Many riders suffer from back pain so it’s important that as a rider you should take logical steps to avoid or curb it. Here are some top tips for maintaining a healthy back:

  • When doing the yard, try to sweep or muck out with the broom or fork in alternate hands. This should help to minimise asymmetrical activity.
  • You should ask a qualified saddler for an assessment. Saddles are often bought to fit the horse, not the rider, so it is important that you check this.
  • Try Pilates or Swiss ball exercises. These will help you develop good core control and will also help to reduce pressure on the spine.
  • If back pain strikes, you should always consult your GP and a chartered physiotherapist or a registered osteopath or chiropractor – preferably someone who specialises in backs and understands the biomechanics of riding. This is a common problem for riders so don’t allow it to go unnoticed.
  • Book regular treatments to maintain back health and ensure that you have regular checkups.
  • When training your horse, you should strive to correct a young horse’s innate crookedness before you pick up some of your own.
  • Learn to use your lower back properly with plenty of lunge work.
  • Go to the gym – a personal trainer may be able to help you develop additional muscles in your back and strengthen those that you use when riding. Training correctly at the gym should help to ease any back pain.
  • Avoid a horse that is naturally “hard to sit to” if you have a history of back pain. If your horse is, you should do lots of flatwork to help promote a better rhythm, and consequently an easier seat for yourself. 

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