It is a very frequently asked question how the Franklin Balls for Equestrians Set is used most sensibly when riding. My own experience as riding instructor has taught me the following:
Mini-Roll (light blue):
For riders having problems sitting upright or following the movement of the horse. Initially, place under the buttocks during walk and for some minutes while starting to sit the trot (very advanced and secure riders also in canter). After removing the roll, the rider should give feedback of how he feels now. As a rule, the rider´s pelvis should be more mobile, the rider more upright with the feeling of sitting deeper in the saddle. Repeating this regularly led to a rapid improvement of seating problems.
Balls (orange or red):
For riders with problems in positioning arms and hands, or in the head / shoulder area. The balls should mobilize the shoulders and are placed as far up in the armpit as possible. Then, let the rider ride like this for about 10 minutes, even if he feels a bit uncomfortable with his arms splayed. Usually arms, shoulders and upper body will be more relaxed than before after removal. For example, raised shoulders, stiff and stretched out arms are improved, rein movements are more gentle.
If riders clamp their thighs or knees, the balls can be placed in different positions under the thighs. Don´t let the rider do this for too long, changing the position of the balls several times and trying out what works best for this particular rider. The balls help to open the knees and massage and loosen the muscles.
Franklin Fascia Roll (dark blue)
Like mini-roll, but heavier and less mobile. For use with advanced riders whose pelvis movements are to be optimized, especially for collecting work. Riders “bounce” less than with the light blue roll, the effect reaching deeper into the muscle structure.
Original Franklin Balls (turquoise with hollows):
Very useful for riders sitting crooked. These balls are placed under the buttocks unilaterally and then the side is changed several times. This targeted unbalancing results in a better mobility and an improved unconscious balance. After removing the balls, the rider will be more aware of his crookedness, since before the brain has stored the incorrect seat as correct and with the balls had to rectify the motion pattern.
It is not sensible to generalize these instructions without reflection, as each rider brings along other preconditions. Therefore, it is important that the instructor observe exactly how the equestrians and their horses react to the use of balls or rolls. The application has to be adapted to the individual needs of rider and horse. Nevertheless, one should not be discouraged if at first students feel unwell with it. They are pushed out of their habitual motion patterns on purpose and this is not easy! In most cases, the result is so convincing that student riders will “play along” and approve the use of Franklin balls and rolls.
“The situation teaches, not the instruction!”
(Quote from the book “Reiten mit Franklin Bällen” by Eckart Meyners)
Author: Christel Helmstetter-Kaikhosrowi (Trainer B / FN Germany)