Updated: Oct 9, 2020
Tactile, isometric and dynamic exercises help build coordination, muscle movement patterns and body awareness in our brain.
How to do:
1. From barrel horse, think draft horse
2. Touch the opposite elbow and knees
3. Feel the core supporting and holding
4. Feel hands/knees in active support
1. Rock back on knees and feet
2. Hunch the shoulders in the neck
3. Sink into hands and lock elbows
4. Shallow effort on connection
This is the pose we will flex and make a connection into, from the barrel horse pose . Cross coordinating the body by touching opposite limbs in opposite directions is great for the brain! It isn't natural for us to balance on all fours, or opposite fours, so building the connection also helps build strength and balance. Since we've built up to this pose, foundationally we should be able to practice 'trotting' with a very strong base to support us. The only way to start building muscle memory is through movement chains that are correlated with proprioception and coordination.
Ride and Apply:
While we don’t actually do this because we are the ones riding the horse, we do however have very similar movement chains in our riding techniques. When we ask for a particular lead, usually we ask with a leading hand, and opposite foot. When we ask for that lead to change, we also change to opposite hand and opposite heel/calf. This is challenging for us in general, as we are most used to working laterally. It is even more difficult when we are moving at speed. The more often and more creative we can get with the way we cross coordinate tasks in our body, will lend us a great deal of efficiency. The less time we need to process a task because we are fumbling around, is more time saved on the pattern!
To our observation, it seems like it's effortless for horses to bound around at a trot. They are quadrupeds made to function this way. However, I don't think that the maneuvers we ask for are always the most easy or natural for them to do. Practicing this give us some understanding about truly how much coordination and overcoming frustration a horse must possess in his athletic feats. Try to do the trot pose with weights, kinesiology tape or even a soft scrunchie
around your wrists and feet, because it will build a lot of baseline skills that will translate in more athletic riding.