Got an Hour a Week?

I haven’t given you some exercise to do for a while, I’ve been focusing on providing content to my private group which was set up to keep my classes going during lockdown.

However since lockdown was lifted and we went back to in person classes I’ve still been providing twice weekly in there so that everyone still has extra sessions to do outside of class.

I’ve got into the groove of posting 2 20-25 minute ish sessions, one Pilates/Strength based on a Monday and one Yoga Stretch session on a Friday. These sessions can then be done at any time so it fits around everyone’s schedule and commitments.

Everyone has found the fact that they are only short sessions means that they are much easier to squeeze in around riding, work, family etc. 

The focus of the sessions is always on improving your body for riding so working on hip, shoulder and core stability; stretching out and improving mobility in the the hips and spine and opening up the chest and generally just getting our broken, beaten up bodies to relax.

So, I’ve decided to open it up to everyone as a paid subscription service. I’m keeping it super affordable at just £5 per month -that’s less than a takeaway coffee! If you only got one session a week in that still makes it really good value.

However I appreciate you still want to see what this might be like before you jump in so there’s a link at the bottom to a week of those sessions so you can see how easy it is to fit into your week.

Put 2 slots in your diary now for when you are going to do these workouts and stick to them like you would a work meeting! Think about the effort that goes into making your horse the athlete he/she is and then ask yourself whether you think you could squeeze in less than an hour a week to focus on making yourself a better athlete? For just an extra £5!

If you’re local to me -WN8 9QP and want to join us in person I’ve got space in Wednesday morning 10 am class and Thursday 6.15pm (which is a strength & conditioning class) so for £30 per month you will get a weekly live in person class and the private group.

So here’s the link to subscribe to the group-it should take you to the Facebook group after you sign up-if not send me an email or Facebook message!


And here’s the links to those classes so you can see what you’re in for!


Are you in Control?



Do you have total control when you ride? I don’t mean control of your horse, although it helps! But are you in control of you?


Can you make your body move how you want it to, absorb the movement of your horse and remain still and quiet on top. 


Can you give aids clearly and concisely in all paces? Or once it gets to sitting trot are you a wobbly mess on top? 


If your horse sneezes or trips a little are you thrown and have to go back to walk or halt to regroup or can you remain balanced, stay in control and pick up where you left off?


The ability to do the above is about having control of your body. 


This control shouldn’t come from tension or stiffness but suppleness and stability.


Having a strong body helps but that body also needs to have flexibility to move and the awareness to know it’s movements and their reactions. 


Whilst I am a massive advocate for strength training for riders I think it is important whilst doing that training to really focus on the muscles you are using and how they move. 


This is why I am also a fan of Pilates and Yoga as they also encourage strength, flexibility and control.


The more control you can build on the ground the more you can transfer that to your riding.


There’s only so many times your instructor can bellow “keep your hands still” or “keep your lower leg still” before you need to take outside action. 


Want some help with how to take that action? I’ve got limited spaces in classes and some slots for 121 training so hit me up and start taking control today.

Are You Improving?

When I train riders I may ask them whether they rode the next day and could feel what we may have been discussing or working on in the previous session. Often this will be a particular set of muscles I want them to tune into e.g obliques/waist muscles when riding a circle.  My favourite answer is “yes and as I could still feel them from the session with you I was able to recognise them and therefore use them properly for the first time.” My least favourite answer……..”no because I was sore from the session “ 


Now it is never my intention to make anyway really sore after a session and honestly I think it’s rare that I’ve ever had anyone really struggle to walk the next day. However a little bit of muscle soreness or stiffness is inevitable and indeed necessary for improvement. You see muscle soreness happens due to tiny micro tears in the muscle which then knit back together and make the muscle stronger. That’s why it happens when you’re new to exercise or when you do a particularly heavy session or something different. The extra stimulus means your muscles want to get stronger to adapt, which is exactly what we want to happen.


Now I get it that you don’t want to be riding stiff and sore, and that’s why generally I don’t make a whole session heavy just maybe one or two exercises and the rest will be less intense. Having said that if you can feel some new muscles you’ve just learnt how to activate to improve your riding the best time to try feeling them in use whilst riding is when you can already feel them. As let’s be honest if it was easy to tap into them without a little off horse overload help you’d have been able to find them earlier wouldn’t you?


What I want you to remember is that a little bit of discomfort is all part of your body’s healing and strengthening process and you shouldn’t try and avoid it. Also if you feel a little stiff before you get on then do a few dynamic stretches to loosen up then get on and really feel those muscles working. 


Like I said last week we hate it when people say the horse does all the work so stop just focusing on whether your horse is getting stronger and improving every session and ask yourself are you?


Couple of spaces in Wednesday 10am Class and just one space in Thursday 6.15pm Strength & Conditioning Class. 

Passenger or Participant?

When you’re riding are you consciously controlling the outcome? Do you ask for trot see what happens then just start rising to whatever you’re given or do you use your seat, legs etc to ask for the trot you want whether that be faster or slower than what your horse has given you?


I think it can be really easy to get a bit lazy with riding and just go through the motions, like as long as your travelling in the direction you intended in the gait you requested then that’s good enough. Yet as riders we get extremely frustrated when people say we just sit there whilst the horses does all the work……


Now I’m not saying every ride should be like a gruelling bootcamp but you should definitely feel like you’ve put some effort in with your own body. 


If you ask for an active trot but don’t get it, then use your seat to ask for more. If you want to slow it down slow your own body down. I know this can be hard work if you aren’t used to it but riding is a sport and as the rider you should be an active participant. 


You should be using enough muscles that you are carrying your own body in self carriage which makes it much easier for the horse to then carry himself.


Perhaps ask yourself next time you ride how much you’re actually participating versus just being a passenger… might be time to up your game.


If you want some help becoming a better athlete for your horse whether that’s grass roots or Grand Prix I’ve got some limited spaces for 121 training -all outside or under the covered barn!

Pre Ride Check In

Do you do any pre ride checks? Maybe you always check your girth just before you get on, even though you literally just checked it. Perhaps you do a little stretch of your horses front legs?

Do you ever check in with how your body feels before you get on? Or how it feels when you get on?

Being aware of any tension, tightness etc before you get on or pick up your schooling means you can address them before you start. 

Before you get on just have a little check in with how your body feels. Anywhere you feel tension move it a little whether that’s arm rolls, torso rotations or some long stretchy lunges just give your body a chance to wake up and release tension.

When you get on , how do you feel? Can you feel any tension now? Do you need to adjust your position, do any stretching? Are you sat level?

I like to do a little mental check in with my body whilst I’m tacking up and putting my hat on to see which bits of me need a pre ride warm up. Ok, full disclosure I sometimes do weird long lunges and windmill arms whilst walking across the yard……….I call it a time efficient pre ride warm up.

Then when I get on whilst I’m doing the first walk around the arena seeing how the horse feels today I also check in with how I feel sat on a horse today. Do I need to drop a leg out of the stirrup to help that leg hang better? Do I need to open up my right rib cage a little more?

Once I’ve done this it means my body is much better prepared to ride as well as I can. 

Do you prepare yourself before you ride?