Fall is upon us! The cooler weather feels great and many of the horses are feeling a little fresh. It’s important to keep in mind that even though the cool weather feels great, our muscles are colder which means they are not as agile. Getting into the saddle with cold muscles can actually cause injury. Pre-Riding Equestrian Stretches can drastically increase your performance and make a huge difference in your riding routine.
Many riders find that they have stiffness in their hips, hamstrings, chests and shoulders due to constant position in the saddle. Joints can also become stuff from the sitting position while riding. Pre-riding stretches, especially in cold weather, can prepare your muscles for the sport and help to prevent injury.
Here are three stretches to help warm those muscles up on a chilly fall day:
Chest Stretch – Find a vertical edge such as a door jam, stall frame, etc. Raise your arm to create a 90 degree angle at the elbow and press your forearm flat against the door jam. Turn your head and look away from the door jam. You should feel a good stretch in the neck. Hold for about 30 seconds. Repeat on both sides.
This stretch will help by opening the chest and stretching the pectoral muscles and shoulders, allowing you to sit tall in the saddle with your shoulders back.
Crossed Leg Stretch – Stand with your feet slightly apart, then cross your right leg over your left one. Your right leg will be slightly bent, and the left leg will remain straight. Bend at the hips and reach towards the ground. Hold for about 30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side by switching positions of the legs.
This will help to stretch your calves and hamstrings, which will allow for a better “heels-down” position. It will also stretch your lower back some as well.
Overhead Stretch – Find an arena rail or fence. Standing half a body’s length away from the fence with feet should width apart, bend at the waist, and place your hands on the top rail. Arms, shoulders and back should be flat. Relax your neck and take deep breaths, allowing your body to settle into the stretch. Hold for about 30 seconds.
This stretch will create flexibility in the shoulders, and will stretch tight hamstrings and calf muscles at the same time.
These three easy stretches will only take about 5-10 minutes to do before you ride, so take the time to avoid future injury from cold muscles. Remember, when stretching, never push yourself past the point of comfort.
The Benefab product line showcases fabric that has many benefits that will certainly help keep your muscles supple. From fingerless gloves, ankle, elbow and knee braces, socks, scarves and therapeutic blankets you are sure to find exactly what will help you have great rides in this cooler weather.