Increasing rider confidence
I used to have good balance, but discovered a couple of months ago that I was rather unstable trying to stand on one leg. I was even unstable standing on two legs with my eyes closed. Balancing is more difficult on my right leg. My right knee was hurt this past summer. I had not noticed how much stiffer and weak my right leg had become compared to my left leg. The poor balance is surely a factor in my lower confidence level for riding my horse.
I have been practicing balancing several times a day. It is easy to find times to put in a bit of practice on balancing, such as waiting in line at a store or standing at the sink brushing my teeth. The goal of the exercises is to improve my overall body proprioception and balance, as well as strength in my legs. Balancing also will increase core body strength.
Gently holding onto a low overhanging branch of a small tree gave me a 3-D dynamic aid with balancing, which was more helpful in improving my balance than just holding onto a chair or touching a wall. I also discovered that lightly touching my foot to something helped with practicing with my eyes closed because the contact gave me proprioceptive clues. I have also been using a balance ball.
In my next blog entries I will share balance exercises that I have found through researching. These are progressively difficult exercises for me. I have used these exercises to improve my balance. About one month into my practice my balance made a jump in improvement, as if my body started to remember how to balance again. The exercises are also improving my right knee stability. In addition to the balancing exercises I am continuing to work on my yoga stretching. There has been improvement in stretch of nearly an inch in my Hero Pose position. My right leg is still tighter than my left leg.
I welcome you to join with me in improving balance. Make sure to have fun while you practice balancing!