Do you want to get into riding, or return after a long break?

Then follow these tips for a successful return to a great sport!

Learning a new skill as an adult can be quite challenging - while we all merrily learnt different sports as children, it can be rather daunting to undertake a new hobby or sport as an adult. Yet often, once we have taken the first step, we wonder why we were ever nervous! From speaking to riders who learnt as adults it's clear that riding horses opens whole new worlds for people. 

Reasons for riding.

* It is worth incorporating some dismounted exercises into your daily routine to improve your suppleness, strength and co-ordination. Such exercises will also help to counteract the effects of sitting behind a desk all day at work! Before you do any exercises remember to warm up and do not push yourself too hard, especially if you already have a specific injury or problem. It's always worth a chat with your doctor if you are concerned about how riding horses will affect an existing condition. Include exercises such as:

Touching your toes - to stretch the muscles down the back of your legs. If you cannot reach at first go as far as you can - in time you'll be able to get much further.

Arm circling - to open up the shoulder area.

Head rolls - to loosen up the neck and shoulder area.

Press ups - to strengthen your arms, legs and abdominal muscles.

Sit ups - to strengthen the back and stomach muscles
Side leg stretches - stand alongside a chair so that you can hold the chair with one hand to help you balance. Lift your leg out to the side as high as you can, while remaining square with your upper body. You should feel all the muscles stretching along the inside of your leg. Turn around so that you can work the other leg. Try not to lean in towards the chair as you extend your leg.

* Do warm-up exercise before you even get on a horse for your lesson.
* Help riding fitness by using other sports, for instance, swimming is an ideal all-round exercise for improving your suppleness and stamina.

Read more articles on getting and staying fit for riding