Calling All Riders! Giddy Up and Get Fit

February 15, 2017

When it comes to horseback riding as a sport, lot’s of people think, or maybe even say out loud: “The horse does all the work, the rider just sits there.” If you’re an avid equestrian like I am, you know how this comment can chap your hide. The fact is that the horse and the rider work as a team. The rider should match the athleticism of the horse. If the work load is imbalanced then the ride doesn’t flow with the symbiotic elegance it should.

Working together effectively requires great communication and trust. In order for the rider to have great communication with the horse and for the horse to trust the rider they must be in the proper positioning, be strong and have the stamina to get around the arena. You must be physically and mentally fit as a rider.

Here’s how equestrians can benefit from strength training:

    1. Improve posture. Riding judges are looking at how well you carry yourself on the horse. Most riders have a strong lower body due to the amount of weight being pushed (yes we are pushing a 1,200 lb animal with our legs) but lack strength in the upper body. Strength training will not only get you stronger in your upper body but will improve your posture while riding as well.
    2. Increase Endurance and Stamina. Let’s face it we’ve all been out of breath or exhausted after a long ride or jumping course around the arena. Strength training can actually help you feel better after and last longer during a ride.
    3. Improve Seat. Whether you’re riding around the arena or going over a colorful jump your seat should look effortless. For a proper seat you must learn to isometrically hold the seat in a two point position or jumping position. Strength training can help you improve your isometric holds and increase your ability to hold your seat longer.
    4. Improve Communication. Like I mentioned before it takes a team to have a smooth ride. When strength training you learn what muscles are being used and what to feel. Increasing your awareness of your body will only help you cue better and look better as a team.
    5. Enjoy Riding. Lastly it allows you to do what you love: ride. Strength training will help you prevent injuries and become a stronger rider so you can ride as long as you want.

At Advantage we strive to help any athlete improve their performance and be able to do what they love. If riding horses is your thing then let’s get you strength training!

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Taylor Antczak is a Senior at Arizona State University studying Exercise and Wellness with a Minor in Nutrition. She is a Certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor through the American Council of Exercise. Taylor grew up in Rancho Cucamonga, California where she competed in multiple horse back riding events and ran cross country in high school. Her hobbies include hiking, camping, riding her dirt bike and anything outdoors. Taylor continues to run in various 5k/10k races and has completed two half marathons. She hopes to continue her love for fitness by helping other runners and equestrians like herself, be prepared for competition.

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