Exercises to Prepare for a Horseback Riding Trip
Horseback riding is physical activity for the horse and the rider, and these exercises will help strengthen your muscles and improve your balance so you can make the most of your riding vacation. Just as you wouldn’t run a week-long race without training, you’ll want to do some exercises to prepare for your week in the saddle.
Your core muscles are essential for balance and good posture while riding. Having a strong core can help prevent lower back pain that commonly plagues riders. Here are some core exercises to boost your strength and balance in the saddle:
- Planks are one of the most versatile core exercises that can be adapted for all fitness levels. To do a plank, get in a high push-up position, with your core muscles engaged, your arms straight and hands planted on the floor, and your body in a straight line. Keep your head and neck in a neutral position. Hold for 20 seconds. Do three sets. Repeat at least three times a week and build up to doing 30-second planks. If you’re just starting, you can modify your planks by bending your knees and doing the plank balancing on your knees and hands.
- Side planks strengthen the muscles that run along the sides of your abs and will help you balance while riding. To do a side plank, lie on your side on a mat and stack your feet and hips, with your body facing forward. Raise onto your forearm that is on the ground, balancing on your feet and forearm, with your body facing forward and core engaged. Keep your body in a straight diagonal line and hold for 15 seconds. Repeat to do three sets. Build up to holding for 30 seconds on each side.
Upper Body Exercise
Having good posture and upper body strength will help you balance while you’re riding and ensure you can guide your horse well. This upper body exercise targets your shoulder and upper back muscles to prepare you for your horseback riding vacation:
- Push-ups are an essential upper-body exercise that will improve your shoulder and back strength. To do a push-up, lie on your stomach and band your elbows, placing your hands by your shoulders. Push yourself up into a straight-arm plank position, tightening your core muscles and keeping your body in a straight line. Slowly lower yourself back to the floor and repeat. For beginners, you can modify the push-ups by bending your knees and resting on your knees instead of your feet. Do 2 sets of 10 push-ups and build up to 3 sets of 10.
Lower Body Exercises
Your lower body muscles will help you stay in the saddle, balance, and cue your horse. Many riders experience inner thigh soreness from extended riding, so strengthening these muscles - and your hamstrings and quads - will help you stay comfortable on your horseback riding trip. Do these exercises to prepare for your equestrian vacation:
- Squats target all of the major muscle groups in your lower body and you can adapt them to your fitness level, using just your body weight or holding dumbbells to make them more difficult. To do a squat, stand with your feet horse-width apart and chest up. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor, bending at the knees and resting your weight in your heels. Push back up into a standing position. Repeat to do 3 sets of 10.
- Lateral lunges strengthen your inner thighs, which will help you stay comfortable when riding. Begin from a standing position and step to the side, bending your knee in the stepping leg and keeping your body facing forward. Push back up to a standing position. Repeat to do 3 sets of 10 on each side.
Horseback riding lessons will help you brush up on your riding skills as well as prepare your body for more riding time on your vacation. If you’re an advanced rider, lessons can fine-tune your skills and strengthen your muscles before your horseback riding vacation.
If you haven’t been horseback riding regularly or if you’re a beginner, it’s a good idea to take riding lessons to practice your skills and sitting posture. Lessons will improve your equestrian skill level and prepare you for a week of horseback riding tours.
What to Wear
When you’re embarking on a horseback riding getaway, you’ll want to dress for the weather and wear comfortable clothes and shoes or boots. Check the weather where you’ll be traveling so you know what clothes and jackets to pack. Bring your most comfortable riding clothes and make sure you’ll have protection from the weather, with long sleeves and ventilated clothing. For sunny destinations, remember your sunscreen and some sunglasses.
Horseback riding tours include long rides so you’ll want to wear comfortable clothes for sitting in the saddle for extended periods. For bottoms, pack bike shorts or riding pants with padding to keep your butt comfortable during the hours of riding.
For footwear, you don’t need your fanciest pair of riding boots but rather ones that are comfortable and suited to the weather. Decide what footwear is best - half chaps and shoes or full boots. If you’re traveling to a hotter destination, half chaps are a good option as you can ride in shoes and enjoy more ventilation to stay cool. Plus, a good hiking boot or walking shoe will keep your feet comfortable on your vacation. For cooler weather, boots are a great choice.
Also, bring your riding accessories, including a helmet. Other gear you may need includes a saddle bag or fanny pack and riding gloves. Many riders also forget about water and snacks on the trail but if you’ll be riding for long periods in warm weather, a hydration pack is a great idea to allow you to drink easily while on the trail.
Packing List - What You Need
So you’ve booked your horseback riding vacation and are wondering what to pack. This handy packing checklist will help you figure out what to bring so you have a great getaway:
Pack comfortable clothes. Bring comfortable riding and hiking clothes that are suitable for the weather of your destination. Opt for moisture-wicking layers and protection from the sun and potential rain. Here’s a rundown of clothing you may need:
● Comfortable clothes. Dress for the weather in comfortable clothing.
● Socks. Bring two pairs a day so you have enough socks for your rides and time off the trails.
● Boots and shoes. Pack riding boots or shoes and half chaps. Also, bring shoes for your time out of the saddle so you’re comfortable walking.
● Riding accessories you may want to bring include a riding hat, riding gloves, and a saddle bag.
A phone and accessories are vital for traveling. Here is a rundown of electronics you may want to pack:
- Phone and charger. Bring portable chargers so you can power up on the go.
- A SIM card is necessary to allow your phone to work in another country.
- Camera is optional but you may want to bring one to capture high-definition photos of your horseback riding trip.
- Laptop or tablet if you plan to do any work or for entertainment like reading.
- Cases, wires, and converters. You will need accessories to charge different devices and may need to have converters as well. Check with local travel guides to see what the standard electronic chargers are in your destination country.
Prepare for your horseback riding holidays by getting all your essentials in order. You’ll need your government IDs for traveling. And make sure you have travel insurance to protect your trip. Also, you’ll need your passport and may be required to have a travel visa as well. Even though you may pay with credit cards a lot on your trip, also go to a currency exchange so you have some cash in case you need it while traveling.
- Government IDs are a must for traveling.
- First aid kit. Bring a first aid kit that you can carry in your bag for any emergencies that arise while riding.
- Toiletries. Pack shampoo, soap, toothpaste, deodorant, and toiletries.
- Medications. Don’t forget any medications you take regularly or ones you may need while traveling.
- Fanny pack, backpack, or saddle bag. You’ll need a small bag to bring your essentials with you on the trails and when you’re out traveling. Keep your identity documents, forms of payment, and essential medications in your bag.
Preparing for your horseback riding vacation will ensure you have a smooth trip and will allow you to enjoy your experience. If you’re ready to book a horseback holiday, Horse Tours Club offers horseback riding vacation experiences around the world. We sell tours directly from riding organizers with no markup. All our organizers are verified to ensure the best possible quality of service and safety of our customers.
Book your horseback riding tour today and experience the vacation of a lifetime!