Pilates For Horseback Riders

Riding Without Saddle or Bridle

When you watch this video of Stacy Westfall riding Vaquero without saddle or bridle, you can see that the rider is very strong.

The horse is a powerful force under the rider, especially when it picks up speed and begins to run.  When the horse makes a sudden stop, the rider remains stable. How is this done without her falling to the ground? The answer is a strong core.

Pilates Principles and Horseback Riding

Pilates principles are compatible with the goals of horseback riders.

  • Control
  • Precision
  • Breath
  • Flow 
  • Centering
  • Stamina

Pilates exercise emphasizes training the body to maintain neutral spine, the healthiest position for human posture, during all types of activities.  Neutral spine is achieved by developing the muscles that support the spine.

In horseback riding, a flexible spine, strong abdominals, and the ability to hold the spine in a neutral position, gives the rider a postural advantage, making time spent with their horse more enjoyable.

Muscle balance, spinal alignment, pelvic and shoulder stability are high points in Pilates training, as well as in horseback riding.  While riding, the spine should be flexible but not hyperextended (overarched), and the shoulders even and relaxed.

Pilates cross training for riding, is further enhanced by adding equipment such as the Magic Ring, Pilates Bands, and exercise balls.  The equipment simulates the riding experience by adding resistance and release under instability.

Copyright 2013 Irene Pastore and Blue Moon Personal Training

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