Horse riders are a common site in any chiropractic clinic. Whether it be the copious amounts of falls, kicks, head-butts, or simply picking up bad riding habits over the years. The question is – how do you manage looking after your body whilst having a relationship with a 1200lb animal?
Due to the static position we adopt when riding, lower back pain is a common problem, especially in the untrained rider. Poor core stability, lack of flexibility, and instability in the saddle can all create problems of their own, most of which reveal themselves through dysfunction and altered movement in the hips, pelvis, and lower back.
So what can horse riders do to help support themselves and encourage a better posture whilst riding?
- Video yourself riding – note the leg length in your stirrups – is one longer than the other? Is one of your shoulders dropping more than the other? Are you dropping a hip to compensate?
- Take care of yourself when out of the saddle – use a double tyred wheelbarrow, knees bent and back straight whilst lifting heavy feeds, avoid carrying a water bucket one sided, bend your knees when you dismount.
- BREATHE and RELAX. Too many riders forget the basic skill of breathing causing the body to tense up and muscles tighten.
- Get yourself checked over by a chiropractor- Misalignment of the pelvis affects both its movement and motion of the lower back. Insufficient movement through the hips can cause stiffening of the lower back and buttocks and as a result, the upper body may become loose , or the lower body may become unstable.
- Get your horse checked over by a chiropractor – just like a human, a horse can pick up bad habits – common signs being – refusing to strike off on one leg in canter, favouring a one sided lateral bend, reduced flexibility and tightness across the neck and back.
- Stretching! Below are two simple stretches you can do to improve your mobility and flexibility:
- Knee To Chest: Lying on back with head on floor, pull one knee back to chest and hold for several seconds. Repeat with other knee.
- Child Pose: Starting on all fours, bring buttocks down to heels. Hold for several seconds and repeat.