10 most asked questions to a biomechanics coach
Article written by hms Specialist Biomechanics Coach, Libby Upton.
1. Q As a rider, how would I and my horse benefit from seeing a biomechanics coach?
A. Working with a biomechanics coach can improve your performance, on and off the horse. The coach will help to align your body, to correct imbalance and achieve symmetry in the saddle. This can prevent injury to you and your horse, whilst improving riding posture and optimising your performance.
2. Q Why does my horse move better on one rein then the other?
A. Several intrinsic biomechanics factors such as stiffness, muscle spasm or tightness in the hips could be responsible. Hip dysfunction can present the rider with a leg length discrepancy, resulting in more weight being put through one side. Other possible causes could be neural tension or shoulder and postural issues.
3.Q Why do I ride with one stirrup longer than the other?
A. From working with a number of riders, I have found the most likely cause to be an abnormally rotated pelvis, often due to muscle spasm or tightness in the hips or lower back.
4.Q Why can’t I control my horse with my legs?
A. Riders often struggle to achieve control through their legs. If the pelvis is tight, they often experience stiffness in the lower back or present with neural tension.
5.Q What is the best warm up routine for me to perform before getting on the horse?
A. Riders are renowned for warming their horses up but forgetting about themselves and jumping straight on the horse. This can be damaging not only to the rider, but also to the horse when they mirror their rider’s faulty movement patterns. The best warm up routine would involve releasing tight muscles through a series of corrective techniques prescribed by a biomechanics coach.
6.Q Why can’t I maintain better wrist or elbow position when riding?
A. Neural tension, stiffness in the shoulder muscles or the spine, can all influence the position of your arms and the way you hold the reins whilst riding.
7.Q I find it hard to keep my feet down, why is that?
A. Again, a dysfunctional pelvis, hip tightness or neural tension could be responsible.
8.Q Should I feel my sitting bones?
A. Yes, a good sitting position and the ability to sit on your sitting bones will allow the rider to move and rock with the motion of the horse.
9.Q Is it normal that I have back pain on and off the horse?
A. No, it’s not normal. Several intrinsic factors can be linked to lower and mid back pain. Muscle spasm or tightness in the hips, resulting in a twisted pelvis and possibly a leg length discrepancy, would leave you sitting unevenly in the saddle. This can lead to compensatory movement patterns, abnormal posture or twisting of the spine, which can in turn cause other muscles to tighten and or become stiff, resulting in back pain and discomfort.
10.Q Should I strengthen my core to improve my riding?
A. Yes, but only when you have achieved symmetry in the saddle and your pelvis is functioning correctly. If hip muscles are tight or you have a twisted pelvis, strengthening core muscles could put you at risk of potential discomfort or injury.
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