Fitness

Olympic Gold Medal Eventer Phillip Dutton shares his thoughts about rider fitness in this video from Kentucky Equine Research.

To further explore some of the issues mature riders face, I invited Sue Leffler, a Canadian Level 4 Centered Riding® Instructor and Balimo™ Clinician who works with predominately adult riders, about 45 percent of whom are over 45, to share some of the ideas she has seen work to help mature riders stay fit to ride.

For this article, I interviewed yoga for riders specialist Louise Sattler of Galloping Yoga. We discussed various concepts and exercises that come from the yoga tradition and align very nicely with sport and conditioning practices for developing flexibility. For a busy rider, the exercises below are accessible and easy to do almost anywhere.

Water and food consumption will have a significant effect on your performance, stamina, and risk of injury. Most of us think about our horses before we think of ourselves, not realizing that our lack of attention to ourselves can seriously affect our horses’ performance. Riders who brought feed, hay, supplements, and water to the show for their equine athletes can often be seen munching hot dogs and drinking cola - if they take time to refuel at all.

Is it mind over matter? Or just do it until your thinking and feelings catch up? How much of your ride depends on your mental frame? How much depends on your physical self-carriage and ability?

A strong core is especially important because riders ride mostly with the torso. Whether you realize it or not, your limbs are completely secondary aids to your seat, weight and torso orientation.

Finding time to exercise can be a challenge at this time of year: farm chores, yard work, summer vacations, competition, you name it, it’s on your plate. Unexpected downtime due to back injury or strain would really put a kink in your summer plans.

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