I think that many times the rider overlooks how important it is to get and stay in good riding shape.
A lot of focus of horse people is getting their horse into good condition. I also think that many people don’t understand that riding properly requires constant physical activity by the rider. When you ride a horse you are not simply a passenger you are trying to become one with the horse. The only way you can do that effectively is for the rider be in good physical condition. Yes that usually requires hitting the gym.
A lot of the time people go to the gym so that they can look or feel better. Training for a specific purpose requires you to breakdown certain physical tasks and then isolate them so that you can strengthen them. That is all training really is, exercises to increase your skill level. Let’s say you are training your horse for dressage. You practice certain tasks with your horse that you need to improve and you also work on tasks to stay proficient. You are no different. The only difference is that in a gym work out your horse is substituted for either a piece of equipment or an exercise.
One common piece of equipment that very popular is a big air filled ball. These air filled are big enough for you sit on them. These balls can help you increase your balance and help you riding posture. You can also do simple movement and stretching exercise that replicate body language while riding your horse. The ball allows you to get feedback and develop muscle fiber memory when you ride your real horse.
Weight training in also helpful. You don’t need to be a body builder but rather you are going for endurance. Small weight amount with high repetitions will help you become stronger for repetitive riding tasks that are done over long periods of time. Examine what you do repetitively while riding and find exercise that compliment that task. Talk with trainers at the gym or even people that go to the gym a lot. Discover exercises that help strengthen your weaknesses.
Don’t overlook the classic exercises. Crunches, push-ups, stretches, jogging, jumping jacks, jump rope and just being in overall good fitness.
Remember if you expect your horse to be in good shape shouldn’t your horse expect you to be in good shape also? Starting a physical fitness program for you will also help you better understand how to better condition your horse. Stay happy and stay healthy.