We signed the kids up for gymnastics recently. I have hopes, false hopes but still, of them someday doing vaulting. The horseback verity. The gymnastics instructor was very confused when I talked about it. She had never heard of any such thing. It doesn’t exist close to us unfortunately.
Oh well. It teaches balance and builds strength. It can;t help but help with riding. Not sure they care about that but, it makes me happy.
Our kids went in on their first lesson and did great. If I do say so myself, parents always think their kids are the best ones 😉
They went in though and were able to climb and hang and swing and walk on the balance beam. None of what was asked was overly challenging to them. They had to work but where not over faced.
I put that credit on the hours they spend out climbing on the hay bales in the stack yard. They can clamber up the sides of the stacks and race down the top row then down again. All that exercise makes them strong and improves balance. Which helps them in gymnastics. Which I hope will help them ride better. Which will continue to make them strong and improve their balance.
Nothing they do stands alone. All activities are interconnected.
How does this tie into riding?
The answer to that is two fold. We can improve our riding by working on other things. Gymnastics is awesome but so is yoga. If nothing else it can help us reach those stirrups. It also works inn other areas though, balance and strength and focus. There are so many activities that can improve our riding. Even something as simple as regular walks.
Our horses too can benefit from exercises other than the ones directly related to the chosen sport. If we are working on trailer loading practicing stepping onto a bridge and leading will help to greatly improve the loading issues. Canter circles are improved by lots of exercises done at the walk far more effectively that continuous canter circles.
So often difficulties in one area are best solved by focusing on something completely different.
With all of that in mind I let my son convince me to try to climb the hay stack with him. I made it up on my second try, with his urging. Then he totally schooled me. He raced across the dips and crevasses leaving me in his dust then down and up again on a new stack as I gasped for breath, following slowly behind.
I’m going to have to keep this up, I want better strength and balance for riding too.