I’ve been doing a bit more horse training lately. Mainly groundwork or basics under saddle with both my own ponies and a friends. I am by no means an expert on training horses but I tend to approach physical schooling problems with horses in the same way I approach training people.
How are the absolute basics or movement patterns? With my clients that’s how stable are they on single legs, can they isolate their shoulder blades, do they rotate left and right equally and can they Hip hinge and Squat.
The Squat is one I’ve seen lots of riders struggle with. The squat is much more technical than it appears. It requires stability from the hips, knees and ankles and good control of the torso.
This is why I break it down to into regressions depending on peoples’ ability.
If someone struggles with control of their torso or finds Squats painful on their knees I start with Gym Ball Squats.
If it all goes wrong in the mechanics of the up and down (lacks stability) I use Bench squats. Just using the familiar motion of standing up and down like you would many times per day makes it easier to focus on the bits that need extra work.
Using plates under the heels can help people reach depth whilst they work on ankle mobility.
Once we’ve got a solid base we can do regular bodyweight squats.
Then we can add weight with a Kettlebell/Dumbbell or a Barbell on the back or the front.
After that it’s add more weight or add instability such as bands, wobble boards etc.
The point isn’t necessarily to get to the end point.
We don’t all school our horses to get to Grand Prix, we school them to be the best athletes that can be.
That’s how you should approach your own training. It’s doesn’t have to be about becoming an all out gym bunny or weight lifter, it’s just about making your body the best that it can be.