Riding Fit

Stretches for Riders

May 14, 2012

Accomplished horsewoman and fitness expert Emily Harrington offers stretching advice for equestrians.

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By Emily J. Harrington

Question:

Is it important for riders to stretch before or after a ride?

Answer:

How many of us have seen one of those good ol’ cowboys?

You know, a little bow-legged with posture that has hovered over horses for years and years. He (she) has probably spent more time in the saddle than on his two feet! Extreme example, I know, but it illustrates the point of how the riding position can leave you.

While on horseback, the body is out of neutral alignment to accomplish the ride. The inner thigh muscles (adductors) are stretched. Hips and outer thighs are abducted and shortened. You upper body will be stabilizing (core muscles engage in an isometric manner) just to maintain good posture. Basically, although riding seems natural, the body is compromised.

Learn more about Emily Harrington.

Stretching the whole body after every ride will help the body recover to neutral position. A gentle stretch program or even gentle yoga can be a very useful tool in you toolbox of fitness.

Look for more soon on America’s Horse Daily about what you can do to stay strong in the saddle, including great information on stretching.

– Emily J. Harrington, CPT, equestrienne fitness trainer, is a multiple AQHA world champion and top-10 World Show finisher.

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