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Improve your riding in a Murdoch Minute - Wii FitPlusĀ® for riding


By Wendy Murdoch
Copyright© 2012. All rights reserved.
Do you stand on one leg more than the other? Do you always feel off balance on your horse or does he turn better one direction? Is one stirrup leather stretched more than the other? Does your instructor repeatedly tell you to step into one stirrup in order to straighten your saddle? Now there is a way to see how equal your weight is and help you become more symmetrical in a fast and fun way that will dramatically improve your riding.
Next time you ride notice what happens to your balance. Do you find yourself behind the vertical or too far forward? Do you feel like you put more weight on one seat bone? Do you tense your shoulders? Does your horse consistently swerve one way as your approach or leave a jump because you jam one heel forward?
Riders are often unaware of their habitual pattern of standing, sitting and riding. When asked, riders will say they feel like they are in the middle of the horse when it is obvious by looking at them that they are off to one side. They don’t do this on purpose. What happens is that the pattern is so familiar it feels normal! Unfortunatel, the horse senses something completely different, which makes it hard for him to go straight, turn well, or balance while compensating for your unevenness.
I have found the Wii® Console, Balance Board and WiiFitPlus® body test and games in order to solve this dilemma. Wii Fit uses a rectangular board that you stand on, which has sensors to detect where the center of pressure is on the board. Wii Fit has a number of different activities you can do using the Board including Yoga, Strength Training, Aerobics and Balance games.
I find that the Balance games, particularly the tilt board games and body balance tests at the beginning of the program, extremely beneficial to riders. A few minutes on the Wii Fit board and riders not only recognize their habitual stance but also have to improve so that they are more centered.
As you know, I try to keep these tips inexpensive in this case the improvement in your riding is worth the investment. And the cost of the Wii Fit system has been reduced since I bought my system making it more affordable. Besides it is great entertainment for the whole family. You might even have the Wii already and all you need to add is the Balance Board.
The Wii has really made a difference with all of my students who have used it. I have seen dramatic changes in rider awareness of how a student is using her shoulders instead of her pelvis in as little as 5 minutes! One student does the tilt game in jumping position to improve her balance for show jumping. This is a great group activity for Pony Clubs and it is fun.
Once you have gotten used to the basic balance tests try the Ultimate Balance Test. This is hidden but you can find it by going to the Training section. Looks for the Wii Fit board in the background that is jogging or punching the punching bag. Click on the wiggling board. The Ultimate Balance test gives you 60 seconds to hold your balance over your two feet 50:50 for 3 seconds with a 0.1% tolerance! If you can’t get it standing try sitting on the board, then kneeling and finally standing.
Wendy Murdoch resides in Washington, VA. She teaches riders of all levels and disciplines how to improve the horse’s performance by improving their body position. Her book, 50 5-Minute Fixes to Improve Your Riding, based on the Murdoch Minutes, is available at On-line join Wendy’s Facebook group Fans of the Murdoch Method and find more articles and her blog at www:
Photo 1. The rider who has more weight in one stirrup than the other will put unequal pressure on the horse’s back.
Photo 2. Use the WiiFitPlus to improve your riding.
Photo 3. Equal weight distribution will even the weight distribution on the horse’s back and help you stay straight when you ride.

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