29 May 22. Preparing for a horse riding holiday
Don’t make your holiday horse to do all the work!
When you choose to go on a riding holiday, wherever it is, your prime aim is enjoyment, so being fit enough to ride as many hours as required is essential. After all, you must be looking forward to being able to enjoy the riding while admiring the scenery that most of your rides will take you through. The last thing you want is to be gasping for breath or very anxious about staying on if your horse does something unexpected. That said, however fit you are, you may well experience some tired or sore muscles, but you will want to keep any discomfort to a minimum – just a few aches that you can soak away in a hot bath at the end of the day.
Your first decision will be ensuring that you choose a riding holiday that suits your level of expertise and fitness and you should follow the advice of whichever riding holiday company you use. It is important to take heed of the guidance you are given if you are to be confident that you have selected a riding holiday suitable for your current athleticism. For example, if you are a happy hacker and ride for only a short time each day at slow paces, you may want to opt for a horse riding holiday that involves fewer hours in the saddle and no, or very limited, fast riding. Alternatively, if you live in the saddle and perhaps compete, you may want a more advanced horse riding holiday with lots of fast riding and all-day trail rides.
Whatever riding holiday you choose, you will need to improve your fitness before you go: the fitter you are, the safer you will be in the saddle.
Galloping on a horse requires a high level of cardiovascular fitness from the rider – increasing your aerobic endurance or ‘staying power’ is crucial. Cardiovascular fitness is all about increasing the capacity of your heart and lungs to deliver oxygen to working muscles and if you don’t get enough oxygen, your body starts producing lactic acid. This results in that all too familiar ‘jelly legs’ sensation, which will make you feel weak, unbalanced and vulnerable in the saddle.
Muscular endurance strength
You don’t need bulky muscles; rider strength is more about developing long, lean muscles that allow you to hold yourself out of the saddle for extended periods of time, but also provide strength when needed, particularly if you are riding for many hours. If your muscles are tired, you may not have the strength you need to stay on the horse, particularly if you are riding over uneven terrain.
Core strength and stability
A rider’s position in the saddle has an enormous influence on a horse’s movement; to be an effective and safe rider, you will need to use your core rather than just your legs to ensure you remain balanced over the horse which, in turn, will help your horse to stay balanced. If your position is asymmetric, your horse will find it much harder to carry you, his stride will shorten as he tries to compensate for your uneven weight and it could even cause lameness.
Suppleness is not just about flexibility, but allows you to remain soft and relaxed, enabling you to follow your horse’s movements, making long periods in the saddle much more comfortable for both you and your horse.
The perfect way to get fit for a horse riding holiday is to spend time on the EQUICISE which will help you build up fitness and endurance. You will be able to practise cantering for as long as you wish without worrying about any external factors, tiring the horse or fear of falling off.
The Open Fields program on the EQUICISE provides a surprisingly realistic experience of riding in the open and with the EQUICISE moving both laterally and vertically, it gives a very true-to-life feeling in the canter, with its head and neck moving in rhythm too.
Your EQUICISE instructor will help you to master the light seat. This position requires you to hold yourself above your horse’s back — just hovering over the saddle — and engaging your abdominals, without relying on the reins. This will allow the horse to go faster more comfortably as you will be balanced, with the weight in your heel and your seat over the saddle. And you will learn how to allow your hands to follow the movement of the horse’s head and neck independently from the rest of your body so that you do not need to rely on the reins to stay on your horse. The EQUICISE offers two paces of canter so you can practise at different speeds and you can use the mirrors around you to check your position.
If you build up your fitness over several lessons, you will feel much safer and stronger in the saddle and your riding holiday will be far more enjoyable, not just for you but for your horse too!
Book a lesson now on the EQUICISE and get riding holiday fit!
PRACTISE THIS ON THE SIMULATOR
GET INTO YOUR LIGHT SEAT CANTER AND HOLD IT FOR AS LONG AS YOU CAN, THE EQUICISE WON'T TIRE! YOU WANT TO BE MOBILE AS WELL AS FIT, SO PRACTISE HOLDING YOUR REINS IN ONE HAND AND LOOKING BEHIND YOU -- YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN THAT WILL COME IN HANDY. ALSO IMAGINE YOU ARE RIDING THROUGH AN AREA WITH LOW BRANCHES, CAN YOU FOLD FORWARD ONTO THE HORSE'S NECK WITHOUT YOUR LOWER LEG MOVING? YOU CAN EVEN PRACTISE TAKING YOUR PHONE OUT OF YOUR POCKET TO TAKE A PHOTO! A SAFE AND FUN WAY TO GET FIT FOR YOUR NEXT RIDING HOLIDAY.
PRACTISE THIS ON THE SIMULATOR
GET INTO YOUR LIGHT SEAT CANTER AND HOLD IT FOR AS LONG AS YOU CAN, THE EQUICISE WON'T TIRE! YOU WANT TO BE MOBILE AS WELL AS FIT, SO PRACTISE HOLDING YOUR REINS IN ONE HAND AND LOOKING BEHIND YOU -- YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN THAT WILL COME IN HANDY. ALSO IMAGINE YOU ARE RIDING THROUGH AN AREA WITH LOW BRANCHES, CAN YOU FOLD FORWARD ONTO THE HORSE'S NECK WITHOUT YOUR LOWER LEG MOVING? YOU CAN EVEN PRACTISE TAKING YOUR PHONE OUT OF YOUR POCKET TO TAKE A PHOTO! A SAFE AND FUN WAY TO GET FIT FOR YOUR NEXT RIDING HOLIDAY. .