Early Days

Stretching for Horse and Rider

So lately I’ve started including some groundwork and stretching exercises into our workouts, to help Hemie figure out the whole “bending” concept. With the help of some cookies, he’s actually made huge improvement in bending his neck to each side and downward, as well as how to cross his hind legs better. For some of our stretches, check out the “Top 5 Stretches” from TheHorse.com: http://www.thehorse.com/free-reports/30240/top-5-stretches-for-healthy-horses

Under saddle, the exercises still proving challenging are: maintaining bend while riding a straight line, and maintaining right bend on a circle (especially if adding a pole). Hopefully some of our on-the-ground work will translate into improvement under saddle.

In addition, I’ve realized that I myself need to stretch as well. The other day after mounting I did some leg lifts while in the saddle and discovered my muscles are quite tight. Luckily there’s HorseNation to the rescue. Biz Stamm has posted a few articles on stretches/yoga poses/exercises for riders, and I’ve been putting them all together into 15 minute sessions each morning. Here’s just a small selection of her articles:

http://www.horsenation.com/2012/10/24/fit-to-ride-tack-room-yoga/
http://www.horsenation.com/2012/10/03/fit-to-ride-pis-super-awesome-back-workout-part-ii/
http://www.horsenation.com/2012/09/20/fit-to-ride-pis-super-awesome-back-workout-pt-i/
http://www.horsenation.com/2012/07/11/fit-to-ride-is-that-a-six-pack-under-your-show-coat/
http://www.horsenation.com/2012/06/27/fit-to-ride-your-pre-show-warm-up/

Yep, she’s in breeches, doing yoga on a horse blanket.

She is quite thoughtful in her explanations as to why certain stretches are especially good/helpful for riders, which I appreciate. For some reason it is easier to exercise when I think I’m actually improving my riding. =)

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