It is Saddlebred Saturday here at Knollwood Farm, and the barn is eerily quiet save for the knickers of all the school horses as they await their turn for a spa treatment and some candies. While we hate that the hustle and bustle of our usual Saddlebred Saturday is missing, we are determined to keep you, our students in riding shape so when we open our doors back up, no one has missed a beat and we can get right back to work preparing for show season 2020!
Every Saturday, we will be coming out with a series of workouts that are focused on developing muscles and balance skills that we utilize every time we are in the saddle. Be sure to properly warm up and cool down with some light stretching before and after you do this workout. We wouldn't want anyone to end up with an injury that would prevent your prompt return!
Exercise 1 - Squat Jumps - 10 reps
This movement is an explosive, continuous movement that gets your large muscles pumping and therefore really works to kick up your heart rate. Cardio fitness as well as strength in your lower body and core is extremely important for riding. While many think that riding is just sitting on a horse as you go around in circles, we all know differently! Feet hips width distance apart come into a 90 degree squat as if you were sitting down in a chair. Then swing your arms up and come into a jump! As you land come straight back down into a squat and repeat 10 times.
Exercise 2 - 1 Legged Bridges - 10 reps alternating legs, hold each for 5 breaths
This movement is a slow and focused exercise the centers on your core, back and glutes; all muscle groups that help develop your seat, balance, and independence in the saddle. Laying on your back, place your heels just behind your glutes. Lifting one leg straight up toward the ceiling, slowly step into your foot on the group and lift your hips toward the ceiling as if you're trying to stamp your foot print up there! Breathe in slowly and out slowly for 5 breaths, slowly lower back down, switch legs and repeat.
Exercise 3 - Burpees- 10 reps
Burpees are quite possibly the most hated exercise in fitness by everyone except trainers and coaches. This full body movement helps strengthen every part of your major muscle groups at once. Like squat jumps they are another controlled continuous and explosive series of movements that require focus and control. Much like posting at a trot, though we aren't exploding out of the saddle and jumping into the air, we are using our core, leg muscles and balancing skills to control and smooth out a continuous up and down movement while traveling around the ring on a 1200 lb animal! From a standing position, squat down to touch your hands on the ground, jumpy your feet out behind you to come to a plank position, execute a push up, jump your feet back inbetween your hands and jump straight up into the air reaching toward the sky. Ask you come down from your jump go straight into another burpee.
Exercise 4 - Warrior 3 Pose - 6 reps alternating legs, hold each for 5 breaths
Warrior 3 pose is another slow focused movement that takes a lot of gentle focus and core strength to maintain your balance. Much like if you're looking around in the lounge or checking out what other horses are in the arena, rather than paying attention to your horse, it can be really hard to keep your balance and fluid movements on your horse. From a standing position, begin to bring your weight into one foot. Choose a spot on the ground in front of you to focus on, then slowly bend forward, letting your free leg to float up until your body is making a capital T shape. You can have your hands at your side pointing back toward your leg, out to the side or stretched out in front of you. All three of these hand positions offer different levels of challenges for your balance. Once in this position, breathe in slowly, out slowly, for 5 breaths, then slowly lower your leg and stand up, switch feet and repeat! If you are an at home yogi and have yoga blocks to help your balance, feel free to use them. If you don't have yoga blocks and feel like you could use a little extra support in this movement, utilize a table or counter for some extra balance aid.
Exercise 5 - Lateral Squat Jump Burpees - 10 reps
This movement combines our first two cardio/strengthening movements into one frankenexercise that will truly get your blood pumping. The only difference is this time, between each burpee, you will perform a squat jump to the side as if you were jumping over a broom.
Exercise 6 - Lotus Pose - 5 reps, hold each for 3 breaths
For a final strengthening pose to calm things down after the torture that is a Lateral Squat Jump Burpee, come to your mat or floor on your stomach with your forehead on the ground and your arms at your sides, palms facing down. Utilizing your core and back muscles only. Lift your head, chest and arms of the ground and then your legs. Breathe in slowly and out slowly for 3 breaths, then slowly lower back down to the floor/mat and repeat.
Again please be sure to do some light stretching after you've completed this workout! You can do this workout daily, or a few times a week and even combine it with next week's circuit to continually challenge yourself!