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Quick tips for riders - a little fitness goes a long way pt 3

Thanks for coming back for the last part of my Fitness Friday’s series. We are wrapping up talking about staying fit as a horseback rider. Working with horses can provide us with a good workout – but here we talked about how it is not enough. To do your riding technique and horse a favor you have got to cross train. Remember to hashtag #fitnessfridays and link up with @_IntegratedEquine_ on Facebook and Instagram!

Give yourself a great work out next time you are doing your chores down at the barn. Don't just stand there...STRETCH SOMETHING! Be intentional in all your movements and don't waste time when you could be getting more benefit out of your day!

Flexibility is a integral part of being a good horseman. Being flexible can allow you to be more mobile through your back, legs and hips as well as give your better balance. And who doesn’t want those things on the back of a horse?! There isn’t too much of a science in the stretches I’m going to show you, but remember to be careful and not push yourself too hard! You want to be consistent as well so you can maintain and progress with your flexibility! Here are some ways I incorporate stretches into my horsemanship - always red light your top-line points first!

Start up top, and work your way down your body. Stretching your neck and shoulders gently will free up a lot of stiffness and give you better focus when you ride. I like to stand up straight, and just look down at my toes while concentrating on my breath. Nothing fancy! Just an intent full stretch for the top of your body.[caption id="attachment_406" align="alignnone" width="576"]

Barn work out! 1. stand up straight[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_407" align="alignnone" width="576"]

2. Gently rest your head down and intently breath in to stretch your neck[/caption]

Use your resources. I bet you have a fence or panels around if you have livestock! While you are standing there waiting for the water trough to fill…stretch those arms. Those mighty biceps get tense from bucking hay all day. Do you arms and back a favor by leaning into the panels and giving yourself an even stretch, remembering to breathe into the tension![caption id="attachment_403" align="alignnone" width="576"]

Panel stretch- Waiting for the trough to fill won't be as boring![/caption]Leg up. Literally. Ever have trouble swinging a leg up into the stirrup to mount? Our legs are very important when asking for cues for our horses and maintaining balance. A simple one leg stretch on a panel can really loosen us up. And while you are still waiting for the water trough to fill, find something to stretch your calves on. It can be a rock, a ground pole, a rail road tie - anything a few inches off the ground to place the ball of you foot on. Gently stretch just past the extension you would get when your riding with your food in the stirrup.[caption id="attachment_404" align="alignnone" width="576"]
Don't just stand around, stretch something![/caption][caption id="attachment_405" align="alignnone" width="576"]
Ballerina in disguise![/caption][caption id="attachment_408" align="alignnone" width="576"]
the sneaky stretch...check the next picture[/caption][caption id="attachment_409" align="alignnone" width="576"]
Stretch your 'spur muscles' by extending your heel out and down.[/caption]

Did your stretch? How do you feel? It only takes about  10 minutes to really get your circulation going, your breath deeper and more concentrated, as well as getting more mobile all over. I think you will be a better rider for it! Before you do any exercise you can red light your top line points. It will help your fascia release more, your muscles will remember the stretch better, and you be over all more effective in your stretching!

**Fit Tip** To loosen up my muscles and fascia I like to cold laser/red light my top line points. I've done a post about that here already pertaining to your horse, humans have the same accupoints. It doesn't hurt to look cute doing barn chores either. Find the same denim I wore for this post here. Multiple inseams, washes, and styles to fit any horseback rider!

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