Want Your Horse to Use His Back Better? Use Yours.

Ball forward raise

This exercise comes directly from my ebook Killer Core Workout for Riders. The ebook is a 6-week workout plan to build your core. For riders, this means better posture, more accurate aids, lighter hands and more stamina. (Download the ebook)

Good core engagement for riders also has an immediate impact on the horse’s muscle usage and ability to work from behind. While some  horses are really excellent and can do quite a lot despite their rider’s lack of fitness, all horses are influenced by the rider. The better you use  your backline in supporting your riding, the more your horse will be able to use his.

Forward Ball Raise:             Muscle Area: ‘Backline’- gluteals and back muscles in a chain

  1. Stand with your legs just past shoulder width apart. Bend your knees poking your seat back (as if you were aiming to hover over an outhouse hole without sitting on it).Keep your knees back behind your toes. A common error is for knees to drive forward, but this strains the knee and disengages the gluteals.
  2. Once you can do the squat portion of the exercise with your seat well back, lift up the ball with the goal of straightening your back as much as possible. A straight back with the right bend in the hips will be about a 45 degree angle to the ground.

The goal is to work your back muscles, connected to your lumbar area and gluteals.  The ball adds extra weight. If holding the ball causes you to round your back at first, then do the exercise at first without the ball.

(c) Heather R. Sansom. Certified Personal Trainer and Equestrian Coach. Equestrian Fitness Specialist.

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