So that you can keep in shape year round, even during the non-riding season, continue walking, stretching exercises and strength training. In addition, try to find other activities that will keep you ready to ride. Companion sports will help you minimize weight gain, prevent muscle atrophy, and reduce chance of injury when you do return to active riding. Even if you ride all year, it is a good idea to participate in other sports or activities to make you a well-rounded person mentally and physically.
Brisk walking and bicycling provide great cardiopulmonary benefits and fine-tune your rhythm and equilibrium. Cross-country skiing is a wonderful off-season sport to keep your muscles and cardiopulmonary system in shape. The characteristic crouch of the skier uses many of the same muscles as riding does, and the aerobic exercise is unequaled in winter sports.
Indoor cross-training can include various types of dancing. Ballet improves flexibility and the ability to execute patterned movements. Ballroom or country and western dancing can improve your coordination and the ability to perform sequenced movements. Fencing utilizes some of the same leg muscles as riding and can improve your reaction time as well as developing a sense of poise in your body carriage. Gymnastics can improve balance, strength, poise, and focus.
East Meets West
Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese system of relaxed concentration that focuses the mind, balances the body and enhances energy. It is practiced through a series of hand and body movements with a great emphasis on breathing. Tai Chi can help a rider gain body awareness and coordination and when it comes time to sit on a horse, many riders have found that Tai Chi helps them to be a more balanced and perceptive rider.