These 5 specific stretches will help improve your dressage riding. As an adult, we are already feeling the effects of gravity in our daily lives. Combine this with having to sit on a horse for long periods of time, and your body has the recipe for being more stiff and immobile.
If you really want to improve your posture, biomechanics, and imbalances on the horse, these specific stretches will help you. When improving your flexibility and mobility, it’s important to note that you want to include stability exercises as well. If you give your body new ranges of motion but they don’t know how to control it (stability), the tissues will return back to their normal tight positions.
World’s Greatest Stretch
If you are someone who’s tighter and more inflexible, I suggest starting with a using a chair or some stairs to compensate for your tight hips. Don’t force the stretch either, move in a comfortable range of motion.
Begin by putting your hands on a chair or box. Have your legs in a long split stance with your right leg in front.
Keeping your left leg completely straight and drive your hips straight down towards the ground. Drive your hips straight to the ceiling letting your right knee to extend.
Perform 8-15 reps on each side. Keep your back flat relatively straight throughout the entire movement.
The Hip Opener is a great way to open up your hips and allow you to combat the effects of sitting for long periods of time.
When we sit for long periods of time, it puts our hips in a bad position.
By using the Hip Opener exercise, this allows your body to squat easier, have less knee and low back pain.
Start by placing your left foot on a box. Put your left hand on on top of your left foot with your arm on the inside of your leg. Begin by pushing your hips forward while at the same time, pushing your left knee away from your body. Return to the starting position. Repeat for 10-20 reps on each leg.
Seated 3D Thoracic Spine Matrix
Having a tall spine that is mobile, stable, and flexible is key to being successful in equestrian and at a life. A thoracic spine that moves like it should will help you have better posture, stronger core, and take pressure off of your neck and low back.
Begin by sitting in a chair with your back flat and knees bent at 90 degrees. Have both of your hands positioned at shoulder height. This exercise will take place in 6 different directions.
1.) Begin by reaching your right arm forward at a 45 degree angle with the rest of your torso following and then bring it back to shoulder height. Repeat on the left arm.
2.) Take your right arm and reach it straight up towards the ceiling and then bring it back to shoulder height. Repeat on the left arm.
3.) Take your right arm and reach overhead to the right with your torso following you and bring it back to shoulder height. Repeat on the opposite arm.
4.) Take your right arm and reach overhead to the left having your torso follow you and bring it back to shoulder height. Repeat on the left arm.
5.) Take your right arm and reach across your body to the left overhead and then bring your arm back to shoulder height. Repeat on the left arm.
6.) Take your right arm and rotate your spine to the right and reach behind you at shoulder height and bring your arm back to the starting position. Repeat on the left arm.
Perform 5-10 reps in each direction on each arm.
3D Standing Hip Flexor Matrix
To create better communication throughout your body from your neck to your feet, the 3D Standing Hip Flexor Matrix Stretch is the perfect solution for just that. This exercise is a great total body mobility and stability exercise to loosen you up before a ride and recover after a ride.
Start by getting in a big split stance with your right foot in front and your feet slightly wider than hip width. Take both hands and reach down towards your toes of your right leg, shifting your weight to your right leg. Next, reach overhead and behind shifting your weight to your left leg, keeping it straight. Repeat for 8-15 reps.
Keep your arms extended and straight up overhead. Side bend to the left allowing your hips to shift to the right. Then side bend to the right allowing your hips to shift to the left. Repeat this process for 8-15 reps.
Lastly, have your arms straight ahead at chest height with your elbows extended. Rotate your arms to the left and the right allowing your torso and hips to follow. Repeat for 8-15 reps.
3D Coretex Squat with foot reaches
To be a successful dressage athlete, you need a strong lower body. The 3D Coretex squat exercise is a great way to help you achieve just that.
Begin in a quarter to half squat position and hold onto the handrails. As you are maintaining that position, rock back on your toes and heels driving your body forwards and backwards. Perform 8-15 reps.
Next stay in the squat position and drive your feet side to side. Perform 8-15 reps.
Lastly, stay in the squat position and drive your feet to the left and the right. Perform 8-15 reps.