#TBT: Do You Train Like an Athlete?

Tara La Bree explains why you should.
Photo: Flickr/m01229/CC

Photo: Flickr/m01229/CC

It took me a long time to consider myself an athlete, but now I realize that I am one, so I need to act like it. That means I can’t just rely on riding to create the physical ability to ride at my best.

Riders ARE athletes (we should all know by now that we’re not just sitting there, right?). How many athletes do you know that only train for their specific sport’s movements? Football players, swimmers, and basketball players also run, lift weights, train in plyometrics, etc., all in an effort to better their performance in their own sports. So why should equestrians be any different?

Without physical fitness, you are not performing as well as you could. In addition to potentially preventing injuries and reducing muscle soreness, a rider fitness program benefits your riding in the following ways:

  • Increased muscle strength helps you better support yourself in the saddle. In particular, strong core muscles provide you with improved balance and stability, better posture, and a more consistent connection to the bit. A strong leg provides you with lower body stability and makes your communication aids more effective.
  • Expanded flexibility helps you maintain appropriate hip and knee angles, allowing for improved position and communication with your horse.
  • Improved cardiovascular and muscle endurance support your ability to continue to ride correctly after your initial cues are given, making it easier for you to breathe and keep contact with your lower leg.

If you want to improve your riding, don’t overlook the role that improving your rider fitness can play in that process.

Tara La Bree is an avid rider who dedicated herself to rider fitness after noticing the difference it made in her own riding. She is also a certified personal trainer and Alpha Mare at Equestrength LLC. Contact Tara at [email protected].

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