As some of you may know, I have become much more into health and fitness than I have ever been before in the past few weeks. The reasons behind this drive vary, but at the end of the day I am striving to become a healthier person and, in turn, a better rider.
In finding more ways to be creative with my fitness routines, I was introduced to a new fitness website for equestrians called The Active Rider. This is a membership site run by Carys Jackson, and it’s geared for riders who want to be more fit in the saddle.
Finding fitness routines geared towards equestrians is always an interesting concept. On one hand, overall fitness can be improved by a solid workout and nutrition routine, but what about those muscles you didn’t even realize you had until you began riding?
I’ve found that mixing in “normal” workout sets with some more focused exercises to target those riding-specific muscles works well. For example, I have always struggled with both my core strength as well as my left thigh and calf. These struggles have caused issues with my jumping position as well as correcting mistakes on the flat.
To that end, in addition to my usual fitness routine, I’ve begun the 12 week program offered by The Active Rider. A glance through the website offers many different educational opportunities on the various mechanics that go into riding a horse and keeping your body primed for the task.
Obviously, a big focus of the program is core muscles, as much of our strength comes from these pesky muscles. Since core is a huge struggle for me, further inhibited by a bad back, I am quite excited to see how this program helps me with my problems.
The first part of the program outlines several facts about the core muscles that are beneficial to know before you begin working them in earnest. Your abdominal muscle group contains several individual muscles that must be given attention in order to improve the entire group. Learning about how these muscles interact and how they play into your riding is the main focus of the beginning of the 12 week program.
From The Active Rider:
The movement of the horse’s back has to be absorbed by the seat of the rider and a supple, mobile but strong pelvis. If this is not possible then the back of the rider (and ultimately the horse) becomes jarred and sore. Movement is energy that is created and that energy must ultimately go somewhere!
As the weeks progress through this program, I will be introduced to new exercises that will target muscles that we as equestrians use. I am looking forward to implementing these exercises into my daily routine, and I will be back each week to report on my findings.