Every equestrian understands that practice is key to improving their riding skills. However, this becomes difficult when you cannot ride your horse, whether due to an illness, injury, or simply time constraints. In these situations, you miss out both on time spent with your horse and on critical practice.
The good news is that you can undertake other activities and exercises in the meantime. To stay fit and improve your riding, you do not need a horse or saddle.
If certain parts of your body are tight, it can impede your riding. Your body must be equally strong and flexible to achieve the best technique. If you can improve your posture on the ground, your saddle posture will also improve. The more flexible you are, the better you will be able to move while riding, which will result in a happier horse and a more relaxed rider.
Sitting straight and maintaining your equilibrium in the saddle becomes considerably easier when riding with proper posture and alignment, and this can be achieved in part through stretching as well as strengthening your core. Yoga is excellent for stretching your muscles. It helps to relax your body and improve your balance, posture, coordination, and strength.
Your core muscles are the most important part of your body in horseback riding. Your core comprises your abs, your center, and your back. Pilates strengthens your core while improving other critical qualities such as coordination, balance, and flexibility, all of which affect your riding. Studies have found that riders who began incorporating Pilates into their riding routine reported feeling more balanced and centered, sitting better in the sitting trot and canter, and having increased stamina.
Strength and cardio conditioning are also beneficial, as overall strength and stamina are critical components of horseback riding. Strengthening your body through weight training will help you maintain your posture and move and communicate with your horse more effectively. If you are not physically fit, you will tire more quickly and make riding mistakes as a result.
Even when you cannot ride a horse, you can still learn about horseback riding, including such aspects as riding methods, proper positioning, and how to correct specific horse or rider problems. Read a book on riding horses, or seek out relevant blogs or YouTube videos. By learning more about how a horse behaves, you will become a better rider since you’ll know what to expect.
Another great way to improve your riding skills is to watch videos of yourself riding. This way you can access your riding and seating posture. You will figure out what mistakes you make and how to correct them. Additionally, by seeing yourself you can compare your riding style with professional equestrians. When you observe them, see where or how your style differs from them and see where you can mimic them to improve.
In addition to being very physical, horseback riding is also a very mental activity. To improve and become better, you need to have a strong mind and a positive attitude. While being away from your horse can lead you into a negative mindset, you should do your best to avoid it. Find inspirational quotes, spend time meditating, focus on positive, creative visualizations, and write down specific riding goals you want to achieve. By staying positive, it will help improve your riding when you get back on your horse.