• Derry Vilcans-Moody

The Franklin Method® (Franklin Balls) -What's it all about?

As a coach, who also rides and has suffered significant back issues, I have made it my passion to ensure that I ride and coach in a way that improves a person's (and their horses) Biomechanics.


What is Biomechanics?

'the study of the mechanical laws relating to the movement or structure of living organisms'

Definition provided by Oxford Languages.


Essentially how your body works and functions, interests with and influences your horse in the context of riding.

As someone who is passionate about the biomechanics of riding, I actively follow and train with Mary Wanless, founder of the rider biomechanics movement and creator of Ride with Your Mind, more on this another day! The The Franklin Method® and Frlinkin Balls work hand in hand. Essentially improve rider awareness and performance for the good of the horse and rider.


What is The Franklin Method®?

The Franklin Method® uses Dynamic Neuro-cognitive Imagery, anatomical embodiment and educational skills to create lasting positive change in your body and mind.


The Franklin Method website (franklinmethod.com) describes DNI as using “progressive movement exercises combined with various methods of imagery” as a way of increasing awareness of “anatomical structures and locations, body biomechanics, as well as spatial and functional relationships between body segments during movement”


Essentially it is the development of the mind body communication, to develop a accurate feedback loop between your body and mind (awareness/ feel) of what your body is doing (Proprioception). Through the process of activating the messengers in your body, called sensory receptors, to ensure this information is prompt and accurate. The balls are used as a tool to assist with transferring what your mind thinks it is feeling, into a realistic picture of what is actually happening. Giving a feeling to situations, actions and activities, to help create better body patterns. It helps get you into a noticing mindset, where you notice difference and change. All part of the training or retraining of the mind/body communication. Great riders notice change and what the difference was that made the change, along with the difference between got it and lost it and their mind body communication loop is primed to notice to change to create more ' got it' moments.


The Franklin Method®


What are Franklin balls?

These are some of the items used in the The Franklin Method® training. They are balls that are filled with air, or water and are used under supervision and guidance of a coach to increase body awareness and awareness of movement. As part of the The Franklin Method® training there are also rollers and bands that may be used.


How can using Franklin Balls help me?

Have you ever had a lesson with a coach where they repeatedly tell you, you are doing something that needs changing, for example collapsing on one side, or one shoulder higher than the other, and no matter what you do you can't feel it is not quite right, furthermore you can't influence or change this one thing they keep highlighting? First of all I would definitely suggest you speak to you coach about the 'why' and 'how' to change this body pattern a little more, as simply being told the same thing on repeat is not going to improve things - it needs to be put across or explained and experinced in away that creates a positive and clear feedback look body to mind. Franklin Balls used carefully for correct amount of time (a few minutes), combined with good coaching, can help heighten and make clear that feedback so its is more relatable and more direct, used with imagery you have a series of linkages that will make recalling and repeating this positive change progressively more autonomous (in teaching talk this is called cognition). Franklin Balls can assist with, improving rider symmetry in the pelvis, seat, arms, legs, assist with upper and lower body positional balancing, improved consistency of hand and arm position to name a few things, this is all without factoring in the un mounted benefits and uses of the balls


As a rider you need to be happy and open to feel change; be open to development, and feeling different, as one of my mentores says, 'do what you always did, get what you always got' , this is referring to the point that in order to progress we need to embrace the new feelings, that will most definitely feel a little odd to start with. Sometimes it is best to introduce the use of Franklin Balls off horse prior to riding with them. They will provide direct feelings to assist in the improvement. Franklin Balls are way more that ball you pop under your seat bones and off you go, a trained Franklin Ball Certified Coach, will be able to work with you on suitable use of the balls as part of your unique learning and riding journey- there is no one size fits all with their use.

I am a Franklin Ball Certified Coach, the use of The Franklin Method® Franklin Balls is just one of the features of my coaching 'tool kit' dont worry they aren't mandatory and as with all coaching sessions an assessment of how best to work with you and your horse will be carried out. To arrange a lesson, with or without the The Franklin Method® balls please do get in touch Why not gather a couple of friends at your yard and arrange a taster session in groups of 2-4. I am also an approved reseller of the Franklin Balls.

Get in touch at https://www.derryvm.co.uk/contact I am more than happy to have a short phone call or video call to explore how we can best worth together. I coach covering south Buckinghamshire, East Berkshire & West London, I also visit the West Midlands regularly. Special out of area sessions can be arranged.


For now.. 'Njoy your horses & riding.

Speak soon.

Derry


Check out https://franklinmethodequestrian.com/ for more information.