VVRC had an introductory unmounted session with Nicky Clarke who holds the full Franklin Method Equestrian Trainer Diploma which was very kindly organised and hosted by Rita Grittiths.
This one-hour session started with a short introduction, we then experienced how the Franklin Balls work, what proprioception is and how it feels when we increase it. Nicky covered some fundamental points of pelvis positioning, breathing and associated core stability. There was then a demonstration with the saddle horse using a variety of balls, rollers and bands so we got to find out exactly what is involved in a ridden session.
For those of you who are wondering what the Franklin method is, it involves using a variety of balls and rollers to improve proprioception and rider position and balance. “The Franklin Method was created in the early 1990’s by Eric Franklin, a dancer and choreographer from Switzerland. Initially the method helped dancers to reduce injury and improve performance, but now it’s used worldwide to help all types of athletes, including horse riders, to improve their movement and competitive performance.”
Nicky Clarke from Ride with Balls explains the Franklin Method and how it can help riders;
“Perfecting your position in the saddle takes constant effort, being aware of your weak areas and trying to correct them. But constantly analysing yourself can seriously improve your self-belief and confidence.”
Four of us decided we wanted to experience a ridden session so Paula booked the school at CES on a very sunny Sunday and we gave it a go!
Under Nicky’s tuition we used the balls, rollers and bands to improve our position and balance. Our horses didn’t mind at all although it took some adjustments for us to get used to using the equipment, sitting on the rollers made us feel like we were sitting high above the saddle when in actual fact we were sitting less than an inch higher. We all agreed we had benefitted from the session and by the end, we were all sitting better and our horses went better for us as a result of this. Some of us found that the session had really helped improve our ability to do sitting trot and sit to canter too.
Many thanks to Rita for introducing us to this. Some members have also been attending Nicky’s equestrian Pilates classes on a Thursday evening at Knockin village hall. If you are interested in either the Franklin method or equestrian Pilates please contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org