Items

Forums
 
The Best Rider Gadgets That Actually Work - Part I
 By Polo the Weirdo   •   30th Aug 2020   •   346 views   •   0 comments
The Best Rider Gadgets That Actually Work

Do you always find yourself riding with toes like a ballerina? Do you stare into your own lap as if the secrets of the universe are stitched into the crotch of your joddies? Do you ride with shoulders that would make the Hunchback of Notre Dame feel at home in your presence? Maybe your hands are working together worse than a couple coming out of a 5 year long divorce, or perhaps you bounce in sitting trot like an ADHD child who just discovered caffeine?

If any of these sound like you, then good news! You’ve come to the right place, because I have found the perfect weapons to help you fight this war against yourself! If these struggles don’t sound the least bit familiar to you, then you’re probably either lying to yourself, or have never set butt in the saddle. Because the honest truth is, as riders, we all struggle! No matter how good you are or how experienced you’ve become, there will always be room for improvement. We will always have that one annoying habit that we just can’t break, or that subtle physical weakness constantly getting in the way of us becoming as good as we dream of being. To say that you can correct these things with hard work, dedication and correct coaching would be great, but the truth is, honestly, sometimes our brains and bodies just need a little more help connecting. So if you’re putting in the work, and your coach is teaching all the right stuff, but you still just can’t break that one annoying habit.

I have a solution!

I have scoured every inch of the internet. I have ridden with some seriously weird stuff. And I have found for you the best rider gadgets that you can use to improve your riding – that actually work!

Franklin Balls

Franklin Balls


What is it?

Franklin balls are small air or water filled plastic balls that come in different carefully designed sizes and shapes. They can be used in or out of the saddle to improve proprioception and muscle awareness. They can also be used to massage stiff muscles to increase flexibility and mobility.

How it works:

The Franklin Method Equestrian Website explains, “The Franklin Method combines anatomical embodiment and imagery to improve awareness, train the mind-body connection, and produce efficient movement”.

Together with a qualified coach trained in the franklin method, you can use Franklin balls to increase your body’s awareness of stiff or ‘stuck’ muscles that may be holding you back in your riding. For example, if you consistently weight one seatbone more than the other, and struggle to ‘find’ your other seatbone in the saddle, a correctly placed franklin ball can help you to become aware of the ‘missing’ seatbone by helping you to feel it. At this point, your coach can use the franklin method to provide you with imagery to help you to replicate this feeling without the ball in future. With the mind-body connection properly established, you’ll have a whole new set of tools at your disposal!

Where can I get it?
You can find out more about Franklin balls and the Franklin Equestrian methodology at https://franklinmethodequestrian.com/. You can also take an online course, find a local Franklin trainer, and watch the provided videos to find out more about how it works. Franklin balls are available for purchase in America for $119.95 at https://www.optp.com/Franklin-Method-Equestrian-Kit.

Resistance Bands

What is it?

Resistance bands are stretchy bands designed for muscle building and strength training. Recently, specific equestrian-focused programs and resistance band products have been designed for use in the saddle, to help improve riders’ strength and fitness, and to assist in aligning them correctly in the saddle.

How it works:

There are lots of different ways you can use resistance bands to help your riding, so I’ll narrow it down to discuss two ways they can be used in the saddle that I’ve found particularly useful.

Postural Sling bands
Postural Sling bands

The Equiformance bands website says, “Resistance band training has been around since the early 20th century and is widely used as part of both fitness and strength training. Sling exercise therapy (SET) training is a newly developed training method, which demonstrates the effects on enhancing deep stabilizing musculature, neuromuscular control and decreasing musculoskeletal complications. Anatomy slings were first described by Vleeming - as muscles, fascia and ligaments all working together to create stability and mobility.”


Postural sling bands are specially designed resistance bands which stretch from a rider’s shoulder to their opposite heel, thus activating the correct muscles associated with keeping the body in correct alignment, and stabilising the body in a correct and effective posture, allowing correct muscle memory to develop. The bands can be used as a pair to find central stability, or used individually to help one-sided riders become more aware of and stronger in their weak sides. If you sometimes find yourself collapsing through your ribs on one side, allowing one shoulder to drop, and find yourself having difficulty getting weight into one of your heels, then this could really help you. As riders – as humans even – most of us are naturally assymetrical, which can cause us to naturally ride ‘crooked’. We’ll usually have one side of the body that is weaker than the other, and since weak muscles are usually also tight muscles, this can cause our weak side to ‘contract’. The tight muscles in our torso can pull the hip upward, shortening the leg and causing the toe to turn out, and pull the shoulder down, allowing our ribs to collapse. Riders will then frequently find their weight shifting into the opposite stirrup / seatbone with that leg feeling longer by comparison, sometimes even pulling the saddle to that side. If this sounds like you, I highly recommend looking into postural slingbands to improve your symmetry! Your horse will definitely thank you for it.

