Proprioception – How can this improve my riding?

Proprioception – How can this improve my riding?

To answer this question appropriately we first need to determine what is proprioception in reference to how our bodies function.

Proprioception is the sense that allows us to know what position our body parts are in without looking at them, it is often referred to as our hidden sixth sense. Normal functioning of the proprioceptive system results in smooth, effortless and coordinated movements.

Adapting your position automatically through the horses gait and high level movements is the foundation of proprioception.

Why is it important to horse riders?

Elite riders share an acute level of proprioception, however it’s their awareness of the horses body position that really sets them apart from novice riders. Often referred to as ‘feel’, we refer to it as secondary proprioception.

These riders have an enhanced ability to know exactly how the horse is positioned within a postural space and can communicate via the most subtle movements of their own body to move the horse into different positions, training the horses proprioceptors to react accordingly.

Common questions trainers ask on a rudimentary level that riders learn to answer via training of the proprioceptors are:-

  • Is your horse on the right lead in canter?
  • Are you on the correct diagonal in trot?
  • Is your horse straight 

When a rider can answer these questions without looking they have adequately trained their sensory proprioceptors aligned with that particular moment or movement.

When a rider suffers from poor posture and uncoordinated movements of joints and muscle position they suffer from a loss of proprioception and a failing of the sensory perceptions to correct it. To successfully reverse improper postural habits the concept of re-conditioning an individual’s sensory proprioception is key to improving the overall position.

 A foundation of a Chiropractors work is to reactivate (switch on) a persons joints and muscle proprioceptors where they need it, in a highly specific and refined dosage. This allows a persons movements to be more coordinated and sensitive reducing the likelihood of injury.

Another successful approach to improve proprioception is to adopt the use of a postural support. When worn in intervals a postural training device can help achieve results faster. It is important to note that postural supports should not be used as a passive approach and require an active postural training system to ensure measurable success.

The TEMPI ACTIVE® Posture Program addresses the muscle imbalance that occurs from long-term improper posture, when completed regularly in combination with wearing the Posture Brace better postural function can be achieved.

Re-conditioning the postural system can lead to muscle fatigue, ensure you don’t wear any device for too long, wearing it for prescribed intervals will help develop better habits than wearing it for too long. TEMPI ACTIVE® has developed a comprehensive User Guide in collaboration with health professionals, follow these for optimum results.

Author Dr Rebecca Rose, B. Chiro Sc. M Chiroprac
Dr Rose has been working in her family-owned Chiropractic and Physiotherapy clinic in Collinswood, South Australia for close to two decades. She is a sought after health provider by athletes from a variety of sports.
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