You’re excited about going horse riding in Ecuador. You’ve been on the Cabalgatas Canoa website, read about our beautiful horses and where you can ride, decided which of our fantastic horse riding tours in Canoa is your favourite and finally you booked your Ecuador horseback riding adventure.
What now? How should you prepare? Perhaps you’re a regular rider and well used to the workout you’ll experience while horse riding. Maybe you’re a complete beginner. You’ve never been on a horse and have no idea what to expect, or it’s been a few years since you’ve been in the saddle.
Whatever your situation and level of horseback riding skill, yoga is a great way to prepare yourself to get the best from your time horseback riding. When you are feeling great, both physically and mentally, you’ll ride your horse better and enjoy your horse ride more.
Yoga is an excellent way of helping to open up and free your hips. An open and unrestricted hip makes riding more comfortable, and it helps you to use your leg aids or signals on the horse.
Free hips also lead to a correctly aligned lower body with the knees and ankles in correct alignment, which helps avoid strains and stress on the joints. When you are more comfortable riding, you’ll enjoy the lovely scenery in Canoa all the more.
Canoa is a great place to try out yoga or deepen your practice if you are already an experienced yogi. We have some great yoga teachers in town, and there are some simple yoga poses that you can try on the stunning Canoa beach at home, or in your garden.
Let’s take a look at some yoga poses to help equestrians of all levels.
Tree pose or vrksasana (vrik-SHAHS-uh-nah) to use the Sanskrit name, is a basic asana that’s an excellent pose for beginners. Every horse rider should learn this pose as it helps you to develop balance. It also helps to ease tightness in the hips by stretching your inner thighs, groin, and shoulders.
Because you are balanced on one leg, it strengthens your thighs, calves, core, and foot muscles at the same time.
Lord of the dance pose
Even if you are new to yoga, you’ll probably recognize natarajasana (not-ah-raj-AHS-anna) or lord of the dance pose. This pose may be challenging for some, and you will need to practice with more accessible variations before reaching the final pose. It’s a balance pose that stretches the shoulders and chest, thighs, groin, and abdomen. Your legs and ankles will get a workout too.
Try the pose using a wall or tree to help you with your balance. If you practice regularly, you’ll soon become sufficiently strong and balanced to work without support.
Bound angle pose
Baddha Konasana (BAH-dah cone-AHS-anna) or bound angle pose is a great pose for horse riders that helps to open up and relax the hips. For those of us who spend a considerable amount of time sitting, this pose will help to counteract the constriction our hips suffer.
What happens when we can open up our hips while horse riding? Our legs are lengthened, and our heels naturally drop down into the stirrups allowing the inner leg muscles to work correctly.
Our bodies tend to hold tension and stress in our shoulders and hips, so exercises that release the hips also act as stress relievers, meaning you’ll be more relaxed while on your horse or on the ground!
Anjaneyasana (AHN-jah-nay-AHS-uh-nuh), high lunge or crescent pose helps to increase the range of motion in your hip joint and lengthens the muscles that lie in front of the hip, leading to a better leg position when you’re horseback riding.
It creates flexibility and strength and promotes stability through the torso as the upper body reaches upward to realign the spine hips. You may want to use this pose to help you stretch your thighs, calves and ankles after a horse ride to prevent the tightness that can occur, especially the following day!
Warrior II pose
The final yoga pose for horseback riders is the powerful warrior II or virabhadrasana II (veer-uh-buh-DRAHS-uh-nuh) pose. With this pose, you will open your hips outwards, which releases any tension and stress in the groin and thighs. You’ll find mounting easier once you practice this pose regularly and be able to spend longer in the saddle comfortably. Your arms will also benefit from this pose as they stretch out away from one another, which opens the front of the chest.
Warrior II strengthens the thighs, abdomen and buttocks, which will help you to use your seat aids more effectively when you’re riding. Every good warrior needs concentration as well as strength, and this yoga pose will help you here also.
Stretch, breathe and prepare for horse riding in Canoa
Everyone can try yoga. There are more comfortable alternatives for most of the poses. When you practice regularly, you’ll soon see improvement in your horse riding ability, focus, strength, balance and general state of mind. Remember that a balanced rider helps the horse’s comfort too, and at Cabalgatas Canoa, we always put our horses first!
If you would like to have the ride of your life with Cabalgatas Canoa, send an email to [email protected] or WhatsApp on +593 (0)99 125 5789