Fitness

Pre horse Ride Stretches, Equestrians stretches, horse riding warm-up exercises, Pre horse Ride Pectoral Stretch, Runner's Lunge

By warming up and correcting posture before you get in the saddle, you are much more likely to be able to achieve the ear-shoulder-hip-heel alignment you are looking for and prepare your joints to better absorb the motion of your horse. Here are three stretches I recommend as pre-ride stretches to help a rider work out any tightness from sitting or driving during the day, or from a previous ride.

creating horse Rider Fitness Program, horse rider stamina, horse rider endurance, create off-horse fitness program

The primary goal of a rider fitness program is to build stamina and strength appropriate to the discipline. All riders should have a strong core, good balance, good general flexibility, and a fairly high level of proprioception (awareness of where your body parts are in relation to your body and movement).

Master sitting trot, Sandra Verda-Zanatta, fit to ride, equine Hip Flexor stretch, equine quadriceps Stretch, equine hamstritng stretch, equine abdominal mini crunch, equine hamstring stretch, equine interval training, improving equine flexibility, equine hip roll, equine Spine mobility

Ah, sitting trot – the nemesis of so many riders of all ages, levels, and disciplines! In order to develop a balanced, independent seat that does not hinder the horse, but rather allows him to move with maximum ease and efficiency, the rider needs to have flexibility and suppleness through the legs, hips, and lumbar spine (lower back), stability in the pelvis, and strength in the core. These qualities allow the rider to maintain an upright posture that is firm and supple, not rigid, as riding is dynamic and requires a constant repetitive series of muscle contractions.

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

horse rider fitness for mature riders, Heather Sansom, Elroy Karius,  adult horse rider fitness

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.

horse rider flexibility, horse rider-specific yoga, equestrian flexibility, yoga Louise Sattler, yoga for horse riders

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.

As riders, younger children are best introduced to as wide a variety of equestrian disciplines as possible. There is plenty of time for them to specify as they mature and start to show clear strengths and tendencies. In the meantime, fostering a healthy sportsmanship and leadership attitude, and other qualities such as patience and self-discipline early on, will provide them with psychological tools to excel under pressure later in life.

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