Here at MirrorMe equine PR London, we understand the importance of looking after yourself when horse riding, so we asked Dr Jason Gould of Chislehurst Chiropractic Clinic why looking after your own back is as important as caring about your horse’s spine. Having treated numerous horse riders, you need to put down that overloaded wheelbarrow right now and read this…
According to Dr Gould, “equestrians know that core stability is vitally important in the saddle.” However, as a chiropractor, Dr Gould finds that “if people’s day-to-day jobs involve sitting at a desk for long periods of time or in repetitive positions, this can cause stiffness in the spine, restrict movement in the hips and limit overall flexibility.”
Another aspect to consider is that if you’ve had a fall, an injury, suffer from an underlying condition such as scoliosis or even just favour carrying a heavy bag (or multiple haynets etc.) over one side of your body, all this can also affect your alignment and the strength of your muscles.
So, why is this important?
As a rider, this might mean that you suffer from nagging back pain, shoulder pain, or hip and knee issues, which can affect your ability to ride and your enjoyment of riding. However, being out of alignment can also lead to uneven distribution of weight in the saddle and have an adverse effect on your horse’s physical back health, muscle development and even the fit of his saddle. Riders that suffer from weak core stability usually find that it also affects their capability to coordinate their aids, balance and general aptitude to perform to the best of their ability. Frustrating at the very least, but potentially dangerous in a situation requiring quick physical reaction time.
Here at MirrorMe equine PR London, we suggest these top tips for riders health, wellness, and peak performance:
- If you’ve had an injury or you know you’ve got an imbalance, seek professional advice from someone who understands the body and correct alignment such as your chiropractor. By assessing your body, spine, movement and your joints, you can work on your alignment and posture. However, you also see if the nervous system is not coordinating as well as it should in that area, which can cause tightness in muscles, pain and tendon irritation. This can develop weaknesses which can increase the likelihood of further injury and also impacts your balance and mobility. Finding someone who can work on your alignment and core, helping to stabilise and strengthen your joints and spine is imperative.
- Improving and maintaining your core stability and posture is important. There are quite a few simple exercises out there that you can do to improve your performance and health. Getting advice from your own chiropractor will ensure that you have a tailored programme that’s relevant to you.
- Reduce stress. Make sure that you’re calm and centred, use a wellness technique such as mindfulness. Stress management is crucial as it not only reduces tightness in muscles. Think how your body reacts when you are in a stressful situation such as being caught up in a traffic jam or when you know you are going to be late for an important meeting. Your shoulders end up under your ears, and your whole body feels tense. Managing your stress levels not only helps to clear brain fog but helps to produce more mental clarity, which is critical when you’re riding.
Here at MirrorMe equine PR London, we understand how important it is to care for your own back, as well as your horses, which will help to ensure that you enjoy horse riding whilst staying safe. By considering these top tips when riding, you can try and get the most out of your time in the saddle. If you enjoyed this, why not read our blog on how horses can increase your happiness levels in Ponies Are The New Prozac.