Wie sinnvoll ist Ausgleichssport zum Reiten?

How useful is compensatory sport to horseback riding?

How useful is compensatory sport to horseback riding?

At Hoofment, our entire team (Steffi, Jessi, Neele, Jaquelin and Laura) consists of female riders and we also do different types of sport to balance riding. Nevertheless, we in our team keep asking ourselves which recreational sport is actually best suited to complement riding? What's the best combo? How can we best promote our riding fitness?

That's why we turned to a professional for this and interviewed dear Mareike Krefl for you. With her “feel-think-ride” concept, Mareike offers training for rider fitness, seat training and mental training and combines these aspects with each other. With certain exercises and techniques, she helps female riders in her training courses to become even more dynamic and relaxed riders in order to be able to support the horse as much as possible in moving vigorously and powerfully. This is exactly why Mareike is also the perfect contact person for all our questions on the subject of balancing sport for horseback riding and equestrian fitness. :)

Thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions Mareike! First of all, would you like to tell us how you got into the fact that you deal a lot with topics such as rider fitness and recreational sport for riding?

For a long time I always had back and knee pain after riding and that's why I went to an orthopaedist. He looked at my musculature and said it's no wonder because I was very one-sided. The rider's typical muscles were very strong, the opponents were rather weak. This leads to incorrect posture and, in the long run, to pain.

This was the reason for me not only to deal with muscle building in horses, but also in riders. Through my own training I noticed how the pain disappeared and I could sit with much more ease. My horses ran much better as a result, even though I had only changed something about ME.

Since the change was so enormous, I delved even deeper into the topic of recreational sports in order to be able to pass on my experiences to my customers.

Which types of sport do you think are particularly suitable as a balancing sport for riding?

There is no general answer to this question. It depends what kind of guy you are. If you have strong muscles by nature and mobility is more difficult for you, then sports such as yoga and everything that stretches and mobilizes you make sense. On the other hand, if you are rather hypermobile and lack stability, then sports that build strength, such as targeted strength training, make sense. First and foremost, you should look at where the challenges lie in the body and which sport helps individually. I know you would have liked to hear Sportart XYZ, but unfortunately it's not that easy ;)

If you don't want to go that deep, then I advise you to do something that is fun and provides the body with as many movement stimuli as possible. This is how you get used to the recreational sport and the body benefits from new movement patterns.

What advantages does it have for us, but also for our horses, if we, as riders, also do compensatory sports?

We can only demand from our horses what we are able to do ourselves! If I can't carry myself, my horse can't carry himself properly either. If I don't have stamina, my muscles will cramp and my horse will tend to run tense. If I as a rider are not relaxed and flexible, my horse cannot run relaxed either. Everything that happens in the rider's body is reflected in the horse!

If the rider has well-balanced muscles and is agile, he has more stability and can sit better in the movement of the horse. If the control of the body and the coordination are practiced in recreational sports, the aids in the saddle are more precise and faster.

For me, the greatest advantage of recreational sport is the promotion of body awareness. The more the rider learns to deal with his body in different situations, the easier it becomes in the saddle.

Are there certain muscle groups that we, as riders, should particularly train in addition to riding?

Definitive! Let's take a look at the riders...

The lower back is usually quite strong, most people know a hollow back only too well ;)

To counteract this and straighten the pelvis, we should train the abdomen as an opponent. Although it shouldn't be, we riders have pretty strong inner thighs. These should definitely be stretched and the outer thighs strengthened. On the one hand, this avoids a jammed knee and, in the long run, knee pain.

Due to the everyday posture, the upper back is often weakened and the shoulders fall forward. For an upright posture without much effort, you should train the M.Trapezius or hood muscle.

What are the best ways to promote your own equestrian fitness?

The non plus ultra is of course personal training tailored to your seat and your riding requirements. Since this is not always possible, I recommend just starting. Find something that you really enjoy, that you enjoy, and that you stick with. It shouldn't be an item on your to-do list that you're reluctant to tick off.

Any form of additional exercise is initially good and helpful. Then, if you find it fun, you can always go and tailor your training more to your needs. Is the weaker self too big? Then look for a group or form an equestrian sport group with your stable girls. Together, the motivation is greater and you can kick each other's a**. ;)

What is your recommendation on how much compensatory sport for riding we should do about a week?

As I said, any additional movement is great. Be it climbing the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Take the bike instead of the car etc.

For your recreational sport, 2-3 times a week would be great. It's not about doing an extra 1-2 hours each time. Even 15-20 minutes achieve noticeable effects.

What kind of courses do you offer?

I just completely changed my course system. There will be courses on various topics. The Back to Basics course starts on April 14th, 2022. This is about building a stable and healthy foundation for your riding. The 4-week course deals with the topics of strength, mobility, coordination, balance and body awareness. You will not only become physically but also mentally fit for your horse.

In addition to the online courses, I offer Fit in the Saddle courses directly in the stable, as well as personal training.

The personal training is always connected with a seat analysis and can take place offline and online.

You also offer mental coaching. What is often your goal and in which situations can female riders particularly benefit from it?

That is very different. Each coachee comes with their individual topic. This can be fear after an accident, stress or blackouts in exam situations, preparation for tournaments, grief over the loss of a horse, time management, but also dealing with the professionals on the gang. In principle, you can come to coaching with any topic that concerns you and that you would like to deal with better. The goal is always to develop solution strategies for the specific situation. So that you are no longer the “passenger” and can take action yourself again. I'll lean out the window now and say every rider can benefit from mental coaching.

To what extent can your work with riders on the mental and physical health of the riders also positively change the relationship between the riders and their horses?

Our horses reflect us! When we get into the saddle more calmly and calmly, this is also noticeable in our horses. Many tense situations can be defused by the rider's mental techniques and thus lead to more trust and harmony when riding. When the rider's body and mind are balanced, the horse has the opportunity to let go and develop its potential. The bond and communication with the horse also changes when the rider is at peace with himself and his body. Everything becomes clearer and there are significantly fewer misunderstandings.

If you now feel like doing a little more exercise to balance riding, improving your riding fitness or doing mental coaching with Mareike, then feel free to visit Mareike's website. :) https://www.fuehlen-denken-reit.de/

We wish you a lot of fun getting even fitter and are looking forward to your reports, whether you notice improvements in your riding style, in your body feeling and in your aids! Thank you very much for the interview Mareike! :)

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