Tag Archives: Physical exercise

The Day I got Hit by a Train (oh, sorry – the day I tried Yoga for the first time!)

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Some time ago I got given a voucher for yoga sessions. Having done Pilates and various exercise programmes over the years I didn’t think this would be much different but I have always wanted to give it a go. The reason for this and for my general interest in various posture, body awareness and breathing exercises in more depth is to understand what can be a good, sustainable, complimentary exercise routine for an ambitious, amateur rider.

What I mean by sustainable is that it brings clear improvement to the rider’s performance (i.e. feel, body control, posture control, balance control) in such a way that the rider is encouraged to stick to the regime.

There are riders using yoga on horseback (not quite the thing I was after) and there are also numerous books about Pilates and Yoga for riders out there. From my own experience, Pilates can and does help with riding but not everybody is keen on it. Some of my riders do yoga and I wanted to know the difference first hand. Since I had the voucher I finally got organised and booked my first Yoga session.

Well, let me tell you, this thing is BRUTAL ūüėÄ

It started with a lovely ambient of candle lights and relaxing scents all warmed by wooden interiors and barefoot, quiet people. And then, my body got ripped apart. In fact, it’s a couple of hours since my session now and I still feel most muscles in my body as if I had done some serious workout or ridden a few horses more than I am used to. It’s quite amusing and surprising. I feel no localised pain, just a low grade muscular tiredness that washes off all over me and makes me feel rather good!

My class was a beginner one and the things I noticed brought me most difficulties were positions requiring a lot of hip flexibility. I am noting this down because pelvis flexibility as well as lower back stability is what we need as riders.

I liked the overall theme of very precise positioning, emphasis on neutral spine, straightness, symmetry and deep muscular engagement without force. My favourite exercise was an odd floating one (the crow? Рsee image below) when you pretty much lift yourself off the floor on your hands with your knees on your elbows.

Continue reading The Day I got Hit by a Train (oh, sorry – the day I tried Yoga for the first time!)

Guest Blogger Izabela on Treadmill Exercise For Horses

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Being at Hartpury College gave me a great opportunity to undertake work experience at their Equine Therapy Centre. Even Freddie had a chance to take part in some of the activities as he became a treadmill demo horse! His ‚Äújob‚ÄĚ is to take part in demos for students and visitors and show them how the horse walks, trots and canters on the treadmill. He also takes part in research studies such as efficiency of cardiovascular system or biomechanics. Freddie really likes this type of exercise and I hope that he will be able to continue using treadmill as a demo horse during my second year of Uni!

Many people are not familiar with treadmill exercise for horses and its benefits so let me introduce you to this method of training…

Treadmill exercise for horses

Equine treadmills evolved from slow-moving machines only capable of producing speeds for the horse to be able to walk and trot into high-speed and technologically advanced machines enabling speeds of up to 35mph so enabling the horse to canter or even gallop. For horses, the treadmill is a great training, rehabilitation and research tool!

What are the benefits of an equine treadmill?

Treadmill is an indoor horse training machine which offers several advantages and enables the trainers to control the speed, duration, incline and intensity of training on a stable, consistent and forgiving surface. Treadmill exercise enables to maintain muscle fitness in back legs and hindquarters and improve overall balance and coordination. It also enables to monitor the horse during training session (as the horse is relatively stationary) and quickly observe any irregularities in gait and ensure straightness. Training aids such as roller and side reins or pessoa training system can be used to improve the horse’s way of going. The treadmill can also be used for veterinary and rehabilitation purposes: can be used for horses returning to work after injury (such as ligament or tendon injury), for basic fittening work and also veterinary diagnostics of the upper airways and lameness exams as well as research purposes (biomechanics, gaits, cardiovascular system efficiency etc.).

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Equine treadmill requires remarkably less space than other forms of exercise and can be used regardless of the weather (as placed indoor). However on the other hand, treadmills are expensive in terms of costs of purchase, electrical costs, and possible repairs. Horses might also find treadmill exercise boring and monotonous or in some cases stressful.

People might have different opinions about treadmill exercise and other modern or traditional methods of training but I believe that the most important thing is to provide variety to your horse and include a few different training methods in your horse’s training programme!

If you wish to contact me please send your email to: izabela.motyl@yahoo.co.uk or contact me through my Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/imequestrian or Twitter @izabela_motyl

Hope you enjoyed reading my article!

See you soon,

Izabela