by Nik P December 12, 2020
All equestrians know that horse riding is a tough workout.
If your body isn’t physically prepared for your time in the saddle, you could be left feeling pretty sore.
It’s important to make sure that you keep up with exercising regularly, not only to prevent injury, but to improve your riding skills, as well.
We put together a list of exercises that will help keep your body and riding skills sharply tuned.
Your core strength is probably one of the most important aspects of your physical health to maintain as an equestrian.
When riding, we use our core for:
- Correct riding posture
- Shock absorption
- Maintaining a strong, fluid seat
Maintaining a strong core allows for better communication with your horse through your seat, which can make the entire experience much more enjoyable and communicative.
Some great core exercises for horse riders include:
- Plank Holds: Lay down flat on your stomach on your exercise mat.
- Lift yourself up on your elbows, holding your hands directly underneath your shoulders.
- Keep your body lifted and as straight and parallel to the ground as possible.
- Stabilized Crunches: Lay on your back with your feet pressed firmly against the wall, keeping your legs bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Lift your body up and forward, making sure to touch your knees before allowing yourself to lower your back down to the mat.
Russian Twists: Position yourself as if you are halfway through a sit-up.
Fold your arms in front of you and twist from one side to another, making sure to fully engage your core muscles as you twist.
Superman: Lay flat on your stomach. Extend your legs and arms straight out and slowly lift them up towards the ceiling until you are achieving almost a “U” shape. This exercise can be tough, but it’s a killer core workout.
Another great way to practice your core strength is to practice your two-point position while in the saddle, maybe while warming up for your ride.
A large part of your communication with your horse is done through cues with your legs. You can work on improving and maintaining your leg strength with the following exercises:
Squats: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and lower yourself to a 90-degree angle with the ground, keeping your back as straight as possible. Raise yourself back up, and repeat.
Wall Sits: Bring yourself into a 90-degree sitting position with your back against the wall. Hold this position as long as possible. You’ll feel the burn with this one!
Cardio workouts can improve your endurance, making those long riding sessions that much easier. Running, jumping rope, swimming, or using an elliptical machine are all excellent options for training your cardio.
Designing an equestrian exercise plan that strengthens and trains multiple different parts of your body is an excellent way to make sure that you can fully enjoy and optimize your time in the saddle.