Riding Exercises for Strength and Balance
Strength and balance work together to help you relax and communicate with your horse so you can have the best ride possible whether you’re doing an equitation pattern, competing in horsemanship or even speeding around barrels. AQHA Professional Horsewoman Andy Moorman uses several exercises like different posting rhythms and riding without stirrups to help her riders become more secure in the saddle.
1. Hand on Hip
This exercise makes you ride down through your leg and find your balance and center of gravity over the horse’s center of gravity. At the same time, you learn to be independent of your hands for balance.
Pick up the trot and place one hand on your hip. Your other hand holds the reins, which should be loose to keep you from balancing on the horse’s mouth. As you trot, make an elongated figure-eight. Your outside hand should hold the reins as you go around the turn, so as you change directions, you will change hands. For example, on the left circle, left hand is on hip and right hand on reins. Vice-versa for the other direction.
This forces you to turn your body toward the direction you are going. It makes you bring your outside shoulder forward, holding your inside shoulder up. Your balance is improved, and you relax and flow with the horse.
Now that you’re more balanced and relaxed in the saddle, you can focus more on becoming a team with your horse.
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