Horseback riding can be an enjoyable pastime for many, however, without the right fitness levels, it can be very demanding on your body and the horse’s body.
Getting actively fitter for horse riding can build muscle conditioning, strength, fitness and confidence whilst back on the saddle. Working out can enhance any equestrian discipline because it improves the riders overall fitness and coordination, and results in a seat that is independent of the reins. It will also allow the horse to perform better and without interference.
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced rider, there are ways that you can improve your fitness to help with your overall riding capabilities. Below are some of Petplan’s top fitness tips:
- Yoga is an excellent way to relax and loosen your muscles. It is imperative that your body is relaxed while riding and that you are able to move rhythmically with the horse. This should be regularly done in order to be more comfortable and confident on your horse.
- General stretching of your hamstrings and Achilles are another important exercise for horse riding. This will improve the flexibility in your legs and keep your feet much more comfortable in the stirrups.
- Inner thigh exercises should be done in order to remain stable on the horse’s back and improving comfortability. This can include exercises such as squats, squat jumps and squeezing a ball between your knees.
- If you are having trouble with your posture while riding, this could be due to your lack of strength in your core. By regularly doing abdominal workouts such as planks and crunches you can strengthen your core for a more adjusted posture.
- As a rider, your upper body does most of the work when guiding a horse, therefore it is important to work on your upper body strength. With an increased upper body strength, you will find it much easier to guide your horse around and it will look more elegant and graceful.
Not only is strength and exercising a pivotal role in horse riding, there are still other ways that you can improve yourself that will show when you’re on your horse. Increasing your potassium intake (found in bananas, sweet potatoes etc.) will prevent you from cramping when riding and allow to maintain a better hold without the worry/thought of a cramp.
Keeping hydrated is also another important factor of riding as dehydration can be extremely dangerous when on a horse. You can lose the capacity to think properly and put you and your horse in imminent danger.
You don’t have to be the fittest person on earth, however, a base fitness will not only make riding easier but it will increase your enjoyment of the activity. Being fitter allows you to take better control over the horse and makes it more comfortable for the both of you. Therefore, by helping yourself become a more controlled rider, you are strengthening the bond between you and your horse.