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Why do I Feel so Bleeping Stiff?

Ever have trouble mounting your horse, getting out of the saddle, or feel fatigue in your lower back or hips after riding?  These symptoms can be caused by a wide array of ailments, including a frequent culprit many of us (myself included) may suffer from, called getting old.SwingingLegOnHorse

While sadly there isn’t much to be done about that, there are a few easy exercises you can practice to help make getting back in the saddle a little easier!

The Muscles Behind the Madness

You may have heard people talk about their “hip flexor” before.  A hip flexor is actually not a single muscle or tendon, but rather a large group of muscles, which attach your femur to your pelvis and lower spine.  Hip flexors enable you to draw your knees up toward your torso, move your legs back and forth, and side to side, just as in the motions needed to mount and dismount a horse. hip-flexor

The muscles of the hip flexor are responsible for providing your hips and lower back with a full range of motion and keeping them properly aligned.  The hip flexor also serves as a stabilizer, keeping the joints of your pelvis and lumbar spine strong.

Side Effects of Weak Hip Flexors

If your hip flexors are overdeveloped, tight, stiff or short, you may experience pain and limited range of motion in your lower back or hips, and balance or posture problems.

For equestrians, this can add up to equal major problems in our riding performance!  We all know that balance and posture are key elements to proper positioning in the saddle, regardless of the riding discipline you practice.

At the very least, unless your horse is 18-hands and you are 5-foot tall, I think it is generally good practice to be able to mount your horse safely, easily, and without pain, don’t you?

What To Do?

Fortunately, when made part of a regular routine, even just this one simple exercise creates flexibility and range of motion:legswingsflex

If needed, grasp a chair-back, wall, or any other stabilizer for balance.  Begin swinging leg backward then forward, extending leg fully to achieve stretch/resistance.  Perform 15 swings, and repeat on other leg.  Then, continue with 15 swings side to side across the front of your body, with a wide sweeping motion.  Perform 15 on each leg.

Performing this exercise is easy for just about anyone regardless of age and ability, and it will produce results!  Try to incorporate this exercise daily, or, at least on the days you ride.

For more tips on living a healthy equestrian lifestyle, visit us at home, or on Facebook! 

If you have questions about this exercise, or would like additional exercises for hip flexors, feel free to contact us! 

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