Wrist band
Wrist band


This is a smaller band of around 20-30cm that goes around both of the rider’s wrists, allowing the hands to be positioned together at the appropriate width apart. The band should be held taut to stay in place, without the rider being required to strain against it. They should be able to carry it comfortably with minimal effort. This has a number of useful effects: first, for the band to remain in place the rider’s hands have to move together, and stay the correct width apart at all times. Although hands can still bounce up and down, this drastically reduces fiddling, movement, and ‘hand divorce’ – where each hand seems to want to go off on entirely its own mission! In addition, the width of the band encourages the rider’s elbows to tuck in, and their shoulders to open, with the shoulder blades coming together at the back to hold the contact. This in turn allows the rider to straighten their back to bring their coccyx deeper underneath them, and sit deeper in the saddle. If you have hands with minds of their own, elbows that stick out, shoulders that round, or a bum that likes to poke out behind you as you perch in the saddle, this could work wonders for you!

Where can I get it?
PR Equiformance Posture Slings cost $130 from https://equiformancebands.com/. You can also pick up their Rider Performance Training Kit (including wrist bands) for $49.50.

Pro tip! If you want to try the wrist band on a budget, pop into your nearest sports or fitness store and look for some cheap yoga loops with fairly low resistance.


Keep following this multiple-part series to find out more of my insider tips on the best gadgets to improve your performance!
Horse News More PB Articles About:  Polo Gadgets,
Horse News More In This Category:  General      Horse News More From This Author:  Polo the Weirdo
 Related Horse News
The Good Side of Equestrian Gadgets
16th Aug 2020   |   General   |   Polo the Weirdo
Gadgets often get a poor reputation in the equestrian world due to their misuse on equine athletes often resulting in harmful or abusive conditions. The debate on whether or not gadgets (like side reins, etc.) ought to be used on ...
The Best Rider Gadgets That Actually Work - Part I
30th Aug 2020   |   General   |   Polo the Weirdo
Do you always find yourself riding with toes like a ballerina? Do you stare into your own lap as if the secrets of the universe are stitched into the crotch of your joddies? Do you ride with shoulders that would make the Hunchback ...
The Best Rider Gadgets That Actually Work - Part II
19th Sep 2020   |   General   |   Polo the Weirdo
Welcome to part 2 in our quest of finding the best gadgets and gimmicks that can actually help you to improve your riding! Put your body where it should be, and let your brain figure out how to keep it there. You’ll have that perf ...
  View More PonyBox Related Horse Articles
 More News by Polo the Weirdo
The Best Rider Gadgets That Actually Work - Part II
19th Sep 2020   |   General   |   Polo the Weirdo
Welcome to part 2 in our quest of finding the best gadgets and gimmicks that can actually help you to improve your riding! Put your body where it should be, and let your brain figure out how to keep it there. You’ll have that perf ...
The Good Side of Equestrian Gadgets
16th Aug 2020   |   General   |   Polo the Weirdo
Gadgets often get a poor reputation in the equestrian world due to their misuse on equine athletes often resulting in harmful or abusive conditions. The debate on whether or not gadgets (like side reins, etc.) ought to be used on ...
400 Horses Killed Each Month Due to COVID Lockdown
17th May 2020   |   General   |   Polo the Weirdo
The elongated shutdown of racing brings with it many great consequences, many of which are already beginning to show as owners, breeders and trainers alike are forced to begin euthanasia of horses they can no longer afford to keep ...
Why Equestrians Relate to Tiger King
23rd Apr 2020   |   General   |   Polo the Weirdo
With the Covid-19 pandemic sweeping the globe, people the world over are doing exactly what one would expect modern man to do in a time of great crisis. They are binge-watching eccentric Netflix documentaries. The specific documen ...
How to Stay Sane During Lockdown - A Guide for Equestrians
11th Apr 2020   |   General   |   Polo the Weirdo
With our current global pandemic, many equestrians the world over are suddenly being forced to face a horseless reality as entire nations enter lockdown. It is a miserable and testing time, but equestrians are tough. We’re gonna m ...
Equestrian In Lockdown
5th Apr 2020   |   General   |   Polo the Weirdo
On the first day of lockdown, most of us sat in our homes. Silent, shellshocked, looking through old pictures of our horses and trying to come to terms with the fact that we had to be without them for 3 whole weeks. Worrying about ...
Dear Baby Horse - Regarding The Gate
29th Mar 2020   |   General   |   Polo the Weirdo
I am a long-time sufferer of your shenanigans, and I am writing to express my concern about recent discussion and the pending decision to implement an exit the arena at any given opportunity policy. I understand that the decision ...
Baby Horse Diaries - Baby Horses Are Like Underwear
10th Nov 2019   |   General   |   Polo the Weirdo
Yesterday, while dressing to go down to the stables and exercise the half-ton creatures that spend their lives trying to kill me, I got my foot stuck in a hole in my underwear that was definitely not supposed to be there. This mad ...
  View All News by Polo the Weirdo
 
©2002 - 2020   PonyBox LLC Create Account Advertise Terms Privacy Contact Us
168 Members Online 269,469 Registered Members 2,802 News Articles 11,929,024 Unique News Article Views 284,987,997 Website Views