Best Horse Riding Exercises To Do At Home
Any professional horse rider will tell you that the job is not for the faint hearted, the sport is as physically demanding as it is mentally and top level riders are at the peak of fitness in competition! Hours of training in and out of the saddle contribute to the strength and flexibility that horse riders are famed for, even at lower level competition, strength, stamina and flexibility are vital if you are going to perform at your best. So what about making a list of your horse riding exercises to do at home?
You can spend a lot of time contemplating your horse’s fitness, feeding plan and training… but many riders often turn a blind eye to their own fitness levels. Fitness isn’t just about your riding performance, it’s also about preventing injury and making sure that you can ride horses for many years to come!
Since the outbreak and spread of COVID-19 worldwide, many horse riders are now spending less time in the saddle, staying at home in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus and the strain on public health services. Competitions and shows may be cancelled for the foreseeable, but if you want to really hit the ground running when they eventually return, it’s important to stay fit and healthy. That’s why we’ve put together our top horse riding exercises that you can do at home, in the house or in the garden – why not try these out together as a full workout?
Importance of Core Strength for Your Horse Riding Exercises
Horse riding is long associated with core strength - we’ve all had a tough schooling session and felt our stomach and leg muscles screaming at us the next day! In order to maintain a correct seat and independent hands, core strength is necessary to hold a straight posture and desirable riding position (there should be a straight line from your shoulder, to your hip and through to your heel). To complete some of these exercises you will need weights, but don’t worry, if you don’t have weights you can fill a backpack with water bottles or other household items to create a weight.
Now it's time to switch your horse riding outfit with your gym wear and start training!
This exercise is brilliant for toning those legs and building strength, working towards a more consistent leg position, secure seat and the ability to use your body to drive the horse forward (we’ve all heard an instructor shouting “more leg!”). For this exercise, if you are using weights make sure you wear your weighted backpack on your back. Take a deep step backwards with one leg and lunge, making sure that your knee touches the floor before returning to standing position with both feet parallel.
Drive through the heel and repeat for 20 lunges, if you’re still not feeling the burn, do another 20 until you are – no pain, no gain!
Zercher Squat is another exercise to strengthen your legs that should complement the reverse lunges well. Stand with both feet parallel and plant your feet just outside of your hips, if you are using weights, hold them in your hands together in front of your face with a bent elbow, or hold both hands together in front of your face and balance your backpack on top of your arms.
Slowly squat, softening your knees as you bend them and sticking your hips back and down. Repeat 20 times and you should be able to really feel your legs working.
Sumo Deadlift High Pull
This exercise combines both upper and lower body and is to be completed in repetitions of 20. Although riders are often famed for having strong cores and legs, upper body and arm strength is also important.
Start by standing with your feet in a wide ‘sumo’ stance, your feet parallel and your body facing forwards. Hold your weighted backpack by the straps, or hold your kettlebell/dumbbell by both hands straight down in front of your hips.
Begin the exercise by squatting and lowering your weight, keeping your back straight at all times with your chest up, then straighten your legs and pull the weight or backpack upwards, finishing with your weight below your chin and your elbows high and wide.
Now for the exercise everyone hates… crunches! Like it or loathe it, these stomach crunches and leg raises will really target your stomach muscles and build on that all important core strength. Your riding instructor will thank us later.
Start by lying flat on the floor with your hands behind your head and elbows out. Lift yourself half up using your core strength and lift one of your legs/knees, touching them with the alternative elbow, crossing your body.
Repeat the same process, lifting your upper body with your hands behind your head and touching opposite elbow to knee. Do this exercise for 20 repetitions until you feel your core muscles aching – then you know it’s working!
We hope this exercises help you to stay fit and strong while you are staying at home, wherever in the world! With our top riding exercises to do at home, you will feel stronger and more confident than ever while horse riding. By the way, do not forget to take a look at online horse riding lessons while working out at home.