Horseback Riding and Movement
Exercising for horseback riding appears to be a non-issue considering that the physical exertion from riding is understood to be, and rightly so, much less than other sports, such as basketball, football, and even golf. In fact, much of riding depends on our ability to decrease extraneous movement. Danielle Rowland, creator of the "Fit to Ride" program acknowledges, "The less outside movement--weight shifting--we produce in the saddle the easier the horse can maintain balance and perform the movements the rider asks." She continues to say, "With all the leg and hip motions that are used to cue the horse, the core needs to be engaged to maintain balance and stability on the horse."
What Exactly is Your Core?
A common misconception is that people with a six-pack have a strong core. The fact is, you have muscles (not just the visible ones) all over your trunk, and the visible ones, while important, do not have as much to do with your stability on the horse as the invisible group, the transverse abdominis muscles. These are the deepest of the abdomen muscles and wrap around your spine to provide the protection and stability you need to control your own body.
Step One: Target/Activate Your Transverse Abdominis
Before hopping in and performing a bunch of plank and ball exercises, it's important that you first learn how to activate the TA--that way you ensure your exercises are being performed properly and performed in a way that is most effective.
Here's a starter video for you from the Aurora Sports Medicine Institute: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgIhzlp474A&list=PLE9644A536F614101
Keep working on targeting your TA and stay tuned for horseback riding exercises that focus on strengthening your TA and movements such as your hip abduction with hip external rotation and your hip adduction with internal rotation.