Exercises to Improve Balance
Being a balanced rider is essential, not only for you as a rider to be more seated in the saddle but for your horse to be comfortable and your weight to be distributed evenly across both sides. Remaining balanced will also help you to be more secure, it increases your chances of being able to regain your seat if your horse puts in a cheeky stop at a fence! Here I have put together my top exercises, to improve your balance, for both in and out of the saddle.
In the saddle
- No stirrups-Try taking your stirrups away for about 10 minutes of your hack or schooling session. This will help you to sit more central and for your legs to relax and stretch down giving you a deeper seat. This is great for any rider as you can go at any pace you’re comfortable with, the more you do it the easier it will become.
- Take the saddle away-Going bareback will show balance problems you never thought you had! Don’t try gripping with your legs, let your weight keep you in contact with your horse and focus on staying central. A neck strap can be handy for those wobbly moments and will stop you pulling on your horse’s mouth.
- 2-point position-Shorten those stirrups and get your bum out the saddle-This position is a fine line, if you’re too far out the saddle and leaning forwards too much then you are more vulnerable to going out the front door if your horse stops. However, if you can remain steady in this position then it will help to strengthen your legs without you gripping the saddle at the same time.
Out of the saddle
- Stand on one leg-This may sound silly but balancing on one leg for a minute, or longer, can be harder than you think. Whilst doing this focus on something at eye level as this will help you to keep your weight balanced. Also, remember to do it an even number of times on each leg.
- Sit ups-They are cruel but crucial for improving core strength! If you’re new to them then find a tutorial online, it’s better to do them correctly from the get go.
- Sit on a yoga ball-To do it for 5 minutes isn’t too hard but try swapping your sofa for one, so every time you watch TV you’re actually working out at the same time!
I hope you find these exercises helpful,