After a long, and challenging ride, you might hose your horse’s legs down, or use some liniment to ensure he feels his best. However, what are you doing for yourself to help your body and tired muscles?
Here are some simple stretches that you can do after a long ride, to avoid stiff muscles, or feeling sore the next day.
The first exercise I recommend is called Pigeon Pose. To start this pose, put one leg straight behind you, and the other forward, bent back, and with your heel toward your groin. Bring your arms up towards the ceiling, stretching down through your hip flexors.
As you inhale, push into the stretch, and as you exhale sink down through the stretch.
From here, we’re going to drop our hip, pressing our glutes onto the floor. Stretch forward while keeping your back nice and flat and push your chin toward the floor. This helps stretch out our outer thigh, and all of our extensor muscles through our hips, into our glutes. Just like with regular pigeon pose, inhale and push against the stretch, exhale and sink into it.
Low-Back Stretch Succession
For this succession, we’re going to go through three different movements on one side. Do each of these three movements on each side to stretch your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back.
Start by lying flat on your back and bring one knee to your chest. Keep your foot flexed and release as you inhale, then pull and stretch as you exhale. Hold for as long as needed until you feel tension start to release.
From here, bring your leg up straight, with your foot still flexed. Pull towards you, stretching all the way down your hamstring. For this move, you can also use a band, lead rope, or rein to help you pull deeper. However, pull gently!
For the last movement in this succession, take your foot and cross it over your body, while keeping your shoulder on the ground. Allow yourself to hold your leg up with your hand, on the opposite side of your body. Breathe in and lift your leg, exhale and release down into the stretch through your glutes and thighs.
Come back up to the straight leg stretch, pulling towards you, and finish with knee-to-chest before switching to the other side.
Hold these moves as long as your body needs, really think about inhaling and exhaling, and letting your body stretch through the exhale. Be sure to do these on both sides of your body, to alleviate any potential sore muscles!