Apr 27, 2020

USEA Podcast #256: Coach Sando on Rider Fitness for Performance and Safety

By USEA

"If your horse had to pick a sound rider, would they pick you?"

That's the question Tony Sandoval, aka "Coach Sando", asks as Nicole Brown talks to him all about the role that strength and conditioning can play, not only on performance but also on safety and injury prevention.

  • Nicole dives right in with Sandoval, asking him about his background and his philosophy towards coaching, as he did not begin with an equestrian background. Sandoval has been a collegiate strength and conditioning coach for more than 15 years but only began working with equestrians in 2016.
  • Sandoval’s motto is “redefining equestrian performance” – his goal is to build the most athletic, healthy, and injury-free rider as possible. This requires the application of a variety of different principles to address a range of variables.
  • According to Sandoval, fitness does not necessarily equate to performance. Without the proper tools and training, fitness won’t serve you to the best of your capabilities when it’s time to perform. Strength and conditioning training aims to arm athletes with as many tools as possible to achieve their objectives.
  • Strength and conditioning training is also an important component for rider safety. For example, neck strength is an important contributing factor for head injuries, and there are specific exercises that riders can train that strengthen the neck and reduce risk of injury in the event of an accident. Sandoval even leads listeners through an exercise to test the range of motion in your neck.
  • Sandoval was also quick to point out the mental aspects of sport and the importance of sports psychology. One of the strategies he employs for his athletes is called an “After Action Report” where riders have the chance to set goals and evaluate performance.
  • Performance at a competition is simply an extension of the habits you form during training, said Sando. That includes warming up. Sando suggests that taking even a few moments to warm up your own muscles can make a significant difference in your ability to perform in the saddle. He provides a couple of suggestions for exercises riders can do before hopping into the saddle to increase performance.
  • Sandoval closes out the podcast with a list of quick top tips:
    • Make time to train! Maintaining a routine is key to success.
    • Train to acquire tools, not to tone. Is your training giving you tools to perform? Make sure your exercises are serving you!
    • Work with a professional that understands how to give you the tools you need to succeed and keep you safe and healthy.
  • Small adjustments in everyday life can lead to big improvements in the long run!

Jam-packed with top tips that can be used on a day-to-day basis, we hope you enjoy this episode!

Want to learn more about Coach Sando? USEA members can read an article about him in the January/February 2020 issue of Eventing USA, but logging into the magazine archives in their Online Services profile.

Subscribe to the USEA Official Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, PodBean, or Stitcher, or click below to listen in!

Jun 04, 2020 Eventing News

The Fair Hill Organizing Committee Postpones Inaugural Maryland Five-Star at Fair Hill Due to COVID-19

The Fair Hill Organizing Committee (FHOC), an affiliate of the Sport and Entertainment Corporation of Maryland (The Sport Corp.), today announced the inaugural Maryland Five-Star at Fair Hill will take place October 14-17, 2021. Health and safety factors, in addition to other challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, led to a final decision to postpone the international three-day eventing competition originally scheduled for this October at the newly constructed Special Event Zone at Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area in Cecil County, Maryland.

Jun 04, 2020 Competitions

USEA Events A-Z: Apple Knoll Farm Horse Trials

Apple Knoll Farm in Millis, Massachusetts (Area I) was scheduled to host two one-day events in 2020 offering Training, Novice, and Beginner Novice divisions. Their May event was forced to cancel due to COVID-19, but their September event is planning to run as scheduled.

Jun 04, 2020 Eventing News

Event Cancellations and Responses to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

This article will be updated to include statements as they are released from upcoming USEA recognized events regarding actions they are taking due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Jun 03, 2020 Sponsor

Humanizing Horse Insurance

For many equestrians today, horse insurance is often viewed as a big, daunting, and scary topic. There are potential pitfalls and there is a lot of fine print to be addressed. The questions are many and the fine print is very fine. What type of coverage is needed? What are the right questions that should be asked before deciding on the right policy for you and your horse?

Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

Official Outerwear of the USEA

Official Supplement Feeding System of the USEA

Official Forage of the USEA

Official Feed of the USEA

Official Saddle of the USEA

Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

Official Equine Insurance of the USEA