Returning to riding after 5-6 years...exercises to get back in shape?

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Returning to riding after 5-6 years...exercises to get back in shape?

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    08-15-2011, 11:20 AM
Returning to riding after 5-6 years...exercises to get back in shape?

When in 7th and 8th grade I took English lessons for 2 years. Anticipating that I was going to be a music major in college, I stopped lessons to do marching band. Now, after completing my freshman year of college, I changed majors because music wasn't for me. Now I have much more free time and am planning on joining my college's equestrian team. I've only ridden 3-4 times in the past 5-6 years (trail rides), so what are some things I can do to get back in shape for riding? What muscles will I need to work? I have a college gym membership.
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    08-15-2011, 11:29 AM
Find a local Pilates instructor. Exercise 3 or more times a week.

You need to build up your centre core muscles.
    08-22-2011, 04:09 PM
OMG-SERIOUS yardwork will get you back in shape fast!
    08-23-2011, 04:17 PM
I know you might think I was joking but I wasn't. I needed to get back into riding shape this Spring. I had had my time hijacked by my daughter's April wedding, you see. I took to digging 4 raised beds, the RIGHT way. THIS meant digging 30 inches deep, and 3 1/2 ft x 12 ft holes, then tilling and moving BY WHEELBARROW, the compost/dirt mix to replace what I took out. By the time I started training, I didn't even get sore in the saddle.
You gardeners know what I mean--you reach, you bend, you carry, you hook up hoses, you rake--GREAT for your legs, your arms and your abs.
    08-23-2011, 04:21 PM
Wall sits!!!!! One of the best thigh builders besides riding. Volunteer to do stalls at your stable or any extra chores. Also get a ball that's like a volleyball size or smaller probably and put it in between your knees and squeeze it until you are tired. Do this like every other day and not on the days you ride.
    08-23-2011, 06:04 PM
Too few people coming into riding take into consideration how important muscle tone is in horse riding. Many people get the idea that because the rider is sitting down and the horse is doing all the work, Newtons force of motion and gravity don't apply but they do, and the rider's body has to be fit and tuned to counteract the forces involved.

If I were to be starting out again in riding, I would visit early on a sports physiotherapist for a complete survey of my skeletal structure and muscle tone. I would expect that the physio would outline an individual exercise programme for me. I already know the Pilates exercises work on the centre core, the balance and the stretching of muscles and tendons. As a minimum two sessions of Pilates a week must help the aspiring rider.

Personally I was lucky the sports I had done previously (scuba, swimming & rowing) work on many of the muscle groups used in riding, although my Pilates instructor occasionally nags at me for using the wrong muscles and for breathing in when I should be breathing out.

Relaxation is also important and reading up on Dr Alexander's techniques can help the rider to learn how to relax.

Of course it all depends on how far one wants to go in this hobby of riding. However to sit a horse in the correct posture for a couple of hours for a hack calls for a degree of physical fitness, make no mistake.

It comes as a disappointment for me personally to look at professional male riders who always seem to be short, thin, wiry, chaps and I am none of those things. Which is probably one reason why noone would ever call me a stylish rider.
    08-24-2011, 10:41 AM
I'll be taking a weekly lesson and hopefully eventually jumping and doing a few shows.
    08-24-2011, 07:24 PM
Originally Posted by Barry Godden    
Find a local Pilates instructor. Exercise 3 or more times a week.

You need to build up your centre core muscles.
Agreed. You can search the web for Pilates exercises, also. Core muscle strength is the key to balance and Pilates does a great job.
    08-25-2011, 12:31 PM
Core Muscle- Do a plak for One minuite 3 times a day. Also do some situps and do some leg lifts for about 10 seconds each with your legs up and your back off the ground. Also stretch your stdaddle because sonetimes after riding your inner thight can be sore.

I play soccer so I do alot of running but I don't know how mnuch you should do for a good core.
Best of Luck!!
    08-27-2011, 08:09 PM
Thank you all for the suggestions!

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