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We all know that hopping on a horse and riding for a while takes a fair bit of effort. Sure, from the outside looking in, it might look as though you’re just sitting down and letting the majestic animal do all the work. Yes, they do a lot of the hard yards, but the rider still has to put in a shift in order to achieve a successful ride. The onus becomes increasingly more on the jockey as the level rises, too. Much like how a team needs a good captain to steer the ship, a horse needs to have the right jockey with the perfect orders and technique.
When it comes to riding the best possible ride, you’ll need to have the right equipment and attire. The saddle, boots (learn more about bareback riding boots here), stirrups, and many other components all matter. But if your rider doesn’t have the fitness or finesse, however, then all of those added extras mean very little. Let’s delve into some more info regarding just how fit you need to be in order to ride a horse successfully – and especially as the level increases.
For Starters, You Need The Physique
You don’t need to be in amazing shape in order to ride at a good level, but it would help out a lot. The best jockeys are always light and nimble – they’re able to manoeuvre themselves around and speedily get into the right positions and the right times. Being in better shape also allows you to be more flexible, which is a pretty significant aspect.
Your Mental Fitness Is Put To The Test
This, of course, isn’t strictly about the physical body, but it’s still a significant part of hopping on a horse and riding properly. Things could go wrong at any times – you’re not guaranteed a successful ride all of the time. This becomes especially important at the very top level – the speed and ferocity at which they travel mean a slight slip-up could cause serious damage. Mentally you need to be prepared for it.
You Need To Have Solid Cardio
Most people can do a good job on the back of a horse when riding at a canter for a little while. When they’re going full-pelt for a very long time, though, that’s when your gas tank needs to be pretty full. You’re going to be moving around, holding on, and focusing for quite a while, so your lungs need to be able to take it.
A Strong Core Is Definitely Necessary
In order to keep yourself steady and to be fully in control of what you’re doing, you need to have a really solid and strong set of muscles in your core. Your lower back, abs, glutes and obliques should all be in great condition. If they’re not, then you’ll definitely feel it after a ride.
Leg Strength Is Another Important Factor
Finally, your legs will have to be able to withstand a lot of pressure. You’re going to be kept in a pretty leg-heavy position for a while, so they need to be fully competent – especially when you’re riding for a pretty long time. Jockeys will tell you that your quads take a lot of punishment after a fast and ferocious ride.