Posture App for Horseback Riders: Should You Use One?

Photos by Patti Schofler. Used by permission

Photos by Patti Schofler. Used by permission.

 

In the June issue of USDF Connection magazine, equine biomechanics expert Hilary Clayton reviews an app that some riders are using to find out if they ride with a “neutral pelvis”. Let’s take a closer look.

Importance of neutral pelvis

Clayton says the “curves of the spine help “provide cushioning and to protect the back from injury. The neutral spine and pelvis posture minimizes stress on spinal structures and requires the least amount of energy to maintain”. And I agree!

There’s an app for that

Clayton recommends the Level Belt Lite or Level Belt Pro apps by Perfect Practice, Inc. With Level Belt Lite, riders can assess the forward/backward tilt of their pelvis. With Level Belt Pro, riders can get a reading on side-to-side movement.

The way it works

I-phone users strap their phone into a belt worn across the hips. The app beeps when the angle of the pelvis moves out of a pre-set range. Presumably over time, a rider would become familiar with the motion of their own pelvis and correct it when the angle went too far out of neutral.

Too hard to get a baseline reading?

The app must be set up with a neutral pelvis baseline reading every ride. The app has been tested during a study at The Ohio State University, and deemed accurate when used correctly.

Complicated set up could prevent using it correctly every time.

You have to make sure:

  1. saddle is straight
  2. girth is tight
  3. horse is standing square
  4. horse is on level ground
  5. rider is sitting in center of saddle
  6. rider has neutral pelvis
  7. belt is secure and not flopping around

It’s tricky finding neutral pelvis on your own

As an Alexander Technique instructor who helps riders find and maintain a neutral pelvis, I know from experience that even talented, experienced riders usually have trouble at first detecting whether their pelvis is upright or sinking to one side, especially without feedback from a riding instructor, trainer or Alexander Technique instructor.

They may know they have a tendency to brace, slump or sink, but when they try to correct it, they can exaggerate the problem or throw some other part of their body out of whack.

Conclusion

The technology choices we have available are amazing. Whether you use an app is up to you.

If you decide to use the app, my recommendation would be to use Level Belt Lite or Level Belt Pro only when you have help setting up the baseline reading to ensure accurate results.

You can read the full USDF Connection article here. I’d love to hear what you think. Have you used the app and what was your experience?

Tip

You can help your spine lengthen and find neutral pelvis on your own by practicing a simple activity called Active Rest about 10 minutes a day.

It’s easy, free and requires no equipment, batteries or belts. Active rest helps take the pressure off your spine and helps release stiffness in your body. If you’d like help with pain, posture of stiffness, contact us.

About Emily Clark

Feel free to use this article in your newsletter or on your website or blog. Just make sure to include the bio and link below at the end of the article.

Emily Clark, of TheSuppleRider.com, is an Alexander Technique Certified Instructor who teaches horseback riders of all disciplines to eliminate pain and improve their posture so they can ride as one every ride.

She’s worked with equestrians for over 11 years. She loves working with riders because they’re so passionate about what they do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share Your Comments: