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  • Mary Kate McCaughey

Yoga for Horse Riders

Updated: Feb 5

I know a lot of us are starting to feel like Waldo, napping away. But - while not being able to go out; there are exercises you can do at home to keep up your muscle tone and endurance. While running can help keep your endurance maintained, yoga will help keep muscle tone. Yoga will assist with common muscle/body imbalances found in horse riders, too.

Yoga has many aspects that will benefit any rider, new or experienced. The basis of yoga, body awareness, is multifaceted. Awareness of your breathing pattern is crucial when practicing yoga. This awareness can be used to help calm a nervous horse by our breathing. Proprioception, the spatial awareness of our body parts, is another benefit and may help us be more cognizant of our body and our movements when riding. Better posture, flexibility, and muscle tone are additional benefits (Sansom, 2012).

Most riders have an imbalance in their core muscles. Balance is crucial when riding, and our bodies are constantly making tiny adjustments to stay on and stay in control. Our muscles tighten to do so, and that can increase chances of injury. An instable core leads to tight hips and tension in the spine, shoulders, and neck. Yoga will help with these adjustments and help with overall posture. We must treat ourselves like we assess our horses - rating ourselves on our fitness and other abilities. Just like a horse goes through the basics first, so must we. Better balance and body awareness makes a better rider that will progress faster (Sansom, 2012).

There are many ways to get started in yoga. Currently, the best ways would be finding an online class or watching lessons on YouTube.

Here are a few poses to focus on for better riding:

Hip Openers

- Child's Pose

- Pigeon Pose

- Butterfly

- Eagle Pose

-Lizard Pose

Core Strengtheners

- Plank

- Boat Pose

- Chair

- Dolphin Pose

Arm Strengtheners

- Thread the Needle

- Backward Hand Clasp

- Eagle Pose

Whole-Body Focus

- Cat/Cow

- Cobra Pose

- Upward Dog

- Warrior Variations

- Fish Pose

This is a small selection of poses out there (Sansom, 2012). Following a video is the best recommendation for safety to get you started. Adding a bit of yoga to your exercise regimen will help strengthen and lengthen your muscles at the same time while improving balance, coordination, and body awareness. We hope to see these improvements when lessons are back up and running!

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Works Cited

“Flexibility: Interview with Yoga for Riders Specialist Louise Sattler.” Horse Journals, 27 Mar. 2012, www.horsejournals.com/flexibility-interview-yoga-riders-specialist-louise-sattler.

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