Archive for the ‘Horse Riding’ Category

Five Ways to Boost Your Fitness To Be a Better Horse Rider

Posted on: July 20th, 2017 by Liddleworks Indie Media No Comments

Being fit is simply a facet of being a healthy, effective horse rider. When the proper muscles are properly worked, your posture and therefore balance will improve, your stamina will increase, and your overall enjoyment of the sport will be far greater. Equicise is an actual fitness regime in the UK, born out of the simple concept that the more you’re able to develop your technique and fitness level outside of the saddle, the better you’ll be in it.

Here are a few exercises to do at home that can boost your fitness to be a better horse rider!

The Best Place To Start: Your Breath

When you are consciously aware of your breath, the rest seems to fall into place: posture, concentration on the exercise at hand, patience and focus. It all stems from proper breath control. Meditation and yoga are good practices to start working this “muscle”. When riding, it’s easy to slip into short breaths–or not breathing at all–which reduces oxygen flow to the brain and can affect co-ordination, balance and reaction time. Get into the habit of breathing deeply for a few minutes every single day, and incorporate the practice into every warm-up session with your horse.

Build Your Core

Get down to the basics to build your most important muscle, in and out of the saddle: your core. Sit-ups, abdominal crunches and dorsal raises will firm and tone your stomach muscles while simultaneoulsy strengthening your lower back. This will help improve your balance in the saddle, as well as your next goal: stability in the pelvis.

Loosen Your Pelvis

By nature our culture has become more sedentary, which is not in favour of a healthy pelvis. Lack of exercise can weaken the pelvic structure, while a regular program of pelvic tilts and circles can strengthen it. The pelvis is a key way to communicate with your horse while riding, as well as stabilising our core. Keeping balance in your pelvis ensures these functions work smoothly. If the area is blocked, you won’t absorb the horse’s movement as well.

Achieve a Balance For a Better Ride

One of the most sensitive functions that can be easily thrown off is our balance. All it takes is a little distraction to unbalance you, never mind poor muscle health. Therefore, it’s important to exercise this ‘muscle’ in and out of the saddle. Use a balance ball, play catch on the side; anything to stimulate the nervous system and work on sharpening reflexes.

Most Importantly: Move!

Consider cross training outside of regular horse riding. Whether it’s interval training, running, biking, regular yoga and pilates; get moving to increase stamina and get the oxygen flowing. This will help your reaction time in stressful in-saddle situations, and become a better match for your healthy riding buddy: your horse. 

Do you include any specific types of training or training techniques that will boost your fitness to be a better horse rider? Share your tips on our Facebook page!

Five Tips to Improving Your Sitting Trot

Posted on: June 8th, 2017 by Liddleworks Indie Media No Comments

Trotting is one thing, perfecting and improving your sitting trot is quite another. Your horse’s temperament will play a role in how long it takes, so remember to have patience with him, and yourself! Keep in mind: always put safety first and if possible, have an experienced person with you on the ground while you practice. Then, get in that saddle and have fun!

Practice Without Your Horse First

This might sound counterintuitive, but getting in tune with your own body first will help it become second nature when it comes time to get a feel for your horse. Keeping your back flat against a wall and your feet apart the same distance as if you were riding, bend at the knees to adopt your position. Tighten the stomach muscles and curve your back to keep the whole of it against the wall. Which muscles are you using? Those are the ones you’ll need for the sitting trot.

Easy Does It

Keep your horse’s trot rhythm slow to begin. The less bouncy it is, the more secure you’ll become before asking for bigger strides. In order to keep your balance, practice just a few steps of your sitting trot at a time. By building up the amount you do slowly, you’ll maintain better control and form.

Stand in the Stirrups

In order to develop the strong and secure lower leg you’ll need for a sitting trot, practice raising your body out of the saddle for walking, trotting and cantering. This will prevent your lower leg from tensing up and gripping your horse when you’re in a sitting trot.

Ride Without Stirrups

This is best done only if your horse has a sensible demeanour and you’re in an enclosed area. You will absorb your horse’s movements more easily without stirrups, as it opens your hips. Start with a walk and as you feel more secure, add a few steps of sitting trot.

Practice on an Exercise Ball

Improve your coordination and core strength by regularly practicing on an exercise ball. Start by sitting and drawing your belly button towards your spine. Keep your chest open and your shoulders back. Bounce gently at first, gradually increasing the height and speed at which you do so.

Good luck, and keep improving your sitting trot!