I don’t think it’s a new concept that Pilates is good for riders, but exactly why is it such a good off horse training method.
Pilates cites it fundamental principles as.
So, if we were masters of these qualities in our own bodies do you reckon that would make you a better rider? Damn right it would!
As an Equipilates ™️ instructor I often incorporate breathing exercises into my classes, in particular exercises that can then be used on horse to address issues such as tension, straightness or the obvious not breathing during a lesson!
Concentration is a vital part of riding. It can be so difficult to completely focus on what you are doing when often there can be lots of distractions in the form of other horses and people, maybe general activity in and around the yard and topped off with whatever else is going on in your life and therefore your head right now. Concentration can be practiced as a skill which over time will transfer to your riding and other areas of your life.
Centering is connecting with your core. I’m sure you’re aware that a good core is a huge benefit for riding, and being able to really connect and control it whilst on a horse will improve your balance and aids no end. Your arms and legs need a solid base from which to move, this alongside the ability to absorb the horses movement underneath you is the job of a stable core.
Control-Being able to have awareness and control of the muscles being activated enables you give precise, clear aids. It enables you to correct yourself where necessary and assist in correcting your horse and remain n balance.
Precision-As just mentioned, controlled precise aids are clear aids. Your horse may well be listening to you but you aren’t getting the answer that you want because your question isn’t right. Precision is key.
Flow. This really ties to principles together. The ability to move fluidly with control and precision is when riding looks to outsiders to be effortless. Harmony in your own body will help to create harmony with your horse.
Here are a couple of my favourite Equipilates™️ exercises to help with these key principles.
Drop drop Dead Bug