Applied Posture Riding - hanstring stretch for horse riders

  • A Disc Herniation And What Not To Do As A Horse Rider

    Do You Have A Disc Hernia In Your Lower Back?

    Is Back Pain Affecting Your Riding?

    Have You Been Told To Give Up Riding?

    Doctors and medical professionals will always err on the conservative side and the uninformed will always view horse riding as a high-risk sport, especially with a back injury.

    leanne liftingWell, I have written extensively on this topic, I have suffered a  disc prolapse myself and was told to never ride a horse again. I was also given many stretches by my treating therapist that increased my pain and pressure on my spinal nerves.

    Many horse riders suffer from a lower back injury of some description. The disc is the most common structure injured. The advice and rehab programs that are given to many horse riders do not come from a therapist who knows about horse riding. This is devastating for those who are told to give it away.

    Time to heal is very important and understanding the biomechanics of the injury and movement patterns used in riding is essential.

    If you want more information in this area then look at my Applied Posture Riding program

    Stretches You Need To Avoid With A  Disc Hernia Injury.

    You must avoid any stretch or exercise that pushes the lower spine into flexion.

    Lumbar flexion will increase the pressure through the disc and cause it to bulge or herniate further into the spinal structures.

    This increases the risk of a full-blown prolapse.

    Never stretch toward the floor with a disc injury. Sitting increases the pressure through the discs. Stretching your head towards your knees puts enormous pressure on the disc. Stretches that increase the disc pressure are very dangerous, especially in the early stages of recovery.

    All stretches for a disc hernia must be carefully set up and the patient must know what structure they are stretching and at what level do you push it. No pain No gain is only good if you know what the pain is.

     Be safe, learn about your injury, and return to riding with good healing, good strength, and confidence you are recovering well.

     Certain stretches may well be increasing the injury or increasing the nerve aware!  

    Twisting and Sitting is extremely stressful on your disc. Avoid this type of stretching.

    All stretches for a disc hernia must be carefully set up and the patient must know what structure they are stretching and how much pain can be induced. No pain, No gain is only good if you know what the pain is.

    Back bending is a great stretch if done correctly.

    If you want more information, contact me, and if you wish to purchase my Applied Posture Riding Program.



  • Core Exercises and Horse Riding

    Core Exercises have become the latest craze for horse riders, and rightly so.

    The core muscles are the key to good posture, good horse riding, good balance, and absolutely for back pain control. Core training exercises are taught by gym trainers, personal trainers, and of course Physiotherapists.  The core muscle is the key to any exercise program. A strong core will give you a Flat Stomach a strong stable back and more energy.

    As a Physiotherapist, I design exercise programs for all of my patients.  Having a strong core is great but how to use it in the saddle requires specific exercises and movement patterns. Many riders have a strong core but don't engage it when riding. Pain is also an inhibitor of the core. If you suffer back pain your core switches off and slowly weakens with time.

    before and after APR

    The core muscle provides stability so all the postural and working muscles, with stability, the body can work, and burn more energy, more efficiently. Stability through the lower back and pelvis puts the body in a better alignment, therefore minimizing stress on the joints. Trauma and injury during or after exercise are less likely to happen.

    Core Exercises

    If pain occurs then the workouts need to be modified, this interrupts the exercise program, pain is most often caused by over-exercising and or exercising in bad postures. A huge number of my patients present with injuries related to exercising and their sport.

    Very few are injured due to a trauma or an accident, most pain results from poor movement patterns during exercising.

     Abdominal exercises for women do not need to be heavy and hard. Women want a flat stomach and a toned small waistline. The old fashion abdominal exercises, like sit-ups, have been proven to be ineffective, too hard, and unsafe, causing stress and strain on the lower back joints. This why women give up and then find it difficult to get back into an exercise regime. I believe it is important to teach women more so than men about the transverse abdominal muscle and how to engage it, then test it, then train it, then use it. 

    Core Exercises for Horse Riders

    All instructors are now recommending their riders strengthen their core to improve their riding. 46There are many Pilates exercises available to everybody and certainly doing any exercises as well as core exercises will help your riding. Any exercises that will increase your general tone and fitness are of value. Many horse riders think they are fit and toned just by riding, in fact, horse riding without doing any other exercises will give you stiffness and usually lower back pain. The least a horse rider should do is stretch.

     However, core exercises are the be all end all for horse riders. A strong core when riding gives the rider stability, control, strength, and precision to perform aids with skill and clarity to the horse. A rider with a weak core is usually bouncing in the saddle has a wobbly lower leg and uses the reins to balance. A weak core causes a rider to stoop forward and be unbalanced. As a rider coach, my specialty is teaching horse riders to ride. I focus on the horse riding muscles and especially the core.

    My programs teach riders everything about the horse riding posture and the core. If you have a passion for your riding I have a passion for teaching you.

    Have a look at my Applied Posture Riding Membership Program

    LIKE and follow me on Applied Posture Riding Facebook page for tips and advice on rider training.


    Good luck and enjoy your riding. If you have any questions or need some advice about core exercises or back pain or posture then contact me.

    Annette Willson

  • Physiotherapy Rider Clinic

    250px Transversus abdominisThis clinic is a One Day Unmounted Rider Biomechanics and Physiotherapy Clinic. 

    All riders attend an unmounted training education day. (no horses).

    The whole group stays for the whole day. 

    I recommend following up with a mounted clinic at a future date to apply and progress the training and techniques.

