Keeping your back healthy when you’re a horse rider

Pilates for horseriders

You may get your horse treated by the horse osteopath but do you take care of yourself to lessen the burden on your horse. You may begin as an agile person riding a horse but over time our spine may begin to complain when your daily routine requires you be in the saddle. 

Our young rider here Bridget Garlick is 15 years old and has challenged range of motion in her spine through the coronal and transverse plane, (she finds it tricky to bend right and left and through rotation). 

As you work with your horse your spine is acting as an efficient shock absorber until it becomes rigid and will no longer create the natural piston movement through your horses paces.  This can then lead to pain or discomfort in your back and make communication with your 4 legged friend more challenging.  Today I have a few suggested exercises to increase your spinal mobility.

Sit with legs as wide as you can manage.  Roll your spine into flexion (round your back as you bend forward) place your hands on the floor and reach.  Then try the same action with your spine but with straight legs.   In this movement you are creating space between the vertebrae, when the muscles of the back are tight this can give you a nerve like sensation right up into your skull.  Persevere with this stretch. I recommend you create the position and try to hold for 3-5 deep long breaths, inhale through the nose and our through the mouth,  remember to drop your head never look up in this stretch please.

Using a thero band, reach the band to the ceiling above the crown of your head. Keep the thero band tort and try to take your arms behind you.  Your goal is to keep your body still as your arms move through the shoulder joint.

The following movement is to encourage the side bend.  This lateral movement may be limited due to either tightness or weakness of muscles or it may be both.

Sitting in the wide leg position reach toward one leg and create a side bend with your body.  Things to remember keep your bottom firm into the floor.  Keep your body in a side bend, avoid leaning back or forward.

Remember you should not ever feel pain.  Seek the guidance of your local practitioner to assist your improve your mobility and remember to try our online workout.

Happy days to be had when your body is free to move.

Northern Rivers Pilates Kimberley Garlick2021

About the Author

Kimberley Garlick is a Certified Polestar Studio/Rehab Practitioner and Educator/Mentor for Polestar International.

As the director of the Northern Rivers Pilates studio located in Lismore, NSW Australia, she prides herself on her staff and in delivering the highest quality of Pilates movement, updated information and personal guidance for all clients.

Unable to attend classes in our studio, check-out our online videos.