Core stability versus core strength
Has a riding instructor said you need to strengthen your core? If they have most people go home google core exercises then start doing crunches and planks or go to a gym to do a core class.
My question is how can a plank which is a static exercise improve your sitting trot or canter?
Crunches which is a flexion exercise and if we have a sitting or driving job you are already sitting in a flexed environment so your training your body to be more flexed does not make sense – in dressage you may lose marks for your shoulders being rounded forward.
A riding instructor means core stability; which is to optimise the stability of the spine, pelvis and hips that then maximises the control of movement whilst you are riding (moving)”
It is important to realise that the core muscles might not have the correct physiology, biomechanics or biochemistry make-up either, due to adaptation. Adaptations can come from injury, trauma, physical overload or repetition, poor nutrition/digestion, illness, and emotional trauma, Such adaptations inhibit successful conditioning work.
Your need a meaningful task from your riding coach eg to improve my sitting trot
Then assess your current situation ; what you doing and how should it be done and why am i not achieving this?
Eg: Meaningful compliant:not achieving a sitting trot? Not staying connected to the horse ie bouncing.
Biomechanically how is it achieved? How it should be done? Are you doing this? If not why are you not achieving the sitting trot
So in order to achieve a correct sitting trot the rider must be capable of achieving a supple, balanced seat this allows the rider to use their legs and rein aids separately from the movements of the upper body. This is core stability and is key to achieving good aids.
What is a supple balanced seat?
Its understanding where your sitting bones are so that they can sit inline and in the deepest part of the saddle, your weight evenly distributed through either sitting bone with the inner thigh muscles supporting and are free from tension.
This is where it can go wrong as lots of people hop on a horse without this awareness.
Some riders may not be able to achieve this due to muscles having adapted to injury, falls, pregnancy, poor nutrition, illness or apprehension/fear.
Any issues in this area will cause you to pop out of your seat; uneven weight distribution, sitting bones not to be inline, thigh muscles to be adaptively shorten or stretch weakened. (Not behaving how they were designed dysfunctional).
These adaptations may be pulling your body out of alignment but can also be caused by other areas of dysfunction in the body from muscles in the abdomen, spine, rib cage shoulders, arms, jaw or legs (anywhere in your body).
That’s why it is important to get assessed before starting a conditioning program for your riding as no amount of core condition or strength/mobility training will help until the adaptations are reversed.
If you are unaware of how your body is moving, how do you know you are biomechanically doing the task set by the instructor and giving the correct aids to the horse?
Do you ever think I am doing it and it’s just not happening at this point most people think its the horse or get told to strengthen your core.
My tips for the rider always check you have a good seat, leave life stresses in the tack room as riding is your time it should be enjoyable but with a meaningful purpose, always question how you should be moving and am I achieving this?
My tips for the instructor if they are not following your instructions ask if they understand the task in hand. Do they have the capacity to do what you ask from coordination, seat balance and body alignment and suppleness perspective. If they dont you may need to align yourself with someone who can assess their issues if your normal coaching is not achieving the task in hand.
Teresa has clinics in the Manawatu, Greytown and is available to travel if the numbers allow.