Exercises to Ride.
The following exercises may help improve the balance and muscle tone you need to ride a horse safely.
1. Sartorius Riding Muscle
Sit on your butt in a chair that has wheels, like an office chair, and put a basketball between your knees. Now try rolling the chair across the room using your feet. You can’t hold onto the basketball after one or two steps. This posture prevents your inner thigh muscles from being able to grab the basketball when you use your feet to walk the chair.
Now try sitting on the chair by rocking forward on your pelvis and putting a slight arch in your back. Put the basketball between your knees and try walking the chair. It’s now easier because the angle of the lower back and pelvic cradle control the strength and agility of the inner thigh muscles.
This exercise tones your rump and thighs and builds your riding (sartorius) muscles:
Get a soft play ball about 8-10″ in diameter.
Put the ball between your thighs.
Use your inner thigh muscles to squeeze the ball and keep it from falling.
Now walk or crawl with very tiny movements.
Start with a few steps and add more each day.
While you’re watching television, put the ball between your thighs and hold it.
This works to build riding muscles because the sartorius muscles used for riding are used to hold the ball.
2. Keeping your Heels Down
Do this every day to help keep your heels down.
Remove your boots. Barefoot is best.
Stand on the edge of the stairs (the bottom stair!).
Drop you heels down until you feel a stretch.
Hold 5-10 seconds.
Raise up on your toes, hold 5-10 seconds.
When you release from the stretch, try to relax the muscle, then slowly go back into the stretch. All stretches should be done until you feel the stretch, but not to the point of pain. If it hurts, you’ve gone too far.
And why not: Walk Together to Cool Down
Instead of riding at the walk to cool down your horse, walk beside the horse. The leg muscles you’ve been using will benefit from the easy stretch that walking gives.