The Healthy Grip
Recently I have been aware of the use of my inner thighs when riding and walking. On a daily basis this muscle can be better used to support our mobility. It is a vital part to unlocking your core and keeping light on your feet to have less wear and tear on your leg joints. Here are some exercises that are simple but will being attention the adductor muscle.
Exercises when riding
1. Post (rising trot) at walk no stirrups. Every walk break try to do 20. You can build up to 30 or do more reps.
Simple way to test does your leg move to help you get up? Can you get up? :)
You want to eventually get up without moving your lower leg, flailing your arms to the side, and reach the place you would if posting in trot. Keep trying it will get easier!
2. Trot keeping your foot light on the stirrup. This will being the inner thigh into play to keep your weight from being heavy on stirrup. Then your stirrup will stay in the easiest place to help you balance.
The goal is to eventually take foot off stirrup and put it back on without lower leg moving or body weight suddenly dropping onto horses back. It will also keep stirrup right there to make this possible.
3. Posting at trot no stirrups. Ultimate test if your inner thighs are engaged. There is a healthy grip that allows you to sit as light or as heavy as you need into the saddle as well as control how long or big you rise out of the saddle.
Being able to post without stirrups will give you better rhythm control and sturdy balance on the saddle.
Off the horse
1. Towel/blanket required. Standing next to a wall or something to hold onto. Put folded towel or blanket under the foot that is away from what you are holding for balance.
Slide the towel away and pull it back toward your other leg with your inner thigh muscle. Start with 20 on each leg and increase as it becomes easy!!
2. Stretch band. Wrap band around bottom of couch, heavy chair or partner! Put other end around calf. Pull your leg away from object that you have attached it to. Start with 20.
If tension is to much you will find it hard to reach 20. If too loose the inner thigh won't be tired. Find the balance that helps feel it work but not impossible!
2. At the gym find the Adductor machine and do your reps!!
In conclusion, with the inner thigh healthily gripping, your horses back will thank you and start to want to come up and fill the space that you will be able to leave for it. Your body will be stronger toward your center of gravity to keep knee, hip and ankles softer and less weight bearing. Give it a go and let's have our horses happy and bodies happy for years to come!