We all know riding is a physical challenge. When skeptics tell us the horse is doing all the work, we just smile because we know better. Wouldn’t it be nice to suffer less soreness and be able to ride longer without tiring? Make 2014 the year of your horse and you, by getting in better shape to ride with these simple tips.
- Riding requires strength. Riding and balancing takes more effort than you think, and tired muscles can lead to poor position and a weaker performance. Becoming stronger allows you to hold your position and stay in tune with your horse for your whole ride.
- Healthy doesn’t necessarily mean skinny. Gaining enough energy and strong muscles in your arms, legs and core will help your riding improve more than simply losing weight.
- Concentrate on your core. Your upper back, lower back, glut muscles, hamstrings and hips are the foundation of your ride. Target these areas to improve your posture and power for a stronger ride.
- Don’t skip your cardio. Cardiovascular endurance keeps your heart healthy and your riding strong all day long. Find a cardio activity you enjoy—such as running, biking or swimming—and try to work in at least 20 minutes of cardio into your day.
- Food is fuel. Don’t forget to eat and drink! Both you and your horse need proper nourishment to keep going at your best. Make sure you’re not riding under-fueled.
- Remember to stretch. Stretching before and after workouts ups your elasticity and reduces injuries while helping your posture, keeping your muscles loose and allowing muscle development; stretching is a must for the equestrian athlete.
- Start simple. If you’re a fitness beginner, try starting with an easy routine. Try to do one repetition of a set of exercise and add more as your fitness improves. Aim to work out at least 2–3 days a week.
Get Expert Help
Up your game with Ride Strong, an award-winning series by the Paint Horse Journal. This digital download is chock full of more than 70 exercises—both in and out of the saddle—that target the strength needed for equestrian activities.
A handy digital download, Ride Strong brings a wealth of exercise, stretching, diet and health tips to you via smartphone, tablet or laptop. Download today through the APHA General Store and get ready to start riding stronger!
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