Have you ever wondered what goes into an equestrian workout? Do you have certain things you do to build strength and keep the adrenaline pumping? Also do you have a special diet that helps keep your weight in check? Being an equestrian means more than just riding and you have to keep yourself in check on and off the horse. Here are some ways I prepare myself for success:
One of the things I really have started watching when riding is my diet. I found that if I eat really heavy before a ride I am not as successful as when I am lighter. Snack foods are awesome right before a ride because you get just the right amount of carbs you need. Also they help to get your energy level up if it is feeling low (kind of like Starbucks coffee lol). Anyways after your ride you might want to eat a light dinner so you don’t become tired and exhausted after you have worked hard. Sometimes I feel like a heavier meal makes you feel worse especially on a hot day. Below is a list of things I like to eat and drink to keep my body in check:
Vitamin Water-Focus, XXX
Granola Bars (oatmeal)
There are plenty of others out there but these are some of my favorites!!!
Off the Horse Workout:
To be successful in the saddle it is important to remember that you want to make some time for an out of saddle workout. This really helps build the strength you need to help you use your aids correctly. Each part of the both works in different ways due to doing so many different things at once. Here are some ways to build your body up:
Leg Exercises: lunges, squats, chair touches, squat jumps, box jumps, running, etc.
Arms: weights (whatever you can handle), planks, push ups, etc.
Core: sit ups (font and side), crunches, raised knee, etc.
These are all important and the more you do them the more steady you will be able to hold your body while in the saddle. I know I have built a lot of strength and found that I have way better balance than I did before. This is especially important due to riding dressage where balance is key. Try to do these workouts at least 30 minutes a night to achieve maximum results.
Strength Building in the Saddle:
Now that we have accomplished our out of the saddle workout it is important to remember exercises while in the saddle. These workouts are a little bit different but can help build your strength even more. One of the best things I ever did was work closely with my trainer to achieve my results due to her knowing what to do and how to be more effective. Lunge exercises are amazing because you really learn how to feel your horse and use your body loosely without worrying about reins and stirrups. Dropping those and using my core, seat and legs has really helped build the muscles I need to ride my horse from back to front. After about 3 weeks I am already seeing better results. Most people don’t like the idea of bring on a lunge and don’t understand the benefits it can have. I achieved results with it and so can you, just give it a shot!! Most professionals will tell you the same thing.
The things I mentioned above have helped me become and better rider and I hope you can find a workout that suits you also. Remember to be patient and just let the results come. Also have fun with it and like my trainer says “enjoy the journey”.