Back Pain affecting your Riding?

I see a lot of back pain in the riders that I work with, it’s a bit of a joke that we don’t have a full set of good vertebrae between us!


To be honest it’s not a huge surprise that many riders suffer with back pain as the very act of riding involves absorbing the force of half a ton underneath you, as well as the day to day sh!t shovelling, carrying bags of feed, water buckets etc. Add to that the pushing and shoving you’ve been subjected to and not to mention the falls. We riders give our bodies a fair battering!


I’ve got plenty of ladies in my classes that have back problems and I have been working with back pain clients for several years, including working on my own back pain. 


I think it’s really sad when riders feel like they need to give up riding as it causes them pain, I get extra sad when it’s because a Dr told them not to ride! 


Firstly, because there are so many ways you can assist your back that will lessen if not cure your back pain. 


Secondly because sedentary lifestyles are actually worse for your back than riding so stopping isn’t necessarily going to fix you.


Most importantly, why should you have to give up the sport that you love. This disregards the many benefits of riding from the fresh air, the exercise and the mental health benefits many of us experience through our horses. 


So, I make it my mission to not accept that someone can’t get back riding after experiencing back pain. However what I will say is that it will involve some hard physical work and a positive attitude but you’re an Equestrian so you’ve got this!


The spine needs both mobility and stability to function well. To clarify it needs to be flexible and strong. One or the other isn’t going to do. If you have mobility but lack strength the muscles will be unable to stabilise ….and they will get sore trying. If the spine is strong but lacks flexibility it will be unable to absorb movement and essentially brace to try and do this…..and it will get sore trying. 


So here’s a couple of moves I like to start with.


Firstly we need some mobility to the spine.


Cat Cow….or Hollow Back and Rodeo horse if you’re in my class.


Then we need some stability both at the front and the back.


A great starter exercise is Bird Dogs, which can be done from the floor, or made harder by lifting the knees. It’s really important to focus on form with this exercise as the back must stay flat -which requires you to work your front and your back at the same time.

Now this is just a tiny starter on back pain as it is such a huge topic and there are many different ways to tackle it that may depend on individuals starting points. So if you are struggling and you want some help I’ve got a couple of spots for 121 training available in which we could really get you riding strong and pain free again.

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