Keeping on track for Chri…….

Ok, it still feels a but early for me but I’m going to mention C word…..

Yep, December is racing towards us which means many of you will be off into a tail spin of Office parties, parties with friends, family etc. 

Add into that cold, dark nights, maybe rain, wind, ice…...and it can be hard to get motivated to do anything!

Which means your riding and your riding fitness can go out of the window.

Lots of people also just give up and say they’ll get back on it in January, as there is just no point with all the upheaval.

To that I say horsesh!t! Well you’ll probably still be shovelling it so you may as well keep on track with the good bits!

The thing is firstly accepting that yes you may not be able to put in a perfect performance with your riding and fitness in December but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing.Think about how much harder it will be to get started in January if you haven’t even kept the habit up! Not to mention the extra work you’ll have to put in when it’s still wet and cold to get you on track for your spring and summer goals.

Get your diary out now and slot in all your socialising and then plan your riding and your fitness around it. 

Maybe you’ll have to shorten your sessions but 20 minutes of schooling can be hugely beneficial as can 20 minutes of exercise whether that is Cardio, weights or yoga. 

Whatever it is you plan to do to keep yourself ticking over make a plan so when you’re a bit frazzled you don’t need to then plan your schooling and exercise sessions as well!

Maybe you could book into for some Christmas fun rides, fancy dress Dressage or Pole clinics to keep you on track.

I’m taking on a walk 50 miles in 12 days challenge to keep me exercising when busyness threatens to over whelm me.

I’ve also got an even better idea that will cover both your schooling and your exercise motivation-why not sign up to the OnForm Equestrian Advent Challenge! 24 days of schooling and exercise sessions with weekly check ins to keep you on track and help you along the way if you get stuck……..all for only £24! Head over to our page to sign up -

Challenge Your Coordination

One of the key things in riding is coordination and quick reactions. 

The whole inside leg, outside rein, steer, change gait all whilst being on top of an animal with a mind of it’s own and your body’s reaction to all of that; it’s a lot huh!

Your reaction time isn’t just relevant for the oh sh!t moment’s, it’s the whole ride with your body adjusting and adapting to the horse underneath you. A quick reacting rider can prevent a horse falling in or out, they can react to an unbalanced horse and help him out or deal with any change in tempo.

One thing that is super interesting about children that do lots of different sporting activities whilst they are young, is that as adults they find it easier to pick up new sporting activities even if they’ve never done them before. So those kids that did football, hockey, tennis, skied etc. then go to the gym as adults and take up something technical like Olympic lifting and they are more likely to pick it up quicker than someone who only did one sport.

This is because the nervous system is primed to respond to lot’s of different patterns, not just one pattern of movement.

Which tells us that in order to improve our coordination on horse we do not necessarily need to make it riding specific. 

So, just have fun with it!

If you want to start adapting to movement underneath you, sitting on a gym ball is a good place to start. You can just sit with feet on the floor then once you’ve got that you can try lifting your feet. 

If you want to try improving your coordination, you can start simply with throwing and catching a ball-you could do that on the gym ball if you fancy a bit more of a challenge.

You could try a funky shaped reaction ball, that when you bounce it fires off in a random direction.

You could also do exactly what the kids do. Try a different sport! Kick a Football, try a dance class whatever you like. 

In order to be a better Equestrian Athlete you need to be a better all round Athlete.

PS. Keep an eye out for an exciting upcoming partnership with Stephanie Dootson Veterinary Physiotherapy starting out with an Advent Challenge designed to improve both you and your horses performance across 24 days with help and support along the way.

Glutes for a good seat

We’ve been talking booty’s a fair bit this week! 

Not for aesthetic reasons; although a solid peach is no bad thing! The Glutes are the biggest muscle in the body and are a huge player in stabilising the pelvis and the spine. That means they are a huge player in managing pain and injury in these areas and also an absolute necessity for a stable position whilst riding. 

If your glutes are able to work effectively, absorbing the movement of the horse underneath you they take the load off your joints, in particular your spine. This is hugely beneficial for back pain. 

Also, if your glutes are conditioned enough to work well without becoming over stressed or tense this gives you a much better chance of having a stable but relaxed seat.

Basically building a booty is an absolute key element for riders.

So, rather than sell you on it’s benefits just trust me and let’s get to it!

Here’s a little circuit I’d love you to add into your routine 2 - 3 times per week and you can start ti feel the benefits building a booty can bring!

Bridge-Harder option put your feet on a bench or gym ball


Hyper Extension -Harder option do on a gym ball

Training for Pressure

I spent Wednesday listening to a talk by Charlie Unwin and Jason Webb. Charlie said some interesting things about athletes during a game, about to start a race etc still being in a stressed state but being able to think clearly and perform well. 

This makes sense as anyone about to go into a competition will have a level of adrenalin and that is not necessarily a bad thing, but you need to be able to perform with that high state of arousal and not let it overwhelm you.

This gave me some ideas for training this in the Equestrian without having to continuously go out competing. 

As I predominantly work with riders off horse I thought of some fun ways this skill could be incorporated into a gym session.

Here’s some ideas I’m thinking of testing out with my clients.

Reciting Dressage tests whilst doing something else.

On the Rower-Row to a point at which you start to breathe fairly heavy but can still talk, continue rowing whilst reciting a Dressage test. If you can keep an eye on your stroke rate try and keep it the same!

You could use any cardio I’m just basing this around what I’ve got in my gym.

Performing stability and co-ordination exercises whilst reciting a Dressage test. So, maybe standing on balance pods or kneeling on a gym ball, throwing and catching a ball. 

It doesn’t have to be a Dressage test it could be a jumping course you talk through or a X Country round you memorise and talk yourself through the flow of the course, the striding etc whilst doing something else taxing.

Obviously these activities won’t necessarily create the same adrenaline but going full Squid Game seems a bit harsh! 

Have you got any other fun ideas for incorporating this into gym work?

Are you going to have a go at one of these?