Improving Your Core Strength for Stability in the Saddle
Riders are becoming increasingly aware of their own fitness and the impact it has on their ability and the performance of their horse. Overall fitness is important but having good core strength can transform your riding.
Your core muscles support your spine and hips and are engaged when you carry out most everyday tasks. If you have ever pulled a muscle is this area you will know the pain at the slightest movement.
Core stability is vital for horse riders to be able to move more freely with the horse and not lose balance in the saddle, resulting in using the reins to steady yourself or your knees to grip.
A strong core will also help you stay in the centre of the saddle, so if your horse spooks, you are less likely to fall off and injure yourself.
Event rider and trainer, Harriet Morris-Baumber never misses an opportunity to work on her core strength, building simple exercises into her daily routine.
“I make a conscious effort to engage my core muscles at any given opportunity. Standing waiting for the water bucket to fill, filling the kettle up, carrying water buckets, emptying the wheelbarrow, carrying a haynet, sat at my desk doing emails, every moment is a chance to engage my core and build strength and condition in the muscles. These are all things you don’t have to make extra time for; you just need to start the habit,”
When Harriet is in the saddle she is always engaging her core muscles, whether she is having a leisurely stroll out hacking or riding cross-country. Harriet constantly corrects her position and thinks about how she is sitting, and whether her weight is evenly distributed.
Improving your Core Strength
To develop more dynamic core strength, Harriet uses a power hoop, which is a weighted, foam padded, hoola hoop.
Core exercises like the plank improve static strength but the power hoop helps improve the core muscles whilst moving. This simulates the ability to engage the muscles when on the move, just like when you are riding a horse.
Being able to engage your core and move is a key skill to develop to improve your riding performance.
With just three to four minutes a day, you will start to notice a real difference and it is fun!
Harriet also has her own ‘Rock on Ruby’; a see-saw-like, training device developed by her coach, Christopher Bartle, to demonstrate to riders exactly how their position can affect the horse. Even just looking down with your eyes has an effect on ‘Ruby’ and makes the front end start to tip forward.
“Just five minutes on ‘Rock on Ruby’ is enough to trigger the right muscles into action and this makes a huge difference to my riding,” added Harriet.
Harriet is available for dressage, show-jumping and cross-country lessons at her base near York.
To find out more call Harriet on (07795) 562745 or visit www.harriet-morris-baumber.co.uk