18 March 2016
When it comes to horseback riding there is no substitute for “time in the saddle”. But this is not always practical; bad weather, work, family commitments and a whole lot of other thing often interrupt saddle time. A little pre-trip physical preparation will go a long way towards making your riding a wonderful experience. As we all quickly learn, riding uses muscles we didn’t know we had and it is best to find those muscles before the ride begins. It is much harder to admire the views and enjoy the riding with sore muscles or a chafed behind. Of course, the best way to get ready is to spend some hours in the saddle but if that isn’t possible there are some exercises that can help.
Good overall fitness, strength and endurance are helpful because riding taxes many parts of the body. Sure, the horse is burning most of the calories, but all your muscles are working to hold your position on a moving horse and the faster you go the more they work. After five or six hours in the saddle you will have had a good workout. Your legs, your back, your core and your arms all come in play.
Here are some exercises that you can do “on the ground” and with your horse or pony that will help improve your riding.
Horseback riding requires a certain amount of base fitness – it’s a form of cardio exercise. Any type of basic cardio exercise will help improve your riding: running, walking, cycling, rowing etc. If you’re unable to ride your horse or pony consider a cardio session in the gym or a good road run or cycle as an alternative.
Pilates is an excellent way to build up core strength and balance. Good core strength and balance are essential aspects of good riding. Pilates will also help improve your posture, so you’ll sit up straighter on your horse or pony.
Many horseback riders have the problem of lifting their heels. This affects your balance and causes your feet to slip forward in the stirrups. Often the problem is a shortened Achilles tendon. This can be caused by various things.
To help lengthen your Achilles tendon: find a step, stand with just your toes on the edge of the step (so your heel hangs down), and gently push your heels down. Don’t bounce! Hold it for 15 seconds and then lift your heel again. Repeat this as many times as you can and often as you can. The key to this exercise is slow stretching over a period of time. Don’t force you heel down otherwise you could injure yourself.
Grooming your horse or pony is a great total body work out. Your arms, in particular, get a great workout.
As with any other exercise, you have to warm up before you go horseback riding. Here are some ideas to warm up that you can do while riding your horse or pony. You should do these exercises while walking your horse or pony to warm them up as well.
Riding is a sport which can be enjoyed at many levels of ability and The Hyderabad Polo and Riding club has rides for everyone, but the better you get, the more pleasure you will have and the safer you will be. Lessons from an expert instructor can greatly speed up the learning process. If these lessons are videotaped so that afterward you can see what you are really doing, it should help you get rid of bad habits and adopt better ones much more quickly. The Hyderabad Polo and Riding club is an excellent place because it offers lessons from certified teachers and a chance to perfect your riding skills at your own level. The better shape you are in, the more effectively you will ride and the more open you can be to enjoy your riding vacation