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COORDINATION

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Coordination is a combination of balance, timing, agility, and maneuverability.

Since your nervous system is the last to respond to training, it may take years to fine-tune your neuromuscular skills. That’s one of the reasons why a smooth performance is so greatly admired in top-notch riders – it takes time to develop! Once you have developed riding skills, however, they are much easier to regain. Like riding a bike, you never forget.

Practice is the most valuable way to improve your sense of timing, providing you don’t practice something so many times that it makes you sore or your horse hyper-anticipatory, resentful, or sour. Imagine or anticipate the action just prior to a particular movement in order to get your muscles ready. Use quiet verbal or mental preparatory commands to help develop a sense of timing for the aids. Participation in active companion sports will also increase your coordination and timing.

Be absolutely sure that you are practicing a component correctly because it will become a habit whether it is right or wrong. If you ride incorrectly, you may be faced with a very difficult and time-intensive relearning process. Many riders have lamented, “I rode wrong for twenty years and am now trying to retrain my body to ride correctly.” It is much more difficult to change deeply ingrained old habits than it is to learn correct ones the first time around.

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