Before You Ride: Stretching Your Upper Body

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When we think about stretching before a ride, our focus usually falls on legs and hips. Having a well-stretched upper back, however, is just as important. Too often we carry our tension in our shoulders and backs, leaving us hunched over in the saddle. This enables poor posture, which leads to an inability to balance correctly, as well as an inability to keep both an independent seat and independent hands. Independent hands are the key to keeping a soft connection with your horse’s mouth, which is important when you’re working to get your horse on the bit.

Turning to yoga, of course, is a great way to help stretch out muscles and ease tension. This 10-minute yoga routine focuses on stretching out your neck, chest, shoulders, and upper back.

If you’re looking for a non-yoga option, here is a quick, 5-minute video that walks you through both breathing and stretching out your neck, shoulders, back, and arms.

On top of physical fitness, being flexible is just as important as keeping a strong, stable core. Before and after you ride, stretching out your lower and upper body is a great way to not only strengthen your muscles but also increase your flexibility.

Nicole is a writer for Heels Down Media. If she's not writing or editing, she's either running, doing yoga, or at the barn working on becoming a better, stronger dressage rider.

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