This week I presented a demo at White Hill Stud. Also speaking was Camilla Henderson –Sports and Performance Consultant. She gave a talk on Rider Sports Psychology-It was really good and if you are interested in that sort of thing you should check her out.
Anyway, one of the things she talked about affecting confidence was competence and fitness.
This resonated with me on a number of levels. Once of course being that fitness is my business but also because from personal experience.
It stands to reason that if you feel weak and wobbly on your horse you are more likely to feel insecure. Also if you feel uncoordinated and not in control of your body this can lead to feeling unsafe.
If this is you then improving how your body performs is definitely a good place to start.
Fitness for riders can be many things dependant on their particular equestrian discipline and of course their own wants and needs.
A few key areas to look at are:
- Flexibility and Mobility. Having a good range of movement from head to foot ensures your body is able to function uninhibited and without restriction. As riders we do not need extreme flexibility like a gymnast, but any areas where you do not have an average range of movement needs addressing even if I’d does not seem to directly affect your riding. This is because we are joined from head to foot via muscles, tendons and fascia and a restriction in the left foot could possibly affect the function of the rider shoulder and vice versa and all its variants.
- This refers to balance and muscle strength. Again this does not need to be extreme Strongman style strength but good muscular tone enables us to have better control of our bodies reaction to the horse underneath us and enables us to better hold our position without force or tension.
- This is a fancy way of saying body awareness and co-ordination. If alongside strength you are able to properly control your body and its reactions this will enable you to feel infinitely more in control and therefore safer as a result of it.
- Cardio fitness essentially refers to your lung capacity and in simple terms your ability to keep going without passing out! In terms of riding the fitter you are the longer you will be better able to breathe and transport oxygen around your body for energy, but also the longer you will have the physical capabilities to keep giving clear aids and remain in control of your body and also keep a clear mind. The level and type of cardio you require will be different depending on your particular discipline. E.g. a Showjumper needs fitness for a short, fast round like a sprinter, whereas a Cross Country eventer needs fitness for more of a marathon style event.
So, if you do feel that your body needs a little improvement to help you improve in the saddle I hope this has given you an idea of where to start.
If you would like more specific help I offer 121 in person and on line coaching so get in touch!