Fitness

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The primary goal of a rider fitness program is to build stamina and strength appropriate to the discipline. All riders should have a strong core, good balance, good general flexibility, and a fairly high level of proprioception (awareness of where your body parts are in relation to your body and movement).

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As a rider, it can be tricky to discern exactly how much influence our structural alignment is having on our horse and our riding. The conversation about posture can be a complex and even frustrating one. In part, this is because we innately know that what is happening in our bodies can’t help but influence our horses, given their sensitivity to changes in weight and pressure, and the near impossibility of a rider being posturally “in tune” with their horse at every moment.

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Finding time to exercise can be a challenge at this time of year: farm chores, yard work, summer vacations, competition, you name it, it’s on your plate. Unexpected downtime due to back injury or strain would really put a kink in your summer plans.

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Have you ever witnessed the beauty of a wonderful freestyle, a reining pattern, or perhaps a show like Cavalia in which the rider and horse seem to be working together in such harmony that you can hardly tell where the rider ends and horse begins? For rider and horse to be “one” with each other is the desired state we strive for. What we seek is to seamlessly flow together in a beautiful stream of energy travelling together through space. If your desire is to achieve such a state, and to ride to the best of your ability, then please read on!

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Many people enjoy setting goals to help give focus and guidance to the year ahead. If we map out our desired goals appropriately, make them realistic and attainable, then initiate them with baby steps, there is a greater likelihood we will achieve success. When we write down our goals we are, in essence, making a commitment and a contract with ourselves.

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Is it mind over matter? Or just do it until your thinking and feelings catch up? How much of your ride depends on your mental frame? How much depends on your physical self-carriage and ability?

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If you strive to attain a strong classical position when you ride, we’re here with exercises to help. Are you able to maintain that much sought-after ear-shoulder-hip-heel position when you ride? If so, congratulations! If not, just keep working on those exercises and be assured that over time they will help you establish better postural alignment.

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