I’ve been watching some of the tennis this week and in between matches they have been showing cameras behind the scenes where players are warming up. The nerd in me found this bit way more interesting than the matches!
The players aren’t hitting balls and just playing tennis to warm up, they were doing a series of activation exercises clearly all specific to them. Things like fast banks rotations or arm pull overs designed to prepare the muscles for what they’re about to do on the court.
It got me thinking whether if you went behind the scenes before a Dressage competition or on Cross Country day would we see the same thing?
Probably not. I’m sure you may find the odd rider doing a few stretches or activation exercises, but the majority will be getting straight on and focusing on warming their horse up.
Of course if anyone ever says the horse does all the work you’ll strongly disagree-“have you ever tried to get half a ton of animal to follow instructions?” Riding requires you to do a lot of things with your body. So why don’t you prepare it for that before you get on?
So, what sort of things should you do to prepare your body for riding?
Think Seat - Activating your hips and glutes with some Crab Squats and Side Lunges
Rein Contact-Open your chest with some T Arm rotations then activate your back and shoulders with some scapular retractions or dumb waiters.
Then add anything else that may be personal issues to your body such as opening up one side or stretching out a calf