Whenever you start a new physical activity, be it a new sport or a new workout regimen, you need to make sure that you are in the right physical shape for it. Same goes for horseback riding, which involves a number of major and minor muscles, including shoulders, back, biceps and triceps, inner and outer thighs and abdominal muscles. You need to work on all these muscles before starting horse riding. Having a good posture, compatible with horseback riding, not only helps you maintain good balance without using reins but also maximizes your ability to control your horse while riding. Here are a few exercises that can help you strengthen and tone the muscles that are used during horse riding.
Walk up to the stairs in your home and stand on the stair that is closest to the ground. Hold the staircase railing and balance your body on the balls of your feet. Slowly stretch your body forward, while lowering your heels until you feel the stretch in your calves. Hold for a count of ten before returning to the original position. This will help improve your balance and strengthen your calf muscles as well. Once you have practiced this exercise a number of time, and feel like having mastered the stirrup stretch, you can try without holding the railing, but start by balancing only for a few seconds and then increasing the time gradually.
Take a rubber or synthetic ball, at least a foot in diameter and sit on a hard chair with your knees perpendicular to the floor. Maintaining the position, slide to the edge of the chair until your thighs are completely off it. Now hold the beach ball between your knees. Squeeze the ball between your knees for a count of 15 and then release it. Do this exercise a few times a day until holding the ball for 15 seconds becomes easy. Then increase to 20, 25, 30 and so on. This will increase your ability to hang onto the horse and holding the horseback with your thighs.
Strong abdominal muscles are essential for good riding. In horse riding it is often said that “good riding is abdominal riding”. This means you should make maximum use of abdominal muscle while riding. Do sit ups for five minutes two to five times a day. You can also do sit ups with a work-out ball.