There are so many ways in which Pilates for Riders can help your riding; it is so much more than core stability!
Pilates for Riders WILL improve:
- your riding position and posture
- your horse’s way of going
- your alignment, and ultimately your horse’s too
- your core stability and balance (less falls)
- your flexibility (better sitting trot)
- the independence of your seat (no more hanging on the reins)
- the fine-tuning of your aids
- your feel for your horse
- your breathing to help your riding and aids
- your focus and concentration
- your ability to relax when in stressful situations
- your stamina and co-ordination
- the health and strength of your back
- how you use your body, to reduce wear and tear and injuries
By practising Pilates for Riders you WILL improve all of these things. As both a Dressage Coach and Pilates teacher I can help you to achieve your goals and improve the harmony between you and your horse, whether you are just a happy hacker or serious competitor. You can really take your riding to a whole new level, many riders are amazed at the difference it really can make. Testimonials
If we just try to improve our imbalances whilst actually riding we will find we are just repeating old habits. We can achieve much better results and make real changes off the horse, and then we will have better balance and co-ordination and ability to synchronise with our horse’s movement when riding.
I am sure everyone will want to improve on something with their riding and maybe what you have been told or trying yourself is not helping? Maybe a different approach WILL help you unlock your potential and improve your horse in the process.
How often have you been told put your shoulders back, heels down etc, yet have you managed to achieve and maintain this? Often these commands lead to more misalignment of the spine; just telling someone to bring their shoulders back will probably lead to them arching their back, therefore losing correct alignment of their spine and limiting the way they can follow the horse’s movement.
‘One constantly hears the expression “heads up” and “shoulders back”. In the effort to throw the shoulders back, the individual hollows his back too much (bow-like) and forces his shoulder blades against his spine and, most harmful of all protrudes his stomach’.
– Joseph Pilates, Your Health 1934
Often people cannot follow instructions from their riding instructors of moving their legs back/ shoulders back etc because they are not aware of how their body works and how to do this. As a Pilates teacher the knowledge of anatomy and body movement allows me to see where a rider’s problems lie and how to show them how to correct their alignment and to have more body awareness. You often need to release tight opposing muscles before you can get the correct ones to work and to know which muscles are needed for certain movements.
Due to the fact that most of us do not ride horses all day long we have other pressures on our body posture/ alignment. What we do for a job, possibly hunched over a computer all day or driving, affects our posture. All the stable chores, dealing with big strong horses affects us, for example mucking out is really good at creating muscle imbalances! This is why it is important to take some time to correct these imbalances, not only to help our riding but also our general health and backs. You do not have to work for hours, what is important with Pilates exercises is that they are performed correctly, otherwise they will be of no benefit.
It is impossible to learn Pilates just from a DVD or book especially when you do not understand the basics, as until you can recognise that you are aligned and moving correctly you need a trained Pilates teacher (ensure they are a qualified level 3 Teacher by checking on www.exerciseregister.org this also means they keep up with their training as well). It takes time to learn to use your muscles in a different way, just like retraining our horses, but with perseverance you will be thrilled with the improvement, even if you only commit a small amount of time twice a week.
Improving your balance, alignment, posture, core stability, independence of your seat, breathing, focus, feel and stamina will not only take your riding to a new level it will also have a dramatic effect on your horse’s way of going. So Pilates for Riders WILL help both you and your horse improve whatever level you work at.