What do we actually do with our bodies when we ride?
Use it to help balance the horse
Control the direction, speed and tempo with it
But, in order to effectively do this we must first absorb forces with it. That is we must be able to absorb the movement of the horse underneath us and be still in control of our muscles. That’s a pretty big ask for say a 60kg woman on a 600kg horse!
So, what can we do to help us achieve this?
Firstly, riding in a neutral spine allows our bodies to be it’s most effective at absorbing force.
Neutral spine is when all of the joints of the body stack on top of one another allowing them to fully supported by the big muscles of the body to do this.
However there are also things we can add into our off horse training for shock absorption.
By being able to recruit the big glute muscles (that’s your bum) and the hip stabiliser muscles around the pelvis you are better able to absorb movement of the horse underneath you and keep your control centre that is your pelvis and spine stable.
Here are a couple of great exercises to train your shock absorption system.
Kettlebell swings. Working with kettlebells trains you to control the speed of the swing with your own body. You control the speed of the kettlebell swings and then you control the stop at the top to bring it back down.
Quick Squat Drop. If you are a regular on the dance floor on a saturday night you may know these as a sl*t drop, but basically you drop into a squat really fast, take control at the bottom and push back up.
Squat Jumps. Drop into a squat and jump back up. This can be done as a single or in a continuous pattern of squat to jump straight back to squat to jump.
Depth Jumps. That is jumping off a box, landing and then immediately jumping again
Now to up the Ante’
Single Leg Squat Drop. As with the quisk squat drop but on one leg!
Single Leg Squat Jump. Start with your back foot on a bench in a split squat position. Jump with the front foot, land and repeat.