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5 Key Exercises Guaranteed to Improve Your Riding

no_stirrups55Whatever your goals are, make yourself a better rider by including these pro tips to establish a more secure seat…

1. Work on developing position and balance – these are two key points you must focus on to improve your riding. Exercises such as trotting in a light/two point position around the school (or the field if you do not have an arena) are useful. Incorporate a cavalletti – still in trot, as you improve. Move on to jumping a small grid (in the arena) with your hands on your hips to further develop balance (secure the reins with a knot!) Ensure you use a sensible horse to perfect these exercises, a run out without reins might not be so productive!

2. The third key point that must not be overlooked is “feel”. Once you know the basics and you are secure in the saddle learn to “listen” to your horse.
Riding is not automatic and requires more than just physical ability and talent, remember every horse is different and understanding ‘feel’ is important. Exercises such as quick transitions from walk/tot/walk, then trot/canter/trot, progressing on to canter/walk/canter will help you gain understanding of your horse’s way of going. Listen to your horse and the way he is reacting to your aids, feel where he likes or dislikes to feel your legs and how much (or little) pressure he responds to, and gauge the amount of ‘weight’ he likes you to have in your hands.

3. Lunge work is extremely beneficial. Get an experienced person to assist so while they are lunging you on the horse they can help you with direction. You can practice riding without stirrups, without reins, then without both. This will help increase your balance and strengthen your muscles and your position.

4. Once stronger in the saddle try a new exercise.  Add a small amount of rising trot without stirrups in to your routine, although don’t over do it or you will start to grip with your legs. This is a useful exercise to strengthen your leg muscles.

5. Learning to ride in rhythm is the key to every discipline. Try this exercise. Place two jump poles one after the other with an average of 21m between them. Ride over them in 5-6 strides (this will depend on size and stride length of horse), once you know how many strides feel comfortable for your horse, shorten your stride to add one. Then go back to ‘comfortable striding’ for a round. Then lengthen again to take a stride away. Keep varying the distance so you learn to adjust the canter in order to achieve the correct rhythm and length of stride to get it right. Make sure you adjust early enough to be balanced and rhythmical by the time you reach the first pole.

Work these exercises in to your riding routine and in a short time you will start to feel improved balance, confidence and awareness of your body.

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Posted in Dressage, Eventing, Rider Fitness, Riding Tips, Showjumping
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2 Comments on 5 Key Exercises Guaranteed to Improve Your Riding

  1. Reblogged this on Equestrians Are Athletes and commented:
    Often, it’s the simplest exercises that can make the biggest difference. Some great tips on establishing a more secure seat!

    Katelyn | 28/05/2015 at 3:58 am ()
  2. Reblogged this on cmcox72885's Blog.

    cmcox72885 | 20/07/2015 at 10:07 pm ()