Pilates For Horse Riders Published Article Part 2

Pilates for Horse Riders

This is Part 2 of an article written by myself for the hoof beats magazine.

If you have not read part 1 then I suggest you start there and come back to this article for it all the make sense.

Part 1 is here.

Pilates For Horse Riders Part 2

What makes a Good Horse Rider?

rider competing dressage competition classic estepona malaga province andalusia spain 34936377A good rider has a natural feel for the movement of the horse through their seat. They also move with their horse so well. They are one unit. If you want to learn then observe and study the posture of a good rider when they’re out of the saddle. Watch how they stand, how they walk, how they move. Many are naturally straight in the back and flexible in their movement patterns. If they were tested for strength and stability the results would most likely be good. Having strong core stability allows these riders to move their limbs independently. This equates to the ability to apply precise, independent aids. These riders would also be generally fit and have good muscle endurance. A good rider has endurance and strength in all their posture muscles.

A Horse Rider Can Learn to Ride Better? How?

If a rider is having performance problems, they need to look at themselves before they blame the horse. It does not take a huge effort to do some self-testing of one’s postural muscles, joint flexibility, and specific riding muscle strength. Knowledge of how and when each of the major riding muscles is used is a great advantage to a rider. Applied Posture Riding teaches riders about their riding muscles; how to test them, what their function is, and how to train them individually. 56 CopyMy techniques teach specific movement patterns to riders, and how to use the deep core muscles for riding. There are many skills a rider can learn while off the horse. The Applied Posture training program is unique in many ways. A rider will do some self-testing and identify their own faults. Once identified a rider can focus on certain exercises, to retrain their muscles. The absolute, most important muscle to train and learn how to engage is the deep core abdominal muscle. A rider can then be taught how to use this power in the saddle. This cannot be taught by a gym trainer or aerobics teacher. Learning and understanding one’s horse’s foot falls and the beat will also give insight into one’s riding.

The absolute, most important muscle to train and learn how to engage is the deep core abdominal muscle. A rider can then be taught how to use this power in the saddle. This cannot be taught by a gym trainer or aerobics teacher. Learning and understanding one’s horse’s foot falls and the beat will also give insight into one’s riding. Simple test for Core Strength.

This is a test I use in my Physiotherapy practice and on my riding pupils.

Many of my patients report the instructions given in most Pilates classes are not clear enough and the instructor assume the core is engaged already. It is not enough for most sports people and especially not enough for horse riders. You must know when your core is engaged and when it is not. The ability to hold the core strong while performing a movement pattern will increase strength and protect the back. This can be learned and used in riding. The rider should move in tune with the horse but appear still. You are never still when riding. This should be the case in all paces.

Learn to feel movement by understanding the beat of each pace.

There are many more specific tests and movement patterns to learn, to improve one’s riding. In the Applied Posture Riding program, a large gym or Physio ball is recommended. This is the ideal tool to train horse riders specific movement patterns, and core stability. Once a movement pattern has been established, it will become natural. The trot, both sitting and rising can be trained on the ball, if the trainer knows the correct movement patterns. The sitting trot can be taught by learning how to engage the deep core muscles and coordinate the breathing pattern with the two-beat foot fall pattern; once learned, the breathing pattern can be dropped because the sitting trot is established. The canter can be simulated, with certain exercises, just as easily.

Pilates for Horse Riders

Pilates is simply the learning of HOW to initiate, test, train and function with core stability. The use of core stability in horse riding is more complicated than just doing Pilates-based exercises. If you want more information or just want to ask questions then contact me. Fill in the subscribe form and follow Applied Posture Riding on facebook, share your story and read of othersI love this topic and I love seeing horse riders become the best they can be. 

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