Equestrian Fitness #3 – Inspiration from Friends

Fitness is much more fun with friends & in the latest series of Equestrian Fitness I’ve joined forces with 4 amazing ladies who share their fitness routine & top tips for getting fit for equestrian events.

Between them they have a wealth of equestrian & fitness experience which includes a former member of Team GB ponies, a Pilates teacher & physio, a Bounce advocate & a rider who used Pilates as part of her spinal injury rehab.

Without further a do let me introduce you to my 4 fabulous equestrian friends & we hope we can inspire you to keep fit for your four legged friends with a variety of fitness ideas.

Name: Louise Towl – Ready to Ride

Location: Devon

Day job: Chartered Physiotherapist and Veterinary Physiotherapist, incorporating Pilates teaching with online YouTube videos

What equestrian event you take part in: Dressage

What fitness do you take part in to get fit for your equestrian event? Pilates and walking on Dartmoor when I can but tricky with a small child in tow, so my cardio is not what it should be!

What’s your top fitness tip for riders? Make it personal; everyone is an individual, so ideally you need a fitness regime that is tailored to you.

Get a professional to guide you if you can – it is pointless spending a fortune on your horse but neglecting yourself when you are 50% of the team.

Louise on Social:

Louise Towl - Ready To Ride - Pilates Teacher
Louise Towl – Ready To Ride – Pilates Teacher
Louise in action at Tall Trees October 2012
Louise in action at Tall Trees October 2012

Name: Katie Bleekman

Location: Malmesbury Wilts, covering Swindon / Cirencester / Malmesbury area. Based at Evolution Fitness in South Cerney

Day job: Personal trainer working with a variety of clients, specialising in rider fitness and training. Most of my sessions are done in the gym at Evolution, which is a great private gym, only PT clients in the gym, so plenty of space and a great friendly atmosphere. I also offer home training and yard visits if practical. I work for Evolution training the Small Group Classes and then do 121 clients both for the gym and my own clients around this as well as shared PT, for example, training with a friend & small groups.

With my riders I focus on creating a progressive 8-12 week programme designed to meet their goals, often the focus is on areas of weakness such as hip stability & strength, core control & imbalances. Using a mixture of resistance & functional training I focus on getting your muscles working correctly & making sure the client understands how to do so and why we are doing it and how this will improve and help their riding. I believe out of the saddle training is absolutely key!

What equestrian event you take part in: I used to event (Last event 2016), competed up to FEI 3* level & Team GB Pony European team winning a Team Silver and placing 6th individually. Still ride regularly & hunt.

What fitness do you take part in to get fit for your equestrian event? Strength training in the gym & I also train with a PT. Long distance running & lots of mobility & stretching

What’s your top fitness tip for riders? Start treating yourself like you would your horse. Spend time on your fitness, mobility, movement and nutrition as you would your horse to reach your goals. If you have any pains, I would always suggest seeing a physio or osteo before starting an exercise programme.

Think of it like this; it’s all well and good having the physio in to treat your horse & feeding him the best diet in the world but if you’re not fit enough or riding wonky then how do you expect to get the results you want.

Katie on Social:

Katie Bleekman - Personal Trainer
Katie Bleekman – Personal Trainer
Katie in action for Team GB
Katie in action for Team GB

Name: Laura Szuca aka Wannabe in the Ribbons

Location: Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire

What equestrian event you take part in? Sadly, at the moment we don’t compete as my horse is recovering from an injury, but we previously would do a bit of everything!

What fitness do you take part in to get fit for your equestrian event? I try and do a few things. I suffer with long term back pain and in November 2018 I had a spinal operation. I started Pilates about 2 ½ years ago as recommend by my surgeon and I find it very beneficial. Not only to help with stretching and loosening my tight/stiff back muscles, but I have found it also helped improve my balance in the saddle. I try and go once a week to a class at my gym and do 10 minutes a few times a week at home. I notice a difference in my suppleness if I miss a week, and as most riders, I have very tight calf muscles, so Pilates is great for stretching these muscles out.

What’s your top fitness tip for riders?

I think for me it’s about realising you can’t expect to focus on getting your horse fit for example for XC at a one-day event, but not focus on your own fitness!

If you’re heading to an event, whatever that might be, dressage, showing, or eventing and you have worked on making sure your horse is up to the job, make sure you do the same for yourself. I think riding and owning a horse of course can give you a base level of fitness but you might want to consider increasing that activity to include some sort of cardio or strength training as well as considering something like Pilates to keep you flexible.

Laura on Social:

Laura practising Pilates
Laura practising Pilates
Laura & Mikey
Laura & Mikey

Name: Gem Gilbert aka Gem Eventing

Location: I’m 22, based in Somerset, which is rather wet at the moment, so running has not been done as much as I liked to have done.

What equestrian event you take part in? Having had some time off, I’ve had to work twice as hard to get my fitness back ready for the eventing season.

What fitness do you take part in to get fit for your equestrian event? I’ve been trying to exercise every other day. On a Monday I attended an hour and half Bounce class where we work on cardio, bums and tums. I find this has helped with my core strength too. I’ve been going for long works as I find it’s been helping to get my stamina up without tiring myself out too much. The day after I will work on sit ups, home workouts that I can do if the weather is gross.

I do mix up running and walking in an interval style, out on the roads. I don’t attend any gyms for my training as I’m sure we all know having horses is costly let alone a gym membership on top!

What’s your top fitness tip for riders? My fitness tip would be to increase your step count as much as you can every day.

Gem on Social:

Instagram: @GemEventing

Twitter: @GemEventing

Blog: www.gemeventing.com

Gem at Bounce
Gem at Bounce
Gem & Con at Pontispool
Gem & Con at Pontispool

Thank you for reading & I hope that the tips & ideas from Louise, Katie, Laura & Gem has inspired you to keep fit for your equestrian events.

Would love to know what you thought of this blog post – please pop a comment below or drop me a DM.

Why not have a read of my other Equestrian Fitness blog posts featuring Activate Your Seat and Home Workouts with Julia Buckley


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