3 QUICK EXERCISES TO TRY BEFORE GETTING IN THE SADDLE

Whether you're a new rider, a returner or a regular rider, one thing is for sure - exercising off the horse will help to improve your riding when you are back on board!

Here are three quick exercises you can use:

If you tend to collapse to one side in the saddle:
Stand so that your feet are shoulder width apart. Put your right hand on your right hip, raise your left hand above your head. Without leaning forwards, or allowing your head to incline forwards, lean slowly to the right so that you feel a little pull at the waist. Straighten up again and then repeat the exercise five times. Change over the position of your hands and lean to the left this time, repeating the exercise five times.

To strengthen weak leg muscles and stretch tight muscles:
Lie down on your right side, using your outstretched right arm as a cushion for your head. You'll probably find that you need to flex your right knee a little. Raise your left leg into the air as high as you can, keeping the leg as straight as you can. Hold this position for a count of five before lowering the leg. Repeat five times before changing position so that you can exercise your right leg. You'll probably feel the effects of this exercise in your hip joint - it will help to improve the range of movement as well as strengthening muscles at the top of the thigh and around the hip joint and stretching the inner thigh muscles.

If you find it hard to let the weight down into your heels:
Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you. You are aiming to take hold of the ball of your left foot with your left hand, ball of the right foot with the right hand. If you cannot reach use a folded towel around the balls of the feet so you have one end of the towel in each hand. All you aiming to do is apply pressure on the balls of the feet until you feel a stretch along your calf muscles and hamstrings. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.

If you simply try these exercises - and they take just minutes to do - you should find yourself able to maintain an improved riding position.
Read more great tips and exercises to stay fit in the saddlefor 
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