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.