Every time you ride each muscle in your body needs to work to control and stabilise your joints.
As I have mentioned before, riding in neutral spine, with Shoulder, Hip, Heel alignment enables all of the joints of the body to line up correctly and therefore be in the best position absorb the movement of the horse beneath you. However they can't do this without the muscles to help hold them there.
The stronger those muscles are the better they will do this and the easier they will find it.
Add to this that as many riders have spent years being bashed about and thrown off, they inevitably carry a few injuries. The most common injuries i see in my clients are back, hip and knee injuries. The best way to manage and support these injuries both on and off horse is to build strong muscles to both support the joints and heal damaged tissues.
So, if you want to ride in true self carriage, in control of your aids and hopefully pain free the answer lies in building strong muscles.
I know we think that pushing wheelbarrows and carrying feed makes us strong but in reality the majority of us don't lift correctly and also favour one side making us asymmetrical and at risk of injury. Secondly, these activities don't make us full body functional strong.
If you're new to exercise a good Pilates class is a good place to start but for the strength seen in the likes of Charlotte Dujardin some proper weight lifting is required.
It doesn't need to be overly complicated or hours of training but some basic Barbell Squats, Deadlifts combined with a Bent Over Row and Press Ups will start to build you a solid base from top to bottom.
If you'd like some help I've set up a lifting area in a stable next to the studio-so you don't have to even go to a gym! I've got just a few slots available for 121 training so hit reply if you'd like to become a serious Equestrian Athlete this year!