BY ALLIE CARLSON
My trainer always says you teach what you have struggled with. When I help others out at shows, I find myself focused on eyes and posture. It’s a concept that has been so ingrained in me in my lifetime that I thought I had it all figured out. So much so that when I heard about the EQright, I jumped at the chance to check it out.
EQright is a small, compact device that clips to the brim of your helmet. It senses when you look down or lean and vibrates to let you know that your position has changed. When you adjust and fix your position, it stops vibrating. Amateur rider, Erin Halkins, developed the device to fill a void in her riding. Like many of us, she is a very capable but busy rider and subsequently does not get to spend each ride under the watchful eyes of a trainer. She wanted some help to catch her mistakes and to help fix habits in between lessons. EQright was her answer.
When I got the device, my competitive spirit didn’t think I would get many reminders. Boy, was I wrong.
At the beginning of each ride, you calibrate it to your desired eye level. The device takes a measurement as you do this, so it can sense when it drops below the measurement and notify you. As you ride, you can also adjust your calibration so that you have a measurement that allows you wiggle room for looking down or reminds you if you are anything other than spot on. It also has two settings for strength of vibration, high or low, as well as three alert time settings of 2, 4 and 6 seconds. These options allow you to customize how the device works based on your individual preferences. I enjoy the challenge of the 2 second reminder, but someone who is newer to riding might prefer the 6 second option to see if they can catch themselves first.
Riding with the EQright has helped my overall body awareness while I ride. I don’t always notice the little changes in my position, so the 2 second reminder is great for me. When I began riding with the device, I was surprised by the frequency at which I dropped my eyes. As I rode around, I began taking mental notes about when it happened and how it impacted my horse.
When I would tip forward, even if I didn’t necessarily feel the movement in my body, Wyatt would fall behind my leg. When the EQright would correct me and I would adjust my position, he would move forward again. Similarly, if I started to anticipate a turn and get crooked, dropping my eye level, Wyatt would get crooked. When the EQright would vibrate to give me a correction, I would straighten my position and Wyatt would get straighter. I have spent most of my life riding greenies or quirky horses. For the most part I think that has been really wonderful for my riding, but I realize that it has also left me with habits that need some work. EQright helped me realize all of this information (and more!) with just a few uses.
I have been so pleasantly surprised to see the difference EQright has made in my riding, and subsequently how my horse is going. I swear he smiles every time it vibrates to tell me I am looking down. I am excited to share this tool with my barn friends, and even incorporate it into lessons that I teach. The concept of eyes up is simple in theory, but can be challenging in practice. EQright is here to help riders keep their eyes up and enjoy the ride.