6 Wobble Board Exercises To Hack Your Riding
Improve your skills off the horse and stop repeating the same mistakes
What if there was a way to make progress on your toughest riding challenges even when you don’t have time to make it to the barn. It might sound like I’m going to try talking you into doing endless yoga but I promise I’m not (unless you’re into that then you’ll want to check out what 30 days of yoga did to my riding). Instead, we are talking about wobble boards (sometimes referred to as balance boards.
Now on to hacking your riding skills...
Exercise #1 - Overall better balance
Imagine how much easier it will be to sit centered over your horse’s spine after you master sitting centered over a little wooden ball.
The first exercise is pretty simple it’s just balancing on the board in a standing position and a sitting position. *Be sure to put your board on a surface that is not slippery a rug or textured concrete work great. When you practice it sitting you can set the board up on top of a firm chair or bale of hay or you can practice while sitting cross-legged with it on the ground.
Exercise #2 Stellar Core Strength
Sick of balancing on the reins for support? Using a wobble board will train you to use your core for balance instead of your hands and feet.
While seated on the board imagine your sitting on the face of a clock, practice tilting the board so that the rim touches down at each of the numbers 1-12. Pay attention to the numbers that are hard to reach and what ones make you lose your balance. Those are the numbers that are going to take the most core strength to dip down to and come back up from. Try not to let yourself use your hands or your feet for stability.
Exercise #3 - More Flexibility In Your Lower Back
Your horse will thank you on the sitting trot the most.
Sit on the board and practice making circles by touching down the rim of the board the whole way around both clockwise and counterclockwise. Pay attention to the areas that the rim loses contact with the ground, work slower on that part of the circle to stretch those muscles out further.
Exercise #4 - Increased Awareness In Your Seat
Yes, you will be able to feel your seat bones better. Who’s up for getting their correct leads and having more graceful down transitions.
Practice sitting on the board and tipping it back and forth slowly with control. Be sure you’re paying attention to how your seat bones feel and what your ribs and shoulders are doing when you tip forward vs backward.
Exercise #5 - Create Flexible Ankles
Heels down – no problem.
While standing on the board practice tipping back so your heels are down. Once you’ve got your balance with this then keep your heels down and go from standing to squatting and back to standing again.
Exercise #6 - Mastering Independent Muscle Movement
No more dropped shoulders and weird stuff happening with your ribs every time you turn a corner.
As you get better at all of the first five exercises you can start adding arm movements such as trying each of them with your arms above your head or straight out to the sides. Pay attention to what happens when you have to focus on more than one thing at a time. The spots that are getting out of wack are likely the same spots you struggle with in the saddle. Slow down the exercise and go for smaller movements that are more correct.
Leave me a note if you would like to see videos of any of these exercises. I’d also love to hear your experience if you get a chance to try out a balance board for yourself.