This excerpt on warm-up exercises for equestrians was adapted from the book Rider Fitness: Body and Brain from Trafalgar Square Books. Via Practical Horseman
Rider-Specific Warm-Up Exercises for Equestrians
Goal: This type of warm-up exercise for equestrians is directly connected to riding and decreases muscle viscosity, reduces muscle tension, and prepares for coordinative processes in your body.
The exercises presented here are intended to create perfect energetic, psychological, and coordinative conditions for riding at peak performance. First, I will introduce you to exercises that optimize your brain functions while balancing energy between your body “halves” (left/right, top/bottom, back/front). The exercises improve your cross-coordination (the ability to work across your body’s midline).
Movements that are generally problematic for many individuals today include rotational motions around the midline, as well as diagonal patterns. If your body cannot easily rotate to the side in both directions, you will hardly be able to follow your horse as he travels on curved lines, such as circles and turns. Your outside (outside the bend) shoulder cannot follow the movement of the rest of the body—it lags behind and you will no longer find yourself in the desirable and correct posture where your shoulders are parallel to the horse’s, and your pelvis parallel to his.
Warm-up exercises to train these kinds of coordination skills have already been introduced in the section on your general warm-up (skipping and moving sideways while rotating your hip area, for example). Before moving on with exercises specific for warming up the rider in particular, it is important to stimulate the brain and energy meridians (pathways), since all muscle functions originate in the brain and are dependent on energy flow. Therefore, the exercises you need to do now should not only school your body but more importantly, your brain.
Read the full article from Practical Horseman.