A recent study has shown that if you improve your core strength then your horse will thank you for it!
It's being increasingly recognised that the physical influence of the rider, particularly loading the horse's back unevenly from side to side, can lead to equine back pain and lameness. So, researchers Alexandra Hampson (University of Edinburgh) and Hayley Randle (Duchy College), decided to investigate the effect of an unmounted rider core fitness programme on rider symmetry.
They took ten healthy dressage horses and their riders and asked them to perform two ridden tests at sitting trot. These were monitored using electronic saddle mats, a high speed cameral and special biomechanics software, both before and after an 8-week sports specific core fitness program which they had to do for 22 minutes, three times a week.
The results should be an impetus for all of us to improve our core fitness because ALL riders showed a significant improvement in their symmetry after the programme, with a decrease in left-right mean pressure on the horse's back. The average stride length in the horses also increased by 8.4%.
This proves that taking part in a rider core fitness program is good for our horse's welfare. As a bonus it will improve their performance and we're sure it's good for our backs too!
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