If you are starting to horseback ride or getting your horse in shape you should consider getting yourself in shape as well. Horseback riding uses different muscle groups and stretches new areas of your body, which means that you will concentrate on different exercises in order to get in shape.
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This is no different with horseback riding. Although people say the horse does all the work, anyone who horseback rides or does horse training knows that to be a good rider, you need to be an athlete, and riding requires a lot of fitness.
Horseback riding typically uses the following muscle groups: shoulders, triceps/biceps, abdominals, back, inner and outer thighs, back of the calf. The following are several exercises you can use on a daily basis to help stretch, strengthen and tone these muscle groups.
- Walk up to the stairs in your home-if you don’t have any, a stair stepper will do or a step ladder if you have one.
- Stand on the stair closest to the ground, falling to your death won’t get you into great shape. When you stand, hold onto the railing at first. Now, holding the railing, balance on only the balls of your feet.
- Slowly stretch down and lower your heels until you feel the stretch in your calves. Sound familiar? This is recreating the stirrup! Hold for ten seconds. This will not only improve your position, but your balance as well!
- Now, try letting go of the railing- this will take some practice. Try until you can balance for two seconds, then try five, then increase little by little as you improve.
Exercise 2 – Use the Wall
- This is a variation of the stair exercise. Walk up to any wall in your house and put your foot up against it about 1/2 to 3/4 of the position it would be in your stirrups.
- Lift foot up to the position where your foot would be in a stirrup.
- Hold for three seconds then release back against the wall.
- Repeat five times; as you get better you can increase amount of time with your foot up and how many you do in all.
- Use any rubber or plastic ball as long as it is at least a foot in diameter.photo credit: chrisdlugosz
- Sit on a hard chair that allows your knees to sit at right angles to the floor.
- Scoot to the edge of the chair so that your thighs are completely off of it, and place the beach ball between your knees.
- Squeeze the beach ball between your knees, hold for fifteen seconds, and then release. Do this a few times a day until 15 becomes easy, then increase to 20, then 30, and so on.
- This is a great way to increase your ability to hang on to your horse with your thighs. It increases the inner thigh muscles. You can also go to the gym and use what is called the “hip adductor” machine. Many equestrians who have had to take time off have noted that when they regularly use the hip adductor machine before getting back on a horse, they are more likely to feel fit and avoid the pain in the inner thighs when one gets back on a horse after a long time off.