Sunday, March 17, 2019

Why the core matters for horseback riders

The core matters for everything we do in life. It is essential for our wellbeing, not only physically, but a strong core also makes us feel stronger emotionally. When we think about the core we often think about our abdominals and those good old sit ups that at least I used to do as a young girl in order to get a stronger core. 

The core is however your whole midsection and it involves all your muscles in that area including the front, back and sides. The core includes the traverse abdominis (TVA), erector spinae, obliques and your lower lats and these muscles work as stabilizers for the entire body.* Or as Lara Heimann so well puts it: 

"While most assume it's just the abdominals, the core is truly a channel and conduit of renewable energy. It is the area of our body which houses our life. The core is important for controlling, harnessing, and moving energy within the body."

When we consider the core an area including the front, back and sides I wanted to illustrate something through this video that I filmed after our yoga class today. As you can see on the video, a stronger core also helps us stabilize our back. The structure of the spine is very rigid and does not have a lot of movement. We do however find the largest amount of movement and a natural arch in the lumbar spine, referred to as the lower back, where the spine curves inward toward the abdomen (this inward curve of the spine is called lordosis). ** Therefore if we do not have a strong core we are more likely to get a hollow back and get a larger bend in the lumbar spine area when we ride our horses. If we get a hollow back we not only sit in the wrong position on the horse but we do not have a strong enough seat and are more likely to ride more than necessary with our hands and legs. We are also more likely to get a sore back that might turn into some bigger lower back issues if we are not connected to our core. So yet again a good reminder that everything connects to each other in our bodies and if we want to ride with a light and supple seat we should definitely pay attention to our core. And also remember that if the area of our body that houses our life is stuck and not working properly we also get stuck energy that effects the horse straight away. If our energy is stuck, it will directly affect the way our horse feels and moves. 

At least I will try to get to know my core better from now on. 

Also listen to Lara Heimans podcast More Core

* Core Training: The What, Why and How
** Lumbar Spine Anatomy and Pain

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