New rider advice please

Joined
14 November 2018
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13
Hello!
I’m an adult rider that has had 5 private hour lessons now after a 20+ year break. My instructor says that I’m progressing extremely well and extremely quickly but that my ‘rider fitness’ isn’t as quick (for example core strength and leg muscle). My question is, what can I do out of the saddle to improve this?

Also, are there any riding books that you would recommend for a newbie? I’m interested in the horse psychology too. Again, I’m trying to do as much as I can out of the saddle so that I can make the most of the time in the saddle.

Thank you!
 

OrangeAndLemon

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5 October 2015
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Cheshire
There are no riding specific exercises that will help, but anything which strengthens the core is beneficial and many top riders do Pilates. (Many of us distinctly average riders try to do it too but my attempt at a plank helps strengthen others laughter muscles)

For reading material, I can't think of anything I'm afraid. I'm hoping another will be able to suggest something for you.
 

PapaverFollis

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13 November 2012
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2,284
Anything that improves your overall fitness will improve you riding fitness. Riding does use quite specific muscles though. I once read that riding uses similar muscles to skiing??? No idea if thats true but it seems to make some sense and there might be more joy in googling for exercises to improve or maintain skiing fitness in summer for example?

Other than that find another sport/activity that you like to do, swimming, running, cycling, walking, gym, exercise classes, whatever floats your boat (sailing? 😂) and do it as often as you can.

If you are already quite fit it might be that you just need to ride as much as possible! Or target specific muscle groups at the gym.
 

Teajack

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22 October 2018
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250
Not everyone's cup of tea, but I like Mary Wanless' books. She is a bit wordy but effectively breaks down the nuts and bolts of riding, helps you to isolate the muscles you need and concentrates on how what you do affects what the horse does. Ride With Your Mind Essentials is the easiest of her books to use. For exercise brisk walking is often underestimated and a physio ball is good for core work.
 

joosie

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Normandy, France
Well obviously general fitness and strength will help you, but honestly, the best way to get "riding fit" is to ride! Cross-training can be useful... but I don't go cycling to improve my running... I go running to improve my running.
 

Rumtytum

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12 November 2017
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903
Hello Ash!
I’m 63, riding for 2 years after a 47 year break and wish I’d been your age when I restarted! Always kept fit with gym work, now doing Pilates specially designed for riders (lots of vids on internet) and yoga (ditto) for balance. Private lessons are definitely better, I have two a week (no clothes, hairdressers, bags, shoes etc.etc. It’s worth it!). A book I really enjoyed and would recommend is ‘Horses Never Lie’ by Mark Rashid. Good luck and keep us updated :)
 
Joined
14 November 2018
Messages
13
Not everyone's cup of tea, but I like Mary Wanless' books. She is a bit wordy but effectively breaks down the nuts and bolts of riding, helps you to isolate the muscles you need and concentrates on how what you do affects what the horse does. Ride With Your Mind Essentials is the easiest of her books to use. For exercise brisk walking is often underestimated and a physio ball is good for core work.
Thank you, I ordered this last week and is due to arrive any time now! I’ve heard good things so fingers crossed it helps 😊
 
Joined
14 November 2018
Messages
13
Hello Ash!
I’m 63, riding for 2 years after a 47 year break and wish I’d been your age when I restarted! Always kept fit with gym work, now doing Pilates specially designed for riders (lots of vids on internet) and yoga (ditto) for balance. Private lessons are definitely better, I have two a week (no clothes, hairdressers, bags, shoes etc.etc. It’s worth it!). A book I really enjoyed and would recommend is ‘Horses Never Lie’ by Mark Rashid. Good luck and keep us updated :)
Hi Rumtytum!

I think I’m going to search the Internet for some Pilates/yoga lessons aimed at riders - it sounds very helpful! Wow! Sounds like you’re really enjoying it. I’m the same as you, I would much rather give up shoes, bags, etc to be able to ride... I definitely have the ‘horse bug’
 
Joined
11 September 2014
Messages
10
I returned to riding a few years ago after a long break and a back injury, so I was very unfit. Pilates (with a physio who is also a rider) and yoga have really helped with core strength/stability, flexibilty and wonkiness but the best thing has been lots of riding & great instructors. Bookwise, I quite like Mark Rashid and Mary Wanless (I've had a couple of lessons with Mary, which were interesting), Carl Hester for flatwork and Karl Greenwood on fb works for me for rider confidence.

Have fun - riding again is such a joy!!!
 

Trinket12

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20 December 2017
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148
I do a combination of cardio, ballet (I should point out it's a beginner's class and I am not very graceful!) which is great for core work. I also do core exercises after my cardio.
 
Joined
14 November 2018
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13
Thank you everyone. Looks like Pilates is definitely the way forward!

Bookwise, I quite like Mark Rashid and Mary Wanless (I've had a couple of lessons with Mary, which were interesting), Carl Hester for flatwork and Karl Greenwood on fb works for me for rider confidence.
Thank you, Jumoro - I’m going to have a look into these 😊
 

Landcruiser

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Definitely pilates. I've been back riding for 10 years or so after a 30 year break. I suffered a lot with my lower back (a chronic, lifelong problem).. I THOUGHT I had a decent seat - but last March I went to a Mary Wanless demo, and started pilates around the same time. It's been life changing. Everything about my riding is improved, and I have had no further back problems. I have discovered my core :)
 
Joined
14 November 2018
Messages
13
Definitely pilates. I've been back riding for 10 years or so after a 30 year break. I suffered a lot with my lower back (a chronic, lifelong problem).. I THOUGHT I had a decent seat - but last March I went to a Mary Wanless demo, and started pilates around the same time. It's been life changing. Everything about my riding is improved, and I have had no further back problems. I have discovered my core :)
Thank you! I definitely need to discover my core!
 

ownedbyaconnie

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3 October 2018
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119
I always thought I was relatively fit and would try and go to pilates once a week, however whilst I was training for a 10km race for life this summer I noticed my riding became a lot more effective. Although I should really practice what I preach, you won't catch me outside running until April at the very earliest!
 
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