Riding Essentials - From Kids to Adults

By Lina Yanchulova

Riding horses is fun. It is exciting, challenging, uplifting, breathtaking, and dangerous - all of the ingredients that make us go back for more. Even the romanticism of the whole experience is enough to get us on the horse. Yet, inevitably when we keep on riding, something happens that threatens the very existence of our passion - a fall or pains here and there seem to take riding out of our reach. And, as many of us find out, the major question becomes - how do we stay on the horse?

Sitting Abductor Presses.

How to perform this E-ciseT: Sit in a chair with your feet pointed straight ahead. Tie a strap around your knees with your knees hip-width apart. Roll your pelvis forward to place a small arch into your lower back. Do NOT LEAN BACK. As you hold this low back arch, which is hip induced, pull and release outward against the strap at your knees. REPEAT. 3 sets, 20 reps.

What this E-ciseT does: This exercise promotes bilateral pelvic extension and encourages pelvic stability.

 

Static Wall.

How to perform this E-ciseT: Lie on your back with your feet up the wall. As you get more functional, your hips will sit closer to the wall and be flat on the floor at the same time. To start, you probably should keep your hips away from the wall and move in as you can. When you get your legs up the wall, tighten your thighs and pull your toes back toward your knees and hold. Your feet must be pointed straight behind you for your hips to be doing the work needed to stabilize your spine. 1 set, 4 minutes.

What this E-ciseT does: This exercise promotes thoracic extension while limiting the rotation ability of the lower load joints.

 

Whether you are a child or adult, beginner rider or a veteran, there are certain essentials that you must learn to keep riding enjoyable. It all starts with our posture - the way we sit on the horse is the first thing that can make all of the difference in the world. As bronze, silver, and gold USDF Medalist, Jo Moran, found out, "You must be balanced to ride the horse properly, as to not get in its way." Jo used to sit off to the right of the horse because her hips were not level - not a very comfortable position for her and not particularly comfortable for the horse, either. As a professional dressage instructor and competitor, Jo knows the importance of proper posture and she also knows that it doesn't come so naturally as the desire to ride horses. It takes work and more significantly, the right kind of routine that will keep you in the correct posture and ultimately, keep you riding the horse.

Static Wall Femur Rotations.

How to perform this E-ciseT: Lie on your back with your legs straight up the wall. Be sure that your hips remain flat on the floor. If they are not on the floor, slide away from the wall to get them there. Tighten your thighs and pull your toes down toward your hips. Begin rotating your legs/ feet in and out from the hips while remaining relaxed in your upper body. There are 3 positions for the rotations - straight up, out about 25 degrees, and then again out about 50 degrees. 3 sets, 10 reps.

What this E-ciseT does: This exercise promotes thoracic extension while limiting the rotation ability of the lower load joints with an emphasis on hip stability.

 

Jo's neck used to go out about once a month and she would see a chiropractor for it. But it would happen again. Every month. Finally, one of Jo's students, Judy Wheatley, told her about the Egoscue Method. It is a simple program that enables your body to assume the most efficient position and allow you to perform at your best, pain-free! It is no wonder that children as well as adults are turning to the Egoscue Method for cutting edge therapy and training. The Method is non-invasive and puts you in control of your own body and what you wish to do. Ever since Jo Moran has been doing her menu exercises, she has gained a lot more control over what her body needs to do for riding, and they help her stay balanced. The better results were not far behind - Jo is riding better than ever - "I have improved my riding skills and my timing has also improved."

Static Wall Pull Backs.

How to perform this E-ciseT: Lie on your back with your legs straight up the wall. Keep your thighs tight and your toes pulled straight downward toward your hips. With your upper body relaxed, pull the heel of one leg off the wall about 2 inches and return it to the wall. REPEAT for the desired repetitions. The heel is moved off the wall with the front hip muscles doing the work. The key is not to use your upper body for help and to also NOT push the other leg into the wall for leverage. 3 sets, 10 reps.

What this E-ciseT does: This exercise promotes bilateral hip and lumbar flexion to re-establish the muscular chain between the trunk and pelvis.

Static Extension Position.

How to perform this E-ciseT: Start on your hands and knees. Move your hands about 6 inches forward and then move your upper body forward so that your shoulders are above your hands. Your hips are now forward of your knees about 6 inches. Keep your elbows straight and allow your shoulder blades to collapse together while your low back arches. Drop your head. Your low back arches because your hips roll forward to allow this movement to occur. HOLD. 1 set, 2 minutes.

What this E-ciseT does: This exercise promotes lumbar and thoracic extension through bilateral hip demand.

 

 

Fortunately, we don't have to wait until an imbalance in the body shows up as a symptom - neck pain, headaches, back pain, tight muscles, tender knees, a fall off the horse (balance IS a safety issue). By then, the original design of the body has been changed, after compensating for some time. The best thing to do is to start monitoring the body early on - children and young adults can start doing balancing exercises, developing their body systems in a highly functional way. "Prevention's worth a thousand cures" - this is the wisdom that applies here.

Sit to Stand

How to perform this E-ciseT: Sit on a chair or bench with your hands interlaced at the back of your head. Get your feet far enough away from the bench to create a 90 degree angle at your knees. Roll your pelvis forward to place an arch into your lower back and keep your elbows pulled back. Holding this position, stand up to vertical and then without moving your feet, sit back down holding the arch in your lower back. REPEAT. 3 sets, 10 reps.

What this E-ciseT does: This exercise promotes functional weight bearing demand to all the load joints of the body.

 

Even experienced riders are able to make a difference in their posture - the body does not forget its original effective design. Over time, if the muscles do not follow proper function, some of them over-develop and others atrophy. This inevitably changes the way our joints move and the body is forced to adapt to a lower functional state - performance is compromised and we experience the symptoms as pain. Restoring the balance and bringing the body back to where it knew what it was like to just ride and have fun is within the capability of many of us.

Airbench.

How to perform this E-ciseT: Stand against a wall with your feet facing straight ahead. Your hips, upper back and head should be up against the wall. Walk your feet away from the wall approximately two to two and a half feet. Bend your knees and start sliding down the wall. Hold this position and keep the weight in your heels. Your lower back should be flush up against the wall. 1 set, 2 minutes.

What this E-ciseT does: This exercise promotes proper function of the lower load joints while stabilizing the opposing pelvis.

 

It is an essential that we take good care of our bodies. After all, it is our bodies that allow us to experience the incredible thrill of riding, make our dreams come true, and have fun!


About the author:

Lina Yanchulova is an Olympian Beach Volleyball player and her work with the Egoscue Method has taken her to the next level, both on and off the court. Lina used to ride horses when she was little until a frightening accident made her stay away from them for a long time. Overcoming the mental and the physical fears with a new sense of self-confidence, gained through her experience with the Egoscue Method, has been a major turning point in Lina's life.

For more information:

The Egoscue Method Clinic
12707 High Bluff Drive
Del Mar, CA 92130
858-755-1075
800-995-8434
athletics@egoscue.com

If you have any questions about the above e-cise routine, please feel free to contact The Egoscue Method at 800-995-8434 or e-mail them at therapists@egoscue.com.

Look for us in the next issue to discuss the specifics of shoulder limitations and pain with riding.

Coming your way - The Egoscue Method's Travel Therapy Team is pleased to be able to duplicate the Clinic experience in a setting where you can benefit just as if you were in the California or Connecticut facilities. Here's a link to more about travel therapy, dates, and locations: www.egoscue.com/htdocs/therapy/travel.asp

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