Let’s do something positive with all the time we suddenly have at home! We can improve as riders, trainers, and horse caregivers in little ways–and big ones, too!–even when we can’t go to the barn or when lessons and clinics have been canceled. TSB has published so many books full of tips, techniques, and exercises to make us better on the ground and in the saddle, it is sometimes difficult to recommend just one. So over the next couple weeks, we’re going to share a bunch of our favorites, giving you a few ideas to try and lots of things to learn.
Today TSB Managing Director is recommending the book THE RIDING DOCTOR by Dr. Beth Glosten (a real medical doctor, as well as a dressage rider and Pilates instructor). Dr. Glosten’s book offers incredible insight in terms of rider biomechanics as well as a series of exercises intended to improve specific riding skills as well as troubleshoot bad habits and imbalances you may have on horseback.
“I’m the first to admit I’m not an exerciser for the sake of exercising,” says Martha. “Take me out and I’ll clear trail all day. Put me in a gym and say, ‘Do these exercises,’ and I balk like a herd-bound horse going down the driveway. So, it’s a pretty big deal that I do many of the exercises in THE RIDING DOCTOR. I find they are not complicated, nor are they too tedious, and author Dr. Beth Glosten gives options to start out easy and add difficulty, which combats my temptation to quit! I especially like her physio-ball routines. And, yes, I have been bucked off the ball for lack of seat bone equality!”
Here’s one easy exercise from THE RIDING DOCTOR to try:
Bounce in Rhythm: Toe Tapping
Bouncing on an exercise ball to a metronome is a great warm-up exercise and hones your ability to keep a steady tempo. Add arm and leg movements to develop balance and coordination, as well, so you can ride with feel at any gait.
1 Set a metronome to about 96 beats per minute, sit on an exercise ball in an upright posture, and bounce to the beat of the metronome. (There are metronome apps available for your phone.)
2 Keeping your arms still, lift one leg a bit, and tap the foot in rhythm with the metronome.
3 Try to keep your balance on the ball using your core muscles, so that moving one leg does not disrupt your alignment (like on the horse).
4 Once you gain steady balance tapping one foot, change to tapping the other (you’ll probably find it easier to tap one foot compared to the other).
5 When this is straightforward, try tapping one foot for a set number of beats, then switch and tap with the other foot.
6 End by alternating foot taps, like marching.
For more exercises, check out THE RIDING DOCTOR, available from the TSB online bookstore. Everything is 20% off (plus free shipping) until April 1. Amazon is de-prioritizing book shipments during the pandemic crisis (they need to focus on household and health-related items), so please consider supporting a small business and buying from us direct.
And watch our blog in the coming days for more recommendations, tips, and exercises!
Take care of each other,
The TSB Staff
Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and videos, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.