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1. Get a full body assessment
Riding every day is hard on your body. Muscles get tight and overused putting a lot of strain on your joints. As a Personal trainer, I do a full body screening with every person that comes in. Knowing the weaknesses in their movements, strength and joint position helps me to create a tailored training program. We need to create a stable fitness base to build your body on.
2. Implement a 5 minute corrective exercise and stretch routine every day
Following the full body scan, we can identify three to four exercises that will improve your body and riding the most. Doing this routine every day for a few weeks will get you to a higher level in no time. Done? No, then you choose three to four exercises to keep growing!
3. Spend some more time barefoot
Your feet are being squeezed together all day in your riding boots. Stiff feet and toes will decrease blood flow, glute function and overall strength. Your toes are the first contact with the ground (and horse, through the stirrups). The better they can move and feel, the more input your body has to work with. Spending some time barefoot helps to keep the 33 joints in your feet nice and mobile.
4. Increase your overall fitness & strength 2 times a week
A better fitness level will help you recover better between horses and shows. Increased blood flow will give your brain more energy to process information and react faster. Increasing your strength will prevent your body from overused muscles and sore joints. Don't think too big; Taking a bike ride or a brisk walk is good start for your cardio. Doing some basic bodyweight exercises likes lunges, squats, pushups will do the trick for your strength. Want to take it up a level? Use a jump rope between your bodyweight sets!
5. Warmup & activate your body before you get on your horse.
Stretch, move & activate your muscles before you start to ride. Your nervous system will be able to react faster, your muscles will be stronger and those active abs & back muscles will help you get a better position on your horse from the start!
Thank you to Lars and Mariel for this feature blog!
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