Balance training is one of the most important components to a well-designed rider fitness program. When a rider is not in balance, the body compensates with altered movement patterns-movement patterns less familiar to the body. The “human movement system” makes these adjustments-but these adjustments result in less efficient, less power and less effective movement.
When a muscle is weak (reflected in that lack of balance), the body ‘reroutes’ the movement to a muscle not intended for that movement (sort of like bringing in the second string for all you football fans out there). This ‘back-up muscle’ (called a synergist) will fatigue faster than the muscle intended for the movement. It also lacks the ability to perform as precisely as the muscle intended for the movement.
The result when it comes to riding? Faulty movement patterns while in the saddle (for example an improperly timed or executed aid or cue), decreased performance by the rider leading to decreased performance by the horse, increased risk of injury to both horse and rider, and overall muddled communication between you and horse horse.