Does anyone have any exercises that will strengthen my muscles to help improve my riding?? Im most concerned about my calves as I have to teach baby to be responsive to leg aids but I don't have a lot of strength!!
The best thing is alot of riding without stirrups. It is really helpful if you have somebody that can lunge you while you practice, especially at first, so you can concentrate on yourself. If not, then you can do the same on your own, just make sure you aren't pulling on the horses mouth. First work on it at the walk, then sitting trot, rising trot, 3-point canter, and then finally 2-point. It will take a long time to get there, but once you do you have a really strong seat, balance, and more strenght in your legs.
You can also either drop the reins or hold them in one hand, and do exercises with your arms while you are riding. Like putting your hands on your hip, shoulders, arm circles, hold them over head, to the side, in front of you. Just about anything you can imagine.
There is a book called Fitness for the female equestrian that has some on the ground exercises in it that might be helpful. I'm not at home so I can't look at it right now, but that would be another place to start.
i agree with everyone. 2 point help alot also droping you sturips. Post up and down at the walk or go up and down on 1 leg when standing then switch to get the other side.
2 point is very good also I made my students put their heels in the stirrups and keep weight in the stirrup. It really works . For your thighs take a peice of paper and fold it so it looks like a big dollar bill and put it between your thigh and the saddle you have to ride around with it and make sure it doesn't fall out . It really works the thighs.
Everything everyone has said sounds great. I would just add one thing . . .I don't think anyone else said it (if you did, sorry I missed it.) But post or just ride all three gaits with just one stirrup, making sure to keep correct posture. Just a suggestion
No-stirrup work & posting without stirrups is GREAT for your position, balance, & leg muscles!
2-point exercises are good. Trotting around in your 2-point or walking too helps, just going around the arena a few times.