top of page

Returning to Riding with help from Yoga and Pilates

Updated: Mar 15

Returning to Riding

Life changing events can be a time when we put down the reigns and forget just how good we felt in the saddle. Sometimes injury or illness can stop us in our flow, and most people have found the last three years one of the most life changing events of their lives.

There’s one thing to know, it’s never too late to reconnect to your passion so here’s a few tips to prepare you for your return to riding.

To begin lets look at the benefits:

Your social circle grows again after spending time out of the community

You build muscle strength and tone for your body

It’s a great cardiovascular workout, you’ll burn calories

You’ll reconnect with your passion to experience many more moments of fun and bliss

Your balance and coordination will remain sharp with your actions

Creates body awareness to develop good posture

What can we do to prepare?

Check your tack, hat and rider clothing, maybe it needs replacing or updating, returning to riding in the winter can especially be heavy on the hands so make sure you have a good quality pair of gloves and are as comfortable as possible with appropriate leg wear. Most importantly your hat needs to be up to standard so check you are riding safely and that your hat meets the current regulations.

Prepare and condition your Body

Start a regular practice of Yoga and Pilates to help you build strength for a strong, balanced even ride with precise leg aids. Work on pelvis flexibility and stability. It is important you have a full range of movement in your pelvis with muscles surrounding it for support, this will not only create a more comfortable ride for you but for your horse too. Weak muscles will require building up overtime to get back to the point where you were riding regularly. Preparation will ensure you align yourself to move smoothly and precisely in the saddle when communicating with your horse.

Get some Lessons

Yes you are a competent rider but this may be a great opportunity to brush up on your skills

and commit to some rider lessons, this will build your confidence and allow the opportunity for feedback that may give you an easier and smoother future ride.

What to expect?

You may find that you begin hurt in places you never noticed were there when you rode before. Returning to riding can be physically challenging for our legs, back, core, shoulders and backside. It is normal to feel this discomfort and it should wear off with a warm bath and gentle rest.

Be patient

Build up your frequency and intensity gradually, be patient as it’s sometimes frustrating and we can feel held back as we remember what we used to achieve as a rider. Listen to your body and be kind to yourself, reasonable consistency over time is the best approach.


Don’t compare yourself with others, and let go of any negative self talk you may have heard as a child or previously as a rider. Remember why you decided to return to riding, it wasn’t for anybody else it was for you, you are exactly where you should be at this moment in time, appreciate yourself and feel proud that you returned to riding and are back in the saddle.

Falling off

Falling off a horse is something every great rider has done at some point. If you find yourself becoming fearful after a fall take your time to build your confidence back up. Invest in a mindset coach and talk to your rider trainer to boost your confidence. If you fell off working on a particular challenge set yourself other ones around that so that you can celebrate the small wins along the way.

Enjoy yourself.

Studies indicate that horse riding increases levels of our mood enhancing hormone serotonin more than other types of exercise. It is a meditative exercise as you are completely in the present moment in the saddle. Riding is something that helps you disconnect from negative thoughts or feelings of stress, it can hugely lift your mood as you are doing something physically active that you enjoy at the same time.

There are few feelings in the world that compare to the feeling of making a real connection with a horse that you cannot verbally communicate with, so enjoy every minute.

If you would like to know more about how Yoga Pilates and Sports Psychology can help you return to riding and enhance your competent riding skills visit

15 views0 comments