Equestrian Workout Routine: On the Road Exercises for Equestrians
It's no surprise to anyone that travels to rodeos, horse shows or competitions — gyms, workouts and healthy food can be hard to find on the road. Often, our dashboards are our dining tables, and our workouts for equestrians are our everyday activities. If you're looking to improve your fitness level, strength and athleticism but don't know how without a gym or equipment, keep reading!
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Equestrians are athletes, but we often neglect ourselves. We often put far more effort into our animal athlete partners than our own fitness and health. We weigh, measure and monitor our horse's nutrition and supplements and fine-tune their exercise routines, but we eat whatever is convenient and think that carrying their water buckets and riding is enough to keep us at the top of our game. What if I told you that you could improve your equestrian workout without stepping foot in a gym?
Benefits of Exercises for Equestrians
You and your horse are a team, but without proper strength, flexibility, coordination, stability and balance, you are making your horse's job HARDER! Have you ever given someone a piggyback ride? It is much more difficult to lug them around if they hang off you with their arms around your neck like a deadweight sandbag. If they are strong enough to brace with their legs, support themselves off your neck and back and have good balance and stability, it's much easier to move and carry them. That's why an equestrian workout routine is so important.
If a horse can feel a fly land on its back, it can feel every muscle you flex (or don't.) And while they do their best to compensate for our shortcomings, their performance is hindered when we are not fit.
As one-half of this partnership, we should strive to ease their burden. So, let's talk about workouts for equestrians to make your horse's job easier!
Key Muscles Used in Horseback Riding
We all know the feeling of "everything hurts, and I'm dying" when we haven't ridden in a while and get back on our horse for a good workout. So, what muscles does horseback riding work? What muscle groups should you focus on during your equestrian workout routine?
Core strength is the main priority for keeping our balance and good posture. Strength exercises for horse riders should focus on these major muscle groups:
- Rectus Abdominus
- Transverse Abdominus
- Back Extensors
Upper Body Strength
An equestrian workout that focuses on upper body strength is imperative for mounting and dismounting, proper shoulder and posture positioning, rein tension and cueing. Even with the lightest touch, riding for a long time takes a surprising amount of upper body strength.
Just try the "T" test! Hold your arms straight out to your sides in a T position with no weight, and see how long you can hold that position. Fatigue in your arms can send the wrong cues to your horse.
Include workouts for equestrians that focus on:
Try adding a walkout to push up sequence to your mix of exercises for equestrians to target both your upper body and core simultaneously.
Legs! Legs! Legs! Without excellent leg strength, we cannot adequately guide, que or communicate with our equine partners.
Your equestrian workout routine should target:
Your heart and cardiovascular health also need to be tended to! No one likes to huff, puff and suck wind while riding. Proper cardiovascular exercises for equestrians keep your blood and oxygen pumping to all the right places.