By Wiola Grabowska
Photo help: Christine Dunnington Photography
This exercise is a fun one for any rider who tends to balance with their hands, whether they end up pulling on the reins or not. Horses sense tension in the arms and shoulders so even if you don’t pull on the reins for balance but feel like your arms and shoulders try to help you way too much in achieving a good position in the saddle, grab a gym ball and have a go at this 🙂
You will need:
- gym ball
- a few objects easy to throw
- a helper
- a Springer Spaniel is optional
- Your first mission is to kneel on the ball. This alone might take you some time to master well enough to take both hands off the ball and have them free to catch any objects thrown at you!
- Once you can comfortably kneel on the ball with your hands free, arms and shoulders relaxed, your centre of gravity low (feel like your upper body’s weight drops into your pelvis and settles there, then drops into your legs – the feeling of supple and “relaxed” upper body is important) you are ready to start
- Ask your helper to throw something to you, catch it, then throw it back
- Start with simple, slow throws and if you are good at catching those, ask your helper to challenge you with aiming for each side of you instead of only doing centred throws
- To up the game: ask your helper to throw the objects faster, multiply the objects and throw back and forth, catch above your head, to your right, to your left, low below the knees.
- Make up your own challenges and share them with us! 🙂