Being fit is simply a facet of being a healthy, effective horse rider. When the proper muscles are properly worked, your posture and therefore balance will improve, your stamina will increase, and your overall enjoyment of the sport will be far greater. Equicise is an actual fitness regime in the UK, born out of the simple concept that the more you’re able to develop your technique and fitness level outside of the saddle, the better you’ll be in it.
Here are a few exercises to do at home that can boost your fitness to be a better horse rider!
The Best Place To Start: Your Breath
When you are consciously aware of your breath, the rest seems to fall into place: posture, concentration on the exercise at hand, patience and focus. It all stems from proper breath control. Meditation and yoga are good practices to start working this “muscle”. When riding, it’s easy to slip into short breaths–or not breathing at all–which reduces oxygen flow to the brain and can affect co-ordination, balance and reaction time. Get into the habit of breathing deeply for a few minutes every single day, and incorporate the practice into every warm-up session with your horse.
Build Your Core
Get down to the basics to build your most important muscle, in and out of the saddle: your core. Sit-ups, abdominal crunches and dorsal raises will firm and tone your stomach muscles while simultaneoulsy strengthening your lower back. This will help improve your balance in the saddle, as well as your next goal: stability in the pelvis.
Loosen Your Pelvis
By nature our culture has become more sedentary, which is not in favour of a healthy pelvis. Lack of exercise can weaken the pelvic structure, while a regular program of pelvic tilts and circles can strengthen it. The pelvis is a key way to communicate with your horse while riding, as well as stabilising our core. Keeping balance in your pelvis ensures these functions work smoothly. If the area is blocked, you won’t absorb the horse’s movement as well.
Achieve a Balance For a Better Ride
One of the most sensitive functions that can be easily thrown off is our balance. All it takes is a little distraction to unbalance you, never mind poor muscle health. Therefore, it’s important to exercise this ‘muscle’ in and out of the saddle. Use a balance ball, play catch on the side; anything to stimulate the nervous system and work on sharpening reflexes.
Most Importantly: Move!
Consider cross training outside of regular horse riding. Whether it’s interval training, running, biking, regular yoga and pilates; get moving to increase stamina and get the oxygen flowing. This will help your reaction time in stressful in-saddle situations, and become a better match for your healthy riding buddy: your horse.
Do you include any specific types of training or training techniques that will boost your fitness to be a better horse rider? Share your tips on our Facebook page!