We all want to improve our balance and strength as riders.

This seems to be a never ending learning process
and a continued goal of riders at all levels and in any discipline.

There are many mounted exercises in the saddle you can do to build
balance,
strength,
coordination,
and improved posture.

But let’s face it…..

we do not all have the ability to have someone on the ground to help us,
or always have the time to put into the saddle.

Perhaps you have a horse you are focusing on groundwork with and are not riding yet.

So here’s a way to strengthen your body awareness with exercises you can do anywhere.

YES I mean anywhere!

In traffic while you are driving,
while you are walking around at the grocery store,
even doing laundry.

Core strength and body/muscle awareness are the KEY to good posture
and balance when you are riding.

(Yes, we all know that but might not always practice that…right?)

Here are a couple exercises to help you gain more body/muscle awareness as well as help your core and posture for riding…

While Sitting;

In a chair or in your car use this focused time for 5 minutes at a time.

Short spurts help you become aware of the muscle groups you are calling on.

Focus for 5 minutes and then relax.

Then focus for 5 minutes and then relax.

Use this throughout the day or throughout a drive home as many different times as you can.

Start at the bottom….

literally…

sit so you your hip is straight up and down with even pressure on both seat bones.

You do not want a tilt forward nor back in your pelvis
so think of your hip bones pointing straight out ahead of you,
not up or down.
Allow your weight to be on both seat bones evenly.

Next, you will stretch up through the front of body
lift up through your core,
stretching up through every rib and chest up and out.
Shoulders are back in alignment with your hip but relaxed.

Keeping the stretch up in your body tighten through your core or abdominal
and image allowing your very top rib to come under your chest bone.

Hold for a second then relax and repeat.

Holding the same body position
tighten your core or abdominal muscles out
and them imagine someone was taking a swing at your stomach
like you were going to absorb the punch
allowing your core muscles to contract inward and tightening.

(As you do these exercises of tighten and release
notice that your seat does not shift and your seat muscles to not tighten.
You are practicing calling on only your core without engaging the seat or hip.)

Next exercise….

Keep your stretch up with chest out,
shoulders relaxed back (no tightness or tension in shoulders)
and shift your seat only.

Tighten the left seat muscle,
then relax.
Tighten the right seat muscle,
then relax.

Do this over and over for a couple minutes.

Make sure your legs and feet are not moving.

(If you are in a chair keep both feet hip width apart and flat on the floor.
If you are driving just be aware that your feet are not shifting nor your legs.)

Now tighten both seat muscles together then relax.

Make sure you are not pulling your hips
just using your seat
and that you do not break at the middle or stomach
you are still lifting and stretching up.

Do you notice when you tighten both seat muscles that one side is tighter or stronger compared to the other?

Work on tightening both sides the same. (This can take some practice)

While Walking;

It is the same concept and idea but you are now standing and walking not sitting on your seat bone.

You want to do focused spurts.

Keep your seat and hip aligned so your hip angle is not tilted forward.

Next you will stretch up through the front of body
lift up through your core,
stretching up through every rib and chest up and out.

Shoulders are back in alignment with your hip but relaxed.

Keep the stretch up in your body,
tighten your core or abdominal muscles
and image allowing your very top rib to come under your chest bone.

Hold for a second then relax and repeat.

Then for a couple seconds holding the same body position
tighten your core or abdominal muscles out and
then imagine someone was taking a swing at your stomach
like you were going to absorb the punch allowing your core muscles
to contract inward and tightening.

(As you do these exercises of tighten and release notice that your seat does not shift
and your seat muscles do not tighten.
You are practicing calling on only your core without engaging the seat or hip.)

As you walk, keep your stretch and straight alignment up through your core and chest and shoulder.

Imagine as if you were pushing forward with your seat and hip not walking with feet first as you walk.

Then relax, re-align and do it again.

I am sure I look odd to those in the grocery store….
but I use focused bursts of body alignment and awareness
as I am walking the aisles of the grocery store.

I am multitasking and keeping it fun.

You can go to the next level and be aware of your body
and using your core to tighten and lift or contract as you reach for things.
Keeping the alignment with the hip angle and seat as well.

Have FUN with these exercises!

There is so much we can do to improve our horsemanship even when we are not on our horse.