Camp can be quite intense for you as a rider. Not only will you be undertaking the usual horse care tasks, you’ll be in the saddle for around 4 hours a day (in 2 hour blocks), attending lectures & demo’s, socialising, plus walking around the Eland Lodge site.
The level of fitness you’ll need will depend on your level of riding, and what your goals are for camp.
Take a look at some of our suggestions below. Don’t forget it’s important to consult your doctor before you undertake any new form of exercise. We would recommend getting an instructor to help you with any new mounted exercises to ensure it is suitable for you and your horse in a safe environment.
Riding cross country is physically very demanding. The cross country course at eland lodge is between 2 – 2.5km long, meaning that whatever pace you choose to go round at, that’s a lot of physical work. Prepare your self for these demands with some cardio exercise – there’s loads of activities that can help: power walking, jogging, interval training, aerobics, dance… the list goes on. Remember to start off gradually and build up slowly for the best results.
Staying in a forward seat for around 5 minutes takes leg strength! For this, practice makes perfect. Start to add in some riding in forward seat during your normal training session. Start off small – just with the long sides, and build up gradually. Get someone on the ground to help you and check you’re in a good balanced position. Neckstraps can help, especially if you’re finding it a bit hard to balance. Already pretty good? Try adding some transitions or working at a slower pace – it’s amazing how much harder this becomes.
Your dressage session is likely to engage core muscles you never knew you had. Working without stirrups is a great way to engage and strengthen your core. You don’t need to torture yourself – why not add 5 minutes onto the end of your ride a couple of times a week – you’ll still see the results.
Balance is an essential part of riding, and can be particularly handy when it comes to making those tight showjumping turns. Gymball exercises, Pilates and Yoga all help with developing those crucial muscles for good balance, why not give it a go!
Mounted exercises are also a great way of building your balance and muscle memory. Try using poles & turns in a sitting or forward seat to get started.
Being in the saddle for more time than normal will undoubtedly make you a little stiff, especially as you may be undertaking new activities that your body isn’t used to, or a higher intensity of training.
Exercises such as stretching, Pilates or yoga can make a huge difference to your flexibility, and can also help you to stretch out and recover sooner after a ride. There are plenty of sessions available locally, plus youtube has some great tips for riders too.