Is your body sore after riding a horse? If yes, this may be due to the way you ride. Horse riding requires impressive body control to help you stay on and control the horse. It’s essential to learn the proper use of your body and maintain balance not only for your safety and comfort, but also for the benefit of your mare.
Proper posture helps improve your horse riding skill. Otherwise, your horse will feel uncomfortable even through well-designed saddle pads.
How will you improve your posture?
Yoga Helps Improve Your Posture
The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) says regular yoga practice offers physical and mental health benefits. Yoga helps build your strength, awareness, and harmony in mind and body. Its physical benefits include:
- Improved flexibility
- Enhanced muscle strength and tone
- Better athletic performance
- Improved cardio and circulatory health
Additionally, the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) says you should focus on your hip health. Excessive tension on your bones pull them out of place and reduce stability, making them susceptible to damage.
Misbalanced hips can lead to serious health problems, including anxiety, lower back pain, and poor sleep. As a rider, you could experience these issues:
- Insufficient connection with your inner thighs
- Inability to balance your seat bones in the saddle
- Lack of control and precision in movement
Yoga practices, however, may vary. Focus on yoga exercises that help improve your hip health for better horse riding experience.
Enhancing Your Body for Horse Riding
The right practice will leadConsider several components, including alignment, symmetry, and rhythm, to perform yoga practices accurately.
The FEI recommends yoga exercise to help you improve your riding skills. These exercises include:
Mountain pose on mounting block
This exercise helps you to mentally check in with your body. It will allow you to notice imbalances or weaknesses in your legs. You can do this by standing with one foot on mounting block or an elevated surface and place your hands on your hips. Make sure your hip doesn’t jut out to the side, which indicates weakness. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Modified tree pose
Start this pose by placing a foot on the inner ankle of the standing leg. The level pelvis and stability in the standing leg provides integrity to the pose. You can also move your bent knee as if you’re drawing a semi-circle. Check the points were the hips feel stuck.
Seated or reclining “Figure 4”
Sit down on your mounting block and cross your left foot over your right thigh, just above the knee. Sitting in a taller chair helps decrease the stretch and makes the crossed leg further away from your chest. You can also do this position while lying on your back, but make sure to flex the foot of the bent leg to prevent damaging your knee joint.
When practicing yoga for the first time, working with a yoga instructor will allow you to go through one pose to another safely.
Horse riding is exhilarating, but it has to be done right to ensure your safety and the animal’s as well. Try yoga, and you may make the most out of every ride.