This was a question I got asked regularly by my Riders that I trained, there are only so many hours you can ride for and so how else can you help build your riding ability.
A rider doesn’t only need strength, but they also need flexibility, they need to be supple. If you’re a solid lump super strong but unable to move you won’t flow with your horse, but if you’re super flexible with no strength then you won’t be able to balance too well.
Conscious Movement off the horse marries the two requirements and adds another, it allows you to learn exactly what your body is doing, your own inbalances and compensations and gives you tools to start to correct them.
Riding is one of the very few sports that requires you to be totally even down both sides of your body, this means no favourite side! Any inbalance you have in your body is directly passed through to your horse.
Through conscious movement like Yoga and Pilates you can start to become aware of these traits you hold. Everything you do on one side is replicated on the other. You get a pretty quick vision of how uneven you are when there’s no horse to influence you or blame.
Over time I’m going to give you movements to help improve your flexibility and strength but also help you to rebalance your body, through doing this you will become more aware of what’s really happening and then be able to take this back to your riding.
Conscious Movement is the best way to reconnect with yourself and your body, and as I always say how are we meant to feel the horse and whys going on with them if we can’t really feel what’s happening with us?