Riding uses a lot of muscles - from head to toe. Whether arms, shoulders, stomach, back or legs - there are muscles everywhere that we need to sit upright and in balance on our horses, to adapt to the movements or to give aids. But riding alone is not enough to make us fit for this. What happens when your muscles are too weak and how you can strengthen your muscles without spending a lot of time is what we are going to tell you today.
Autorin: Karolina Kardel, 360 Grad Pferd
Do you also feel like you are constantly working on improving your riding technique, acquiring more and more knowledge to be able to train your horse even better, but completely lose sight of yourself and your own fitness? Then we can tell you that you are not alone!
Lack of fitness, poor condition and back problems are widespread problems among us riders. And this despite the fact that riding is a sport that challenges our bodies from head to toe.
Riding alone is not enough
Unfortunately, riding alone is not enough to sufficiently strengthen the necessary muscles. We can train our horse as much as we want - if we ourselves lack the necessary muscles, our body cannot meet the high demands of riding.
Let's take our back muscles as an example: If they are weakened, it is difficult for us to sit upright and relaxed. We start to tense up in order to be able to maintain an upright position. It is also possible that the pull of the abdominal and chest muscles is too strong and we sit on the horse with a hunched back. Both lead to the fact that we cannot follow the three-dimensional movements of the horse loosely with our body. We block ourselves and our horse in its movement.
Strong muscles and a trained body also play an important role for balance and equilibrium. Only when we sit loose and balanced on the horse's back and follow the movements can we give fine aids. If we lack balance, we start to pull on the reins (mostly unconsciously and unintentionally). Or we cling with our thighs and thus not only block our pelvis, but also prevent the flowing movement of our horse.
You see: If our muscles are too weak, we disturb our horse. That's why we train not only our horse effectively and sustainably, but also ourselves. Our goal is to become a true Sportsfreund.
Additional training improves rider's seat, coordination and concentration
Additional training improves our seat and helps us to give our aids more finely and precisely. In addition, proper balance training not only enhances our athletic performance, but also our coordination and concentration skills at the same time.
If you work full time or are very busy with family, school or studies, then you, like us, will lack the time for additional sport. After all, a horse already takes up a large part of our free time. But if we don't want to stand still in terms of riding, we have to grit our teeth and take care of our own fitness a bit more.
No one needs to go to the gym or jog in the park for two hours after the stable. A little training several times a week helps immensely to strengthen the muscles and to maintain or restore the balance of the different muscle groups. Many exercises can also be integrated into everyday life. For example, how about taking a walk with your horse instead of hanging up the saddle one day a week? Whether it's a brisk walk or a jog - it's up to you. If that's too boring for you, we recommend trail exercises with your horse in the forest. Cross country walks not only keep you fit, they're also a lot of fun. The same applies to ground work: regularly integrated, it keeps horse and rider fit, improves endurance and coordination. Climbing stairs instead of taking the lift and walking instead of taking the car or bus also brings fitness into everyday life.
However, some effective and particularly simple exercises can also be integrated into everyday life without much effort. For example, when brushing your teeth: Brushing your teeth on one leg promotes balance and coordination. Or you can brush your teeth while standing on the tips of your feet and then putting your foot down again. And keep alternating until your teeth are clean.
But regular push-ups, squats, sit-ups and crunches, as well as simple yoga exercises such as the cat, where you stand in a quadrupedal position and do a cat hump, can also do a lot to strengthen the muscles. By the way, yoga is a great balancing sport for riding, as are Pilates, swimming and dancing. We love yoga with Adriene. So, turn up the music and start dancing!
If you would like to learn more about rider fitness, we can recommend the books of the movement trainer Eckart Meyners , in which he gives a good insight into a rider's movements.
Macht ihr neben dem Reiten noch anderen Sport, um euch fit zu halten oder fehlt euch noch die Motivation? Welchen Tipp habt ihr, um mehr Sport in den Alltag einzubauen, wenn die Zeit für Training fehlt? Erzählt es uns in einem Kommentar!