In my classes and with my 1 2 1 Clients, I train shoulders and backs a lot. This surprises people as they expect it to be all about the core. However in terms of riding your back and shoulders are part of your core. They are a vital part of your torso box and it’s over all stability as well as the foundation of your rein contact.
In order to absorb the movement of your horse underneath you, you need to be equally strong in torso back and front. In order to be able to truly ride with an independent and soft, giving hand you need a stable foundation at the shoulders. If your rein contact comes from your chest and your arms whether you think you are or not, you are bracing against your horse.
I have coached several riders with “strong” horses that as soon as they stop trying to resist the horse with their arms and instead just form a solid base at their shoulders and relax their arms the horse stops fighting.
Also if like me you have a wishy washy rein contact, or perhaps find your arms straight out in front of you (it’s like I forget I have elbows!) just focusing on retracting the shoulder blades brings your elbows back and firms up your contact.
So, what are these mysterious back exercises…..?
Well depending on where you do your training and what equipment you have access to there are loads of variations you can do.
If you train in a gym things like Dumbbell bent over row, Narrow Grip Cable Row, Lat Pull down are great rider specific back exercises. Just ensure you are focusing on using the muscles between your shoulders blades and not tensing up your shoulders.
If perhaps you have a resistance band you can do Narrow Row and Rein Position Band Pull aparts (Dumb waiters with a band if you are a Pilates fan).
Without equipment? Then Dumb waiters, Tricep Press Ups, Superman Pull Down.
For examples of these exercises go to my YouTube channel or keep an eye on my Social Media this week as I will be posting them after this blog goes out today across the week.
What do you struggle with in your rein contact?