tai Chi class with James Shaw as it really expands your awareness because we don’t look back to see where we are going. This can help you to develop feel when riding because of the awareness it creates. You can read more about what walking backwards can do for you by going to James Shaw’s blog
**Stand on one leg – at first you may find this hard to do but with practice your balance can improve. You may be only able to lift one foot an inch off of the ground for a few seconds but that is ok just start with what you can do. Soon you will be able to lift the foot all the way to the other knee for several seconds. After your balance improves you can then start closing your eyes to improve the balance even more but again when you do this you may have to start out lifting the foot only an inch from the ground for a few seconds.
**Hula Hoop – I’ve found that by getting people to use a hula hoop they learn to get the rhythm of riding as it teaches you to relax into the movement and when you get relaxed your spine becomes supple.
**Sitting on an exercise ball – the simple act of just sitting on the ball will require your core muscles to activate causing your body to stay upright and balanced. Be sure to check out proper information on using an exercise ball before you start.
**Using your non-dominant hand – I like to have people use their non-dominant hand to help develop both sides of the brain. I am right handed dominant so I try to do the following with my left hand: writing, stirring things, picking things up, pouring a glass of tea, or swinging a rope to hit something on the ground. I also make sure that I do stretching everyday as this is very important and it will keep you supple and help to prevent injuries.
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