Bettering yourself as a rider off-horse Nov 18, 2018 7:12:08 GMT 10
Post by Autumn Lionsong on Nov 18, 2018 7:12:08 GMT 10
What are some things you do to get better at riding when you aren't in the saddle? Things like strength and cardio exercises, what muscle groups you work, what stretches you do, etc. I've found a couple things that seem like good things for new riders to use.
One thing you hear a lot starting out (and forever) is keep your heels down. A great exercise to help with this is to stand on the edge of a stair, with the balls of your feet on the stair so your heels are off the stair. Practice sinking into your heels (not too far though, you don't want to fall over backwards!). This will help you gain muscle memory, which is one of the most useful tools in any sport or skill, and also to gain flexibility in your ankles.
Leg and Posting
Another thing that can be difficult for beginners to grasp is posting. This exercise can also help more experienced riders with their leg. Find some kind of large object - the original example I saw used a barrel - that is about a horse width across that you can sit on. You want to grip both sides with your leg as if you were riding and post up and down. If you have them, you could even use stirrups and rig them so you can use them during the exercise. Otherwise think of it as a no-stirrups exercise (our favorite thing!). This can be difficult to set up, but I can see if being a very useful exercise to strengthen your legs and muscles for posting and no stirrup work.
Ideas for the "horse":
-An old desk or piece of furniture
-A sturdy laundry hamper, maybe stuffed with blankets or something to make sure it doesn't collapse on itself
-A larger trashbag filled with blankets - you'd have to really pack it full to get it to be sturdy enough, but it could work
-A chair with something on the sides for your legs to grip
Post any other ideas you have for a "horse" in the replies!
Cardio (Thanks to Sophia Starstone)
Cardio is important to any sport, and is just a great thing to engage in for anyone. We've all found ourselves exhausted during or after a ride (or before if your horse wants to play a game of chase before tacking up). You can use a treadmill at the gym or home if you like, but the easiest way is to go out and run or walk every day. The biggest issue with cardio is getting the motivation to do it. Some great motivators are:
-A running playlist that you get to listen to when you're on your run or walk
-Walking dogs for a little extra cash (or just for fun!)
-Mixing up your route so you don't get bored looking at the same old scenery
-Realizing that it IS okay to skip a day in the event of a blizzard or if you're sick
Yoga (Thanks to Linda)
Yoga is a great way to not only relax, but to make yourself more flexible and relaxed in the saddle. You can go to an actual yoga class if you have the time or money, or you can just as easily find some tutorials and poses online to use. Yoga is a great way to wake up in the morning or relax before you go to bed. Exercises that help promote flexibility in your hips and legs are some of the best. Some examples are:
I'd love to add more to this original post, so if you have anything you'd like to share let me know and I'll add it (with credit )