The Five Essential Ingredients in a Varied Training Routine March 09 2015
As in any sport, the only way to truly progress your skill as an equestrian is to practice, and practice is most fruitful when it takes the form of a routine! And just as a varied training routine is essential for horses, as riders we need to make sure that we keep on varying our training programs in order to avoid a plateau. Here are the five essential ingredients an equestrian needs to build out their routine:
Take one or two rides a week to lose your stirrups (literally) and focus on your strength, your balance, and your muscular endurance. While we so often avoid or dread these rides, they are such an important foundation for any equestrian. The balance you gain and the ability to seamlessly lose and find a stirrup again is essential to rolling with the punches on show day.
Lessons, Lessons, Lessons, Lessons
It’s no secret that the more lessons you take, the better off you will be. The more saddle time you put in, the more you will be aware of the individual quirks in your own riding, and those of the horses you practice on (which will hopefully be varied as well). It is also great to ride with different instructors if possible. Different instructors focus on or care about different aspects of riding, and often have different theories about riding. It’s important to vary your approach and training so that you will be able to problem solve through the different instructors you have learned from when you are on your own in the arena.
We have talked about these before in our post about getting over a slump. In that post we mentioned how lunge lessons are a time to really focus on the minute details of your riding (i.e. your body position, balance when a horse surges, and often strengthening exercises as well). These are an important element of higher level training and can allow you to take your leg position from functional, to equitation form! It is so important to know where your legs are. As absurd as it sounds to even have to say that, but seriously…. know where your legs are. We have seen more than a few people fall off from giving their horse an unwarranted and accidental kick in the side. PLEASE avoid that mistake with lunge lessons.
See a trainer if you can, go to the gym, do at home workouts, see our Workout Wednesday posts, whatever you do, hit the gym! Making sure you are in shape and doing your part is important to being able to work through the tougher rides on the tougher horses that maybe last longer than you wish they would.
Just like your horse, you need to take a day to relax, stay horizontal on the couch or in bed with some Netflix or enjoy some good old fashioned nap time. Let your muscles heal, let your mind turn to mush for one day and just chill. That way, when the week comes back around, you can hit the ground running and accomplish something! If you are running on fumes, you can’t give what you are doing your all.
Do you have any riding tips to share, or any ingredients we might have missed? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook.