Guest post from Lauren from PonyPomAdventures.
Owning, riding and looking after horses is a tough and time consuming job. You would probably think that you do enough exercise anyway? In some cases this is true.
However, I am always wanting to improve my horses fitness and flexibility.
I feel the fitter and more flexible he is, the easier he will find the things I am asking him to do.
I also always want to progress the things that we are doing, for example gain better dressage scores or jump more clear rounds.
I don’t think that it’s just the horses job to be fit and flexible. I believe that riders should try to be fit and flexible themselves.
I think that the fitter and more flexible I am must make my horses job easier.
If I am able to hold myself better in the saddle, and I bounce around less I find my horse is more able to work underneath me.
I find that although time in the saddle is one of the greatest ways to improve your riding, there are things you can do off the saddle, that can help you gain an advantage with your riding.
For me, my go to fitness exercise is running. I try to run twice a week. I don’t always manage it, but I try to go as much as I can.
I go out with a lovely group of ladies on a Wednesday, and we usually run around 5k. I feel running with a group really motivates me.
Facebook is a great way to find running groups local to you.
I can really feel the benefits of regular running while I’m riding. In particular when I’m doing fast work or jumping, I don’t get out of breath as easily, and I can hold myself together without collapsing in a heap at the end!
Obviously everyone is different. If you are quite unfit you may find that doing a couch to 5k program will really improve your fitness.
If you are fitter to begin with, you may not gain much fitness from doing one of these programs. You may need to start with something more strenuous.
You need to find the right balance of fitness work for you. The last thing you want is to get an injury and be unable to ride!
For flexibility I like to regularly practice yoga. I try to practice yoga around 3 times a week. I do this at home, and follow a you tube video.
If you search ‘yoga for horse riders’ there are tons of videos.
Here’s one of the most popular:
Each video is around 20/30 minutes long. Most of the videos also have options for each of the stretches or poses.
This means that you can do a lower impact option or higher impact, depending on how flexible you are to begin with.
I find regularly practicing yoga helps me no end with my position. After a yoga session I feel like I can really ‘plug in’ my seat, and my legs feel more stable underneath me.
My legs can sometimes flap around, especially when I’m cantering, and I find this is much less after a yoga session. I also find my balance is much better when I regularly practice yoga, and I don’t feel as wobbly.
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