Part 3 of Winter Arena Exercises is going to be pretty simple. Stand in your stirrups while riding. That’s it. Whether you are out in the pouring rain or lucky enough to be in an indoor arena, take the opportunity to build those leg muscles (yours) and improve your balance at the same time.
But remember, if it’s worth doing, its worth doing right. Here are some pointers to help you do this exercise right:
1. Don’t balance on the reins. Balance comes from your legs and core not from your hands. If you start to lose balance, use the saddle horn to get yourself back into position.
2. Crouch in the saddle in an athletic stance. In basketball, tennis, baseball or other sports, the athlete will stand in an “athletic stance” when they are preparing for their next move. This same “athletic stance” is what I want when I am standing in my saddle.
3. Don’t lock your knees and thrust your hips forward. Bend those knees and remember the athletic stance.
4. If you are having trouble getting your hind end out of the saddle, consider shortening your stirrups a notch or two. Don’t be too drastic as you don’t want to look like a jockey.
5. Don’t lean forward too much as this will throw you off balance and bring your heals up. You don’t want to look like this guy.
6. This is not the same as two-point position. With this exercise your upper body will be slightly more upright than the rider in two-point position in the photo below.
You may ask, “Why would I need to practice standing while riding, I mean isn’t the seat of my saddle for sitting in?”. Yes, your seat is for sitting on, but there are many applications in both western and english riding where standing in the saddle either makes the job easier or is mandatory for a smooth performance. Here are just a few:
I could go on but I think you get the point. So who is joining me for a little early spring standing-while-riding?