Just as gui­tar play­ers and taxi driv­ers form mu­si­cal and spa­tial brains, rid­ers can build eques­trian brains.

EQUUS - - Eq Tack& Gear -

than sighted peo­ple do. That’s be­cause their brains take spare neu­rons from un­used vis­ual cor­tex and con­script them to au­di­tory use. Like­wise, a rider’s goal is to com­mit more brain cells to body parts that are im­por­tant astride a horse. The brain will re­cruit only un­der duress, as a teenager cleans her room only un­der threat of sanc­tion. When we in­sist that our pro­pri­o­cep­tive neu­rons do their job, they’re ea­ger to work.

Head scans of gui­tar play­ers and taxi driv­ers show that train­ing builds brain tis­sue. For in­stance, neu­ral real es­tate com­mit­ted to con­trol­ling the left fin­ger­tips is much larger in peo­ple who play the gui­tar com­pared to those who don’t. Keith Richards’ brain bulges in this area; mine sags. Lon­don taxi driv­ers, who mem­o­rize over 25,000 city streets twist­ing in ev­ery di­rec­tion, have more gray mat­ter than av­er­age in the spa­tial mem­ory zones of their cor­tex. Train­ing---not in­nate tal­ent or in­born anatomy---causes this ef­fect. Just as gui­tar play­ers and taxi driv­ers form mu­si­cal and spa­tial brains, rid­ers can build eques­trian brains.

Be­cause pro­pri­o­cep­tion is im­proved through phys­i­cal move­ment, peo­ple of­ten as­sume that pro­pri­o­cep­tive train­ing is all about strength­en­ing mus­cles and build­ing phys­i­cal bal­ance.

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