2 Year Anniversary

This week my little Equestrian Fitness Studio turned 2 years old!


I started with 1 class which has now built to 5 classes and also 1 2 1 clients for both training and sports massage.


This is not a “look how great I am” blog but I do want to talk about the little community we have in our classes.


Each class is filled with women from different back grounds, different horses, experience and aspirations and each week we come together with the same goal in mind “to get better for the benefit of our horses”. 


It’s become more than that though. Each week we talk about our horse trials and tribulations, we just listen and don’t judge different approaches and of course we celebrate the wins. By this I don’t just mean the competitions although we celebrate a clear round as much as a qualification to the nationals; but it’s also the other stuff that happens from hard work.


E.g riding a straight line on a young horse! Surviving a tiny hack up the road, in fact sometimes it’s surviving just mounting up and walking around an area on a lead rein as these are all huge achievements at some point on the journey.


Genuine friendships have been formed, often other class members are cheering each other on at shows, and on social media. 


I think what we help each other with is realising that you are not alone. It’s realising that even those who go out competing every week suffer with nerves, it’s realising that the girl riding the warmblood has the same problems and worries as the girl riding the cob.


I think we have all learnt to be a little easier on ourselves, as let’s face it having horses is sometimes hard. We do it in the most part for fun and as a hobby, but add in work and family, the financial implications of horses etc sometimes fitting it in and paying for it can be a struggle and when stuff isn’t going right that can make it tough. 


So firstly be kinder to yourself for going out there every day and still just being with your horses at whatever level that is. Follow your own journey to your own destination and don’t compare it to someone else’s.


Secondly just be kinder to your fellow Equestrians. For the most part most of us are just doing our best for our horses with the knowledge and tools we have available. We may disagree on certain things but it’s important to remember there is more than one route to most destinations so let others take their own path.


Also, don’t be too sucked into the perfection you see on Social Media….the ones where their financial status and lifestyle is so far removed from yours but there you are berating yourself for not being as good as them.


Let me tell you,  the average Equestrian woman comes to my class and she is anything but average, in fact they’re all bloody amazing…..so if you’re reading this you probably are too!


Right, enough motivational chat from me back to working on your muscle next week! 


However if you’d like to join us amazing Equestrians I have space in Tuesday 7.30pm and Wednesday 9.30am so hit reply of you would like to join us.

Stable Hands Stable Seat

So, last week we talked about creating a connection across the full body to enable both stable hands and stable hips to fire at the same time-it’s tough I know!


We worked on a Turkish Get Up which is a great exercise that can be done at home to improve your ability to stabilise your hips and shoulders at the same time.


This week I want to look at some exercises that can be added to your gym routine. 


The Overhead Squat - With a Barbell over your head, arms wide, squat low keeping your arms just behind your head (they might try and creep forward).


Forward Lunge Overhead press. This adds some slightly more tricky movement to co-ordinate and it’s really important to try and lunge and press at EXACTLY the same time.


The Deadlift-on the face of it you think this is just lower body however to maintain good posture getting the bar off the floor you need to retract your shoulder blades and really work hard to stabilise as you lift. Also, working to pull some serious weight off the floor will make a huge difference to your overall strength which in turn will not only make riding a bit easier but also all those heavy lifting yard jobs…..so you’ll have more energy to ride!


Gym work might feel like the last thing you want to be doing after riding and yard work but as a rider you are an athlete, you expect your horse to be fit for purpose so you should be too! The stronger and fitter you are, the better your body is able to cope with all that riding and mucking out. You will have more energy and find work easier and bar the unavoidable stamping and bashing you will be les prone to injury and general aches and pains.


If you would like to up your strength work I have space for 1 2 1 Clients, so hit reply and we can get started.

When you seat and hands………..at the same time!

Do you ever find when you’re riding that you get your leg right but then your hands are everywhere or your contact is spot on but your lower leg is flapping around like it’s ready for take off, sort of like you can have one or the other but never both together! 


This is totally me! I struggle with my rein contact as a rule (great choice to take up carriage driving!) but sometimes I get it just right and then I’ll hear “what’s your lower leg doing?” Erm it’s best, it’s doing it’s best……..


Of course then my seat and my legs are going great guns and instead my hands are verging on useless…..


There is of course ways to help this and it is just a matter of teaching your body to work as a stable unit from top to toe. 


If you can focus on off horse exercises that involve stabilising the shoulders at the same time as the hips and legs it will be an awful lot easier when you’re back on the horse to do the same. 


I’m going to start with what is essentially a fairly basic ( not necessarily easy) movement pattern.


The Turkish Get Up!

Basically from lying down with one hand in the air holding a weight you proceed to kneeling then standing and then do the movement in reverse. The added weight encourages you to stabilise your shoulder and of course the act of getting up to standing requires hip stability so that’s head to toe stability sorted.


You don’t need any particular weight just a bottle of water will do. 


Now get practicing that for this week and next week we’ll look at some more advanced exercises you can do to work on your full body strength. 

Mindful Riding

When you’re riding do you ever really focus on exactly what you’re doing and feeling? 


Not just focusing on the movement your are doing or the aids but how your own body feels and how it’s reacting, how your horse feels and their reactions to you. 


This is  Mindful riding . The act of switching off from your day and what is going on around you to focus on the present moment of riding your horse and how that feels right now. 


Sometimes in my classes we do exercises on body awareness and I ask them to close their eyes as it helps to focus on what you can feel happening in your body. 


I’m not suggesting riding with your eyes closed -although if you have a safe horse doing just a few steps with your eyes closed can be really helpful. 


I am suggesting trying to be really present on what your body is doing, how does it feel? Are you sat level and light ? Do you give equal aids left to right?


Is you horse responsive to your aids? How does your horse feel? Is he relaxed or tense? 


Just spending some time tuning in and really focusing on you and your horse can really help in knowing what you need to do to move forward in your partnership.


Give it a go and let me know how you get on!