Your coming out of a corner to turn on the diagonal line. Your seat has set the horse up for an extension across the arena. You’ve signaled the half halt and rocked the horse back on to it’s hind end; both are ready to go!
The core stabilizes any movement for the rest of the body while allowing the seat to move with the horse’s extension. As you’re approaching the first quarter line, the stomach muscles start burning and you can feel the core tighten. Crossing centerline your leg muscles start to tighten as well. Stress starts to rise as no rider wants to burn out and disrupt the rhythm of the horse. Luckily the end is near and your core can work in an easier tempo.
This is core fatigue; the burning sensation that happens when a muscle starts to get tired. This can be stressful for the rider. Condition the core for what it is going to have to endure. The length of time the core has to work in the saddle can fatigue muscles around the shoulders and hips.
Even if you don’t ride a sitting trot with your horse, the muscles fatigue when they are unconditioned. Say you’re doing a flat class and the 2 point position is required. Muscles surrounding the hips will leave the core unsupported.
The core must withstand for the length of time working in the saddle. Seems simple enough, train the core to stay strong for longer periods of time. The key word in that sentence is train. But what area do you focus on during the training? Endurance has many components that make up the ability to endure the equestrian workload.
Strength, stability, balance, mobility, agility and aerobic conditioning all are aspects of endurance. When you want to increase endurance, find out which are the weakest. What aspect of endurance needs to be trained?
Some athletes who want quick results think that doing the complex, compound exercises will cut their time in half while training more than one component of endurance. Sometimes it’s good to challenge the core to a more intense exercise but when targeting a specific area of endurance, it would be more beneficial to do exercises that only develop balance, stability or strength. Single out what needs to develop for better results in overall endurance.
Below are terrific exercises for increasing equestrian core endurance. Each exercise will benefit a specific component of endurance. Not all should be done in one workout, the idea would be to base a workout around each component. Choose a couple more exercises along the same lines and watch overall endurance increase in 30 days. When workouts are organized this way, no area is missed.
#1 Diagonal Crunch on Ball 30 Seconds
Using a stability ball, lay middle back on top of ball with hands behind head or crossed in front of the chest.
Hips up and throat space open.
Knees stacked above the ankles.
Start the first 15 seconds or 15 long counts, keeping both feet on the ground.
Crunch up without losing the leg positioning.
Rotate one elbow to the opposite knee before slowly returning to the laying position (starting position)
Continue with 15 more seconds alternating lifting one foot up at a time.
Sync the rotation with the arms to the opposite knee/foot lifting.