Franklin Balls, or JenJ is Amazing, or the Mother of All Breakthroughs

A long time ago, JenJ told me I should buy some Franklin balls after her GP trainer had her ride with them.



Equestrians have discovered the Franklin® method for themselves. The air or water-filled, plastic balls and rolls were developed for self-message and fascia training, but are also ideal for helping riders to discover new flexibility and suppleness, easing tension and blockages and helping to correct the position. The balls and rolls are positioned under the seat, thighs or arms. 

I finally ordered some the night I got home from my NK lesson, in which she said I am the problem, and rode with them yesterday evening.

By themselves, I don't think I would have gotten a ton out of them.  It was definitely interesting because I could very much tell when I was on one seatbone or another, but they were also very annoying.

But!  An hour before my ride JenJ was talking to me about them, and casually dropped the following bits of wisdom:

- those balls do NOT let you arch your back
- you totally have to engage your core
- but it's not the muscles right under your ribs that you need, it's the ones lower down

Later in the same conversation, she also found a video of the other Welsh Cob's test from last Sunday on YouTube, and unrelated, had the following to say:
- hooo boy she is holding him like whoa with her core
- i wanna ride like she does
- yeah he's really a 1st level horse and needs a lot of strength. his rider pulled that test off, not him

A combination of all of that hit me while I was riding with the Franklin balls and I had probably the biggest breakthrough in a summer of breakthroughs:  I felt the right muscles to engage in my lower core to keep the balls where they needed to be, took the balls out, and it was immediately clear that when I engaged those muscles (and leveled my pelvis) Connor pushed from behind, sought the bit and worked over his back.  When I didn't, not only did he immediately fall apart, but that's when my legs went straight and my seatbones were weighted unevenly.  It was stride for stride: pelvis in the right place = amazing, let the tension out of the muscles of my lower abs (in my head, I was engaging my uterus.  But yeah, that's not actually the case.  But it's definitely not the upper abs) = falls apart.

I think what may be happening with my super long warmup is that it takes me that long to accidentally get in the right place and start using those muscles, I just haven't noticed it before.  It will be very interesting to see if I can get him to start working correctly earlier now that I have a good feel for that.

18 comments:

  1. That is very, very cool! I'm intrigued!

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  2. This is fascinating to me. I hadn't heard of these Franklin balls before. Off to the research rabbit hole!

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    1. I hadn't either! Apparently it's a legit thing to use them in the saddle.

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  3. Glad they worked so well for you! They are annoying after a while, but they really let you get the right feel for a flat back, engaging your core, and sitting evenly. I use them for maybe 5-10 mins at the beginning of the ride to get the feel, then put them away and continue on. They have been super helpful for me!

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    1. Yes, that's exactly how long I used them. I got the feeling then took them out. Honestly if I didn't engage my core, it shoved my lady parts into the front of the saddle and hurt a lot, so that was motivating, lol.

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  4. I like your explanation, but that picture just looks... wildly inappropriate.

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  5. Going to have to do some reading on this....worried about the saddle, are they soft?

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  6. Soft, squishy and smooth, you have nothing to worry about

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  7. Okay, I wanna try. I arch my back like whoa. But I'm currently being tortured by the Equicube, so uh, one fix at a time.

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    1. I've seen that, it looks cool. Yeah one fix at a time, definitely!

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  8. Hmmm these are intriguing!! May have to give them a try. I did also laugh at that photo tho

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  9. They seem.... weird. Haha. I giggled at the photo

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  10. Very cool! Now I want to try this

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  11. I'm intrigued, but that picture looks very uncomfortable.

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  12. My trainer made me ride with those recently too!

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