I have been horseback riding more days than not over the last couple years, and man does it leave the body stiff and sore. To counter that I have added this set of stretches into my routine every day before I head to the barn.
It is a short sequence that warms up the whole body, focusing particularly on hips, low back, calves and ankles.
This series of stretches is also great before biking, or running, as it targets the same areas.
No props are required, so if you forget you could even do it when you get to the stable.
1. Forward Fold – Stand at the top of the mat with the feet hip width apart. Bend the knees and let the belly drape over the thighs. Clasp opposite elbows, relax the head and neck, and maybe sway side to side.
2. IT Band Stretch – Walk the feet a little bit closer. Cross the right foot behind the left one. Roll onto the outer edge of the right foot. Bend the left knee. Keep the right leg straight. Walk hands over to the left. Push out into the right hip. Repeat to the other side.
3. Yogi Squat – Widen the feet a bit more than hip width. Turn the toes out and heels in about 45 degrees. Drop the hips down. Use the elbows to push the knees open. Lengthen the crown up to the sky, rolling the shoulders down and away from the ears. Engage the glutes, pressing the thighs out.
4. Equestrian Pose – Start in downward dog. Step the right foot through between the hands to the top of the mat. Lower the left knee down. Sink the hips forward. Keep the fingers down and back toes tucked. Open through the heart. Drop the shoulders down and away from the ears.
5. Quad Stretch – Push into the right heel to lift the hips and hands up. Lengthen the tailbone down, and pull the low belly in. Lift out of the low back. Lift the left foot and try to grab hold of the left ankle. With one or both hands try to grab hold of the left ankle. If you clasp with both hands, squeeze the shoulder blades behind and open through the chest.
6. Standing Hamstring Stretch – Release the left foot down, tuck the toes, and lift the left knee off the mat. Straighten the right leg. Flexing into the right foot, curling the toes up. Maybe using the hand to pull the toes in.
7. Saddle Pose – Come to to kneel, lowering the seat down with the heels on the outsides of the hips. Keep knees hip width distance apart. Roll the calves out of the way. Lift the hip up and tuck the pelvis, then set the hips back down. Keep the knees and shins pressing down. See if you can start walking the hands back, maybe lowering all the way down. If so perhaps bring the hands overhead to the ground.
These 7 poses come from a short warm up for equestrians class I added to my channel and app recently.