Are you looking for a fitness routine to support your riding in the New Year? A fit rider with a well-conditioned body can sit better in the saddle and provide clearer cues that allow the horse to improve his performance. Of course, the fact that you will look better is another plus. We’ve gathered some key tips that will help you top up your fitness levels and make the most of your next ride.
Running after your four-legged partners can count as a warm-up, but for something a bit more structured, try this simple stretch to improve your co-ordination in the saddle. With your feet firmly on the ground, start stretching out your left arm alongside your right leg. Then do the same for your right arm and left leg. Continue the stretches forwards, backwards and to the sides.
Pilates can help improve a rider’s flexibility, posture and balance, as well as enhance communication with a horse. Join a beginners’ Pilates class for a gentle introduction into the basics or, for a more targeted approach, try Equipilates. This is a specially tailored form of Pilates aimed at riders. It combines a variety of mobilisation exercises to improve rider and horse performance.
As 50% of an athletic partnership, having a diet that supports your riding is essential. Do check with your GP before making any drastic changes to your eating habits, but as a general rule, these tips should help you eat your way to a healthy riding form.
Choose slow release carbs such as those found in broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, for stable blood sugar and energy levels.
Get your daily dose of lean protein (found in chicken, eggs, fish and nuts) to help your body repair itself after those strenuous rides.
Avoid snacks high in sugar as these can lead to wild swings in your energy levels.
Remember that cooling down after your ride is just as important for you as it is for your horse. Walk your horse for about 20 minutes after your ride and you will create the right transition between exercise and rest.