Pilates for Equestrians – why it’s so important

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So, of course the Pilates teacher recommends Pilates for equestrians I hear you say…. So I thought I’d provide a little more info on just why Pilates supports your equestrian training and benefits your horse. ( Gorgeous Jasper to the right )

Horses are large, sensitive, gentle and wonderful animals, our posture and balance can really impact on how they move. If you want to work on your horses body you need to be able to control yours.

As a rider myself I am always on a quest to deepen my seat, feel stable, balanced and supple as a rider. Pilates is a fabulous form of exercise for improving posture and alignment all of which are crucial within dressage and equestrian disciplines.

It’s really important to understand not only how your horse moves but also how you move. Maybe you have a tight hip, a stiff shoulder, what ever it is the more you know about how your body moves the more you can work to improve it.

No one muscle works alone, even when riding so developing the body as a whole as one does in pilates really benefits the rider. The aim is to feel as relaxed as possible in the saddle and focus on a connection with the horse all of which can be learnt during Pilates.

When it comes to correct position in the saddle recruitment of the core muscles plays an incredibly powerful role in the stabilisation of your pelvis. The way you sit in the saddle has a huge impact on you ‘seat’. Tilt to far forward and you’ll create an arched lower back. Not only creating a weak uncomfortable back as a rider but also resulting in the inability to move your seat with the horses back. If you tip to far back on the seat bones you’ll be tipped forward in the upper body, resulting in balance issues and the potential to tip the horse forward on the forehand.

A great place to develop your core is actually off the horse correcting alignment, and focusing on a neutral pelvis through stability, strength and core pilates exercises. Once you start to put the effort in to develop the base you’ll soon be rewarded with results.

Pilates for equestrians helps to :

  • lengthen the spine and strengthen the core, which stabilises the body whilst moving.
  • build a stronger body, increase flexibility, strengthen and balance.
  • Create a deeper seat and enhance the suppleness of the lower back
  • Strong core
  • Increased hip range and independence.
  • Increased leg and body length in the saddle ( and hopefully off !)

A Few Key Pilates exercises to Try :

  • Roll Downs
  • Cat/ Dog Stretch
  • Superman balance into Pigeon
  • Roll ups
  • Hip stretch and bent leg hip circles
  • Side stretch into side bend
  • Cobra

If you’re interested in finding out more about Pilates for equestrians, please get in touch.

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