Whether they’re riding at home, as a leisure activity, or on the day of a high stakes competition, riders face challenges with both their body and mind.
The life of a rider, especially of a professional one, includes a lot of physical activity (heavy lifting, riding several hours a day, falls…), resulting in minor (sometimes major) repetitive injuries. These injuries have a direct impact on the rider’s posture. For instance, if someone has pain in their right ankle, they will transfer part of their bodyweight to their left leg, possibly resulting in a slightly stronger pull on the left rein to maintain balance. This is just an example, but it shows how discomfort or pain can impact a rider’s posture and use of aids.
Touch for Health® addresses the cause of both posture deviations and pain, which are intimately related. After a TFH balance, riders experience more comfort and ease of movement, both on foot and when riding again. Sometimes the pain just disappears !
At any level, riders come to face the apprehension of injuring either themselves or their horse. Horseback riding is risky! However, being afraid may not serve your security… On the contrary, apprehension often results in less control of your body, deteriorating communication with your horse. Horses can feel a fly landing on their back. They are very sensitive animals, and intimately know and feel what the rider is feeling, through his posture, his moves, and even through the subtle changes in his physiology, for instance due to stress.
Like other athletes, riders face another emotional challenge: expectations. Not only their own, but from teammates, family, coaches, sponsors, horse’s owner(s)… Everyone is hoping for success. The course only lasts a few minutes, requiring intense concentration and focus. A lot is weighing on the rider’s shoulders when he enters the arena, and the slightest inaccuracy on his part may compromise a year of work.
Superficial breathing, tension in the shoulders, unresponsive legs… These are very common symptoms of stress. They result in “survival” riding, inaccurate movements based on stress reflexes instead of elaborate, precise, strategic riding.
These challenges are met in every sport… However, horse riding is the only sport where you are actually sitting on a 1200lb motion and stress detector!! It is therefore essential to focus on finding balance in both posture and mind. Touch for Health® is a powerful way to relieve stress, allowing riders to experience more calm, focus and insight, whatever the circumstances !