Last week I attended a course by Andy Thomas, who is the physio for many of the top level Equestrians including the British and American teams.
We discussed pre ride warm ups. Of course it is common place to warm your horse up at the beginning of every ride, but what about yourself?
I rarely see riders do anything to prepare themselves for the schooling session, Dressage test etc.
With any other sport athletes perform a warm up before they start. The purpose is to prepare the body for the work you are about to ask it to do.
For riding I also think it is important to realign the body before you start as hours spent hunched over desks, driving or doing yard work are not conducive to a good riding position.
So how should you warm up to ride?
Firstly we need to switch on the muscles we are about to use, and in some circumstances release any that are “hypertonic “ or “over tight” as I explain it to clients.
Which muscles are you going to use? The short answer is of course all of them but most importantly the legs and glutes, the core/back muscles.
I find it also helpful to switch on my stabiliser muscles by doing some balance work.
I know this sounds like a lot of things to do and perhaps like something that involves needing a gym or equipment before you’ve even got on your horse.
That is absolutely not the case, in just 2-4 moves for just a couple of minutes before you get on I promise will make the world of difference to your ride.
I’ve done a couple of routines that you can try out, either separately or altogether depending on how you feel.
I have used Dumb Waiters to switch on my back muscles, reverse lunges to a standing balance to switch on legs, glutes and the stabilisers.
In another I have used press ups on a mounting block to switch on the back/core and crab walks for legs, glutes and hip stabilisers.