May 07, 2020

Why Yoga? with Lisa Bauman

Photo courtesy of Lisa Bauman.

I'm broken, like most eventers. Duct tape, bute, and get on with it, right? We, as riders and competitors, treat our horses significantly better than we treat ourselves. A few years back I was gearing up for a fun season with a nice string of younger horses when I got kicked in the side of the knee. Yoga was a large part of my rehab for it and I came back stronger and faster than my orthopedist thought was possible. I also became acutely aware that my collective injuries were causing some minor (or not so) imbalances in the saddle. For example, I struggled with canter half pass right because I was perpetually sitting a bit heavier on the left side. I was out of balance - mentally and physically.

One of the things I love about Yoga is that you can ramp it up and kick the #!(#%! out of yourself, or you can slow it down and it feel like active stretching. Anything you do has a direct impact on your time in the saddle: get fitter, get softer, get kinder, get stronger. This is why I started Om Riding. We combine Yoga geared specifically for equestrians with traditionally formatted clinics (ie. dressage, show jumping, cross-country, gymnastics, etc). As a result, we are able to address the mental and physical side of riding before we even get into the tack as well as get insight into some of the rider imbalances prior to beginning the gymnastics.

Here are three basic Yoga poses you can try at home that will help increase your flexibility and strength, in and out of the saddle.

Plank Hold

  • Strengthens core - improves literally every aspect of riding.
  • Reduces back pain - frees usage of your back in aids, transitions, sitting trot, half halts, etc.
  • Improves posture - improves your position in the saddle, increased effectiveness of your seat.
  • Improves balance - the goal is to stay on and in the middle, front to back and left to right.
  • Strengthen shoulder girdle - increases your ability to ride the horse off your back. Effective use of half halts, plus you will stop getting yelled at to sit up and bring your shoulders back!

    Goddess Pose

    • Tones core and glutes - stabilizes your position in saddle.
    • Stretches hips/groins - gives you a more stable, quiet, active leg without pinching.
    • Strengthens muscles of legs - increases effectiveness of your aids.
    • Lengthen spine/improves posture - improved posture/pelvic tilt to increase correct seat.

    Crescent Lunge

    • Strengthen/tones thighs, hips, butt - effective use of your aids, specifically lateral movements and the two point position.
    • Balance - develops flexible stability, increases your ability to follow the horse's movement, independent aid application.
    • Backbend/heart opener - helps front of body expand, increase energy, use of breath, improved posture/seat in the saddle, reduces fatigue.

    Here is a quick 10-minute flow video for people to do before they hop on their horses. It's short, sweet, and to the point. It focuses on loosening the hips, back, and shoulders. It's light impact and you do not need a yoga mat for this flow!

    Currently, I am unable to travel for clinics due to COVID-19 so we have moved to an online platform. It's been a fun shift and a great way to stay connected with riders nationally. As we hope to begin to travel again, we will continue the online classes as a way to help riders get more time on the mat. Anyone is welcome to join! Classes are Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. More information is available here.

    Feb 24, 2021 Rules

    VIDEO: Rules Webinar with Malcolm Hook

    Following the popularity of Rules Open Forum held virtually during the 2020 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention in December, the USEA Competitions, Calendar, and Rules Committee decided to host another Rules Webinar to share information about the extraordinary rule changes going into effect on April 1, 2021 and the rule change proposals being put forward to the USEF by March 1, 2021 for approval for the 2022 competition season.

    Feb 23, 2021 Competitions

    Weekend Quick Links: February 27-28, 2021

    Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.

    Feb 23, 2021 Future Event Horse

    Conformation Critique with Chris Ryan: Prince’s Stone

    Chris Ryan’s initial assessment of this 3-year-old off-the-track Thoroughbred gelding is that he’s a “good quality sort. Brown is a great color – a strong color in ‘nature.’ One of the first questions I ask myself when evaluating a horse is if he has refinement. We know the breed type here is Thoroughbred but I still ask the question."

    Feb 22, 2021 Association News

    Push Notifications Now Available on the Event Companion App

    The USEA Event Companion App was launched in late 2016 for iOS and Android devices to provide USEA members with easy, at-your-fingertips access to the USEA calendar of events, dressage tests, rules, news, and more. The app, now in its fifth year, has rolled out a new feature for users - push notifications are here!

    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