Help for Child with Balance/ Hyper-flexibility issues and Getting Proper Seat
My 7.5 year old daughter has ridden for two years (spring, summer, fall) with an experienced and fabulous coach. At the present time she is riding a 22 year old QH cross approx. 14 hands with lots of pep!
The coach says that my daughter, Rowan, will get better balance as she gets taller. Rowan struggles to keep her feet in position, but that is another post :lol:
Rowan has extremely mobile hand and shoulder joints~ she is hyper-flexible, meaning the ligaments are very loose. We do therapy at home for strengthening shoulders, core and hands (this impacts her handwriting)... but even with great muscle, she is still very loose in the joints...
The result is that she really struggles with:
a) keeping her hands up (she tends to drop them on the saddle) and
b) staying balanced/ using the reins... in order to get enough strength she compensates by using her core... so if she pulls back on the reins, she does so with her entire body as she doesn't have the ability to hold her shoulders in place... so she pulls the reins into her chest and lays back...
and there goes her seat, her feet and everything else!
It is becoming frustrating for Rowan as she cannot move ahead in other skills because she can't keep her seat.
Does anyone have suggestions? exercises?
We want her to have a solid hunt seat foundation before switching disciplines (she wants to ride Western) but it is feeling endless!
We are doing a part board with the pony and so we have lots of opportunities to drill down on specific skills this season and the coach is open to ideas, too.
I have absolutely no experience with hyper flexibility but I wonder if you could try some sort of support as in shoulder brace and wrist / elbow support?
But you probably already have.
Hope you get some kind of solution as I can imagine how hard it is for the poor kid (and her parents)
I can only make guesses. Hopefully, your daughter is blessed with a therapist who is creative.
What about sport tape at the joints most affected? Or, how about kiniseotape along the spine and abs? If your daughter's therapist(s) roll his/her eyes, there may be a reason that, at this time, your daughter wouldn't benefit from those.
Maybe, at this age, ride for pleasure? I would get a professional's opinion. Someone who is familiar with both your daughter's issues and the requirements of riding.
There may be exercises that would benefit her, then again, maybe not at this stage.
Good thoughts! Thank you!
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I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but.. these are things everyone struggles with at one point or another.
A) keeping her hands up (she tends to drop them on the saddle)
It's called fatigue.. it's kind of a lot of work to hold your hands up the entire time. While it may not seem it, it takes its toll when you first start out.
B) staying balanced/ using the reins... in order to get enough strength she compensates by using her core... so if she pulls back on the reins, she does so with her entire body as she doesn't have the ability to hold her shoulders in place... so she pulls the reins into her chest and lays back...
She's not even using her core then, she's just kind of giving up. She's weak.. she should try to do some exercises when out of saddle to help her. make sure they are okay with her doctor before starting but situps are good, holding tin cans infront of you and swinging them out to the sides (make sure they are not huge tin cans for her as this is HARD)
Until she gets stronger, she'll be leaning on her hands, giving up, etc. It's just fitness.. and it'll get better :)
Don't think about "moving ahead" that's daunting. That's going to make all involved feel like crap. Trust me.
Instead think of it as every ride YOUR daughter is getting better. Just a little bit better.
Make a reasonable goal for each session and try to reach it. Maybe the goal is not to drop her hands one lap around the arena.
Great post! Thank you... knowing things are normal is GREAT :-P
She actually has a lot of muscle through the shoulders due to exercising to compensate (she looks like a little gymnast through the shoulders), so hopefully that become helpful!
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