Engaging the core - It’s a term we hear a lot, but its just as important for riders as it is for the horses we ride and just as often overlooked.
We've all been guilty of this I'm sure - spending hours on exercises to help hour horse engage his core more or be more supple without a thought for our own fitness or lack of.
Marianne, our supported rider in the USA tell us how after a massive change in her personal life she took a step back and re-evaluated everything, most importantly herself. "Ive spent thousands on training and equipment for my horses but next to no time or effort on myself which was having an impact on my riding and ability to train and influence my horses. I joined a gym, one of those ones which is a bit like a riding lesson – where there is a plan and you are challenged, and tweaked to help you improve and I've never looked back"
There are hundreds of different exercise programmes out there to choose from. Pilates for core strength. International dressage rider Abi Lyle swears by yoga for improving balance, flexibility and suppleness. Running for cardio fitness is a cheap and easy way to get fit. Cross fit is another popular method, especially amongst event riders with Bettina Hoy being a fan.
Marianne shares her personal journey - and she's spent a lot of time working on her own fitness, by using a combination of HIIT workouts, weights and boxing – all of which have greatly helped my strength and fitness, but possibly the greatest change has come by replacing her office chair with a gym ball…one of those giant silver space-hopper (minus ears) type ball!
"It sounds easy" she says "but the first 30 mins I ever spent sat on that ball was torture and my abs hurt that evening and the next morning I can tell you!" Even 30 mins a day sat in front of the TV will help balance and strengthen the core – especially if you use it for sit ups and balance work to help develop the core strength that will help improve your seat.
What exercise do you do outside of riding - we'd love to hear how it helps in the comments!