Balance for Us – Clare Howard

Hi Form Clare Howard Balanced Rider

Clare Howard from the Balanced Rider, will be a regular feature in our newsletter. Getting our horse’s to be the best they can be and neglecting ourselves is counterproductive, and something we often forget.

She will be providing us with hints, tips and features to give us the best chance to ride for success and making sure we are not hindering our horses!

To launch Clare and the team at the Balanced Rider want to ease you in and they came up with these exercises that can be done at the stable – not lying on the floor but being fully clothed and not are not too embarrassing!

A note – please consult your doctor or physio before starting any new exercise.



Gluts and Hip Stretch

This is probably one of the best stretches for any discipline of rider, and is best done before you ride. Not necessarily just before you get on but sometime in the few hours before hand. This is great for stretching out all the muscles that you sit on when you ride. So it helps to get you more symmetrical and sitting centrally and deeper in the saddle from the moment you start riding.

There are several different styles for this stretch. Here we’re showing Advanced dressage rider Yasmin Dadkhah showing the standard position and her mother list 5 dressage judge Ellie demonstrating the easier version whilst she considers a knee replacement. The lower you bend the supporting leg, the stronger the stretch. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and repeat twice on each side.












This is particularly important for any rider who spends time in the forward seat or jumping. A lot of riders don’t use their gluts/bottom muscles correctly. You may have noticed that many jump jockeys walk with a waddle?

There are lots of ways to do a squat but we use the one which will help your riding. Start in upright standing with arms as if you were riding. Squat down into your forward seat/ jumping position allowing your hands forward.

Then return to your upright position and repeat for one minute. Do this at the speed you would expect to on your horse i.e. steadily back from a canter to a walk, or quickly over a jump.

Avoid sticking your bottom out; the aim is to maintain your good ear-shoulder-hip-heel alignment You’ll notice our model; showjumper Ethan Bracken based at Ashbourne International is using a wobble board to test his balance further.



Over the ball and on the ball. Very good for evening out onesidednes.This often happens in dressage riders falling in/out around a corner or circle, and in jumping this is seen when the rider always drifts their horse to one side on landing. It is also incredibly useful if you ride hot or sharp horses as it increases you reaction time when pushed off balance.

The aim is to create an ear-shoulderhip-heel line. However the most important thing is to aim for a neutral, not hollow, lumbar spine. So if you do not have quite enough shoulder and hip mobility like Darrol on the left then don’t worry. However, Ben on the right’s alignment will improve with more practice, useful for his spooky TB!         

At The Balanced Rider we like control in movement not bracing and static. During this exercise slowly alternate opposite arms and legs rather than trying to stay rigid and still. Please be careful of your environment to avoid falling off and hurting yourself.









For more information visit The Balanced Rider – 07976 284788 –

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