By Wiola Grabowska
In January this year I allocated one day every 30-40 days for a feedback & theory learning/catch up/fun day for the Academy riders and on each of these days we decided to set some challenges among those who attend.
Last month, our in-house rider challenge was Flexibility & Suppleness and yoga seemed like a good choice (at the time!!!). The main aim of this challenge is not so much to go from no supplementary riding regime to a full on one but to test different systems, to figure out what might work for what kind of rider, their personality and lifestyle. Another reason for it is to direct some focus into how athletic ability develops which hopefully links with more understanding of how horses might experience “training”.
Despite many differences, horses and people have many athletic similarities, their muscles tire, their lactic acid build up, their hearts need conditioning to effort, ligaments and tendons can over strain, mentally they might cope better or worse with work load etc
Doing any form of exercise with some basic attention to ones health is not a bad insight into training principles.
I have personally tried a course of yoga several years ago and found it immensely challenging. Flexibility is not my forte and stretching is the necessary evil! I should probably do it every day but in the same way as some people just can’t let go of fast foods, my muscles just like their tight state!
Not surprisingly, the beginning was tough for us. We shared some photos of our faces after doing first set of yoga on the first day of the challenge and lets just say, these photos will never see outside our closed conversation 😉
My biggest issue was space as I live in a tiny cottage so had to more furniture around each evening whilst some other riders had to fight off dogs that thought the best time of the evening started when the mat hit the floor 🙂
We went for an easy option of finding video workouts on You Tube and went with Power Yoga For Dressage Riders channel for many of the sessions.
Exercises are well explained and videos watch easily, the weather on the screen made me drool a bit though 😉 I started with the the beginner workout video, here’s a link if you’d like to try it: Yoga For Dressage Riders – Flexibility And Flow
March is our Core & Cardio challenge so stay tuned for update in April but in the meantime, if you know of any good online programmes for us to try, give us a shout in the comments 😀 Self promotion welcome!