    The whole day is about Rider Biomechanics and Physiotherapy advice and what is involved in training the posture for riding.


    • You will learn about the Anatomy Of The Riding Posture.
    • You will learn about The Riding Muscles and Their Function in Riding.
    • I will discuss The Transverse Abdominal (TVA) muscle in detail and its relevance to riding.
    • I will teach you "The Core Crunch". This is the starting point for all of your training.

    Movement pattern 1 compressed

    This is the starting point for all of your training.

    The Core Crunch is the first Movement Pattern you will learn, there are 18 more specific to riding.

    Muscle Testing is important and once you have the Core Crunch you will then test all of the major riding muscles.

    • You will also perform a simple test for your balance.
    • You will learn the difference between an exercise and a Movement Pattern and how to apply them to your riding.
    • I will talk about injury, work, habits, and resting postures and riding.
    • I include a session on the injury, age-related changes, pain management, and the use of braces.
    • I will talk about My Jargon. My program has been designed by me, therefore learning my language is relevant.
    • What is a Core Crunch and Coordinated Breathing?
    • What is a Movement Pattern?
    • What Is Independent Isolation?
    • What is a Resting Posture and What Does Self Carriage Mean?

    My Unique Jargon When Teaching Riders will be addressed.

    • What is the difference between a Training Aid and an Invisible Aid and the Sloth Aid?

    Once you have the above information we can move onto learning the Specific Movement Patterns I have designed for the horse rider.

    APR movement patterns

    The Movement Patterns will teach you how to apply Rider Biomechanics to your riding.

    • I will demonstrate exercises for different body parts to train strength.
    • I will also give Advanced Strengthening Exercises for the future.
    • We can explore the OOV and The Body Blade for daily routines.
    • Managing injury and individual problems will be included during the session.
    • At the end of the day, you will have a completely new and specific way of training yourself for riding.

    I absolutely guarantee this is a clinic like no other you have attended or looked at.

    Included in the cost of the clinic is the "Applied Posture Riding The Fundamentals of Riding" manual.(value $100)

    This workshop is about finding out about your problems and you as the rider, not your horse.

    At the end of this clinic, you will know everything about you and what you need to do to ride with skill and fun.

    Ongoing support via email or by phone is also offered.

    As a Physiotherapist, I am qualified in all Rider Biomechanics, Injury, and Rehab.

    • I am able to offer riders professional information and detailed individual assessments not offered by a riding instructor or personal trainer.
    • I am able to give medical advice where needed and offer ongoing support.
    • I am able to prescribe, fit, and supply the correct horse rider brace and exercises where needed.
    • I am able to assess what you think of your riding, what your instructor says, and what I find and fix it.
    • I am able to prescribe specific horse rider exercises for you.
    • What Is Required?

    For this clinic, the following is required

    • Your own physio gym ball, the correct size is mid-thigh height.
    • A length of theraband,
    • Wear sports clothes, not skirts or jeans.
    • Sandshoes or bare feet will be fine.

    The One day workshop is $250 per rider

    Maximum of 15 unmounted riders

    The One Day Mounted Clinic can be arranged at a date in the future. This format gives you the best assessment, training, and education package  I offer. If you try and pack too much into your training without the basics then you will not get the ultimate results. This is the ideal clinic for a club to offer its members. It is suitable for all riders from beginners to elite. We all use the same muscles and we all have similar problems unrelated to your riding but directly affects you riding,

    If you want to host a  Clinic contact me directly to arrange dates,

  • Tips On How To Care For Your Back And Your Horse

    liftinhMany people think riding is dangerous and the cause of many sporting injuries. Granted, falls can result in major injury but a majority of injuries come from caring for your horse. The postures you move in and out of during your day affect your lower back, more often than a fall does. The consequences of microtrauma can sometimes be more devastating than a major trauma, such as a fall.

    This part of riding is often not addressed with riders. It is just as important to learn how to care for your own body while you care for your horse as is it to learn how to ride.

    Back pain has a huge impact on every aspect of your life, not just your riding.

    I see many people with back pain in my Physiotherapy practice. Many of them state "I haven't done anything, it just started". When I dig deeper all of these people have a repetitive daily activity, like picking up toys, moving items at work, bending to reach objects, lifting children, driving, and desk work. All of these activities are repetitive.

    The common movements of bending and or lifting occur many times in a day. Each episode of lifting and or bending involves pressure through your body. If this movement pattern is performed with poor stability and or poor alignment then the stress each time may well be creating a micro-injury. Each micro-injury is usually pain-free but when they start to add up over time then an injury is brewing.

    This is the scenario I see all the time.

    Prevention, understanding the actions, and training yourself to protect your back is the key to pain-free longevity.

    Tips to Protect your Back

    • Learn how to use your core
    • Stretch everyday
    • Only lift when you have too
    • Do little backbends often during the day
    • If you can lean on something to bend over then do it
    • Sit with your legs spread wide at your desk
    • Minimize sitting trot and canter work if you are in pain
    • Wear a back Brace for heavy work

    Back Brace jpg 1 websizeMost back pain comes from the work you do every day, not from riding or falls.

    If you do have an injury then make sure you have an assessment and treatment and most important the correct rehab program. The rehab must involve core work, movement patterns, and time.

    Please LIKE my Applied Posture Riding Facebook Pagefor tips and training advice

    If you want to change the way you ride then read about my

    Applied Posture Riding Membership Program.