We’ve all had our non-horse friends tell us at one time or another that, “the horse does all the work… you just sit there.” Well, wouldn’t that be nice! Unfortunately for equine enthusiasts, we know that it takes more effort than meets the eye to get the job done on horseback. The rider’s body has to work differently than in other sports. Let’s take a look at what kinds of exercises are best for the equestrian athlete to build their unique set of skills.
Yoga is great for gaining strength, and it also helps improve flexibility – which will help improve your riding and also avoid injuries in the saddle. Sign up for a class at your local gym or go to Pinterest for some common yoga exercises to do on your own.
Although it is never anyone’s favorite exercise, cardio helps improve stamina and makes the heart more able to persevere through harder tasks that require more oxygen. This extra endurance will come in handy when you have eight horses to ride in one day. Cardio exercises include running, walking, biking or training on the elliptical or stairmill. Don’t get too crazy, though, we know you work hard in the barn aisle too. Anywhere from 20-30 minutes of cardio three times each week is ideal for the equestrian athlete.
It is no secret that balancing atop a moving horse takes some core strength. Additionally, there is no way controlling a strong, 1,200-pound animal can be done through the upper body alone, which is where using your core and seat becomes vital for balancing your horse while riding. Exercises like crunches, sit-ups, planks and even push-ups are all basic core exercises you can do to maintain a strong middle section. Perform a few sets of these each day to keep your core solid.
Whether you ride English or Western, your legs get a killer workout in the saddle. This is why most people are extremely sore after their first riding lessons. Strengthening the muscles in your legs can help you build up what you need to be strong for your horse. Some exercises to try include squats, lunges or wall sits and are best done a few times a week.
Now that you’ve got some exercises in mind to optimize your riding skills, get started. Start a weekly plan for yourself, your horse, your trainer and your body will thank you in the long run. Don’t forget to check out vitalizeeq.com/blog for more helpful and educational posts.