October 25, 2002, Newsletter Issue #96: Developing The Rider!

Tip of the Week

In communicating with your body to your horse, the ability to relax is paramount. When your horse is traveling along the track--you expect him/her to travel with a supple loin--is your lower back relaxed and supple--able to adjust your flexion? All Riders are required to keep shoulders and hips in a state of contraction for extended periods of time. Efficient movement of the Rider is dependent upon the Rider`s Ability To Relax, if even for only seconds at a time during any movement. Tension and fatique develop if the active muscle groups of a specific movement, have to fight each other for tension and relaxation; this causes antangonism of the muscle groups involved, which in turn causes fatique. Learning how to activate relaxation techniques can be started by sitting quietly and concentrating on breathing. Once that is adjusted, begin with each of the individual muscle groups--right shoulder, left shoulder, central back through the shoulders, right upper arm, left upper arm, and so on throughout the body. Both Yoga exercises, sufficient rest and proper diet will all influence the Rider`s Ability To Relax the Muscle Groups necessary.

The Balance of the Rider strongly influences the horse`s balance throughout all movements requested the horse by the Rider. If your horse suddenly changes direction (such as spooking and jumping from an object) do you, as the Rider, have the equilibrium necessary to counteract your own weight shifts and stay centered in the twist of the saddle, or even to stay astride? If you encounter balance problems, first see your family doctor for tests or a check up. Exercises that improve the balance of the Rider are gymnastics, aerobics, dancing, jogging, bicycling, skiing, and martial arts.

In all SPORTS, it is required that the Athlete (Rider) must have a harmonious function from the brain, reflexes, into all areas of the body that require utilization. The more complex the movements, the more time this development will take to cultivate. To get out there and RIDE, is the best way to become a good and a coordinated Rider, sorry to have to use a cliche. To help develop the muscle tone and strength and balance however, swimming, biking and exercising or dance classes will only assist in your physical development, never will these extra exercises hinder your Riding Development.

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