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Article: Why Pilates + Riding = Magic

Header of a blogpost titled pilates plus riding equals Magic, with a picture of a rider doing pilates

Why Pilates + Riding = Magic

You’ve likely heard that the top equestrians in the world, just like the top athletes in nearly every sport, are doing Pilates. What is this magical workout and how is it so effective in improving performance in the saddle? While very athlete can benefit from Pilates, it’s been said that Pilates is the #1 exercise for riders. Why? Because it both strengthens and lengthens the muscles to improve core strength, posture, and flexibility—and ultimately allows the rider to move with greater control, grace, and agility.

 What is Pilates?

Pilates is a type of mind-body exercise developed in the early 20th century by the German Physical Trainer Joseph Pilates. Originally called “Contrology”, it is system of low-impact exercises designed to strengthen muscles while improving postural alignment and flexibility. Early adopters of Pilates were professional ballet dancers in New York City in the 1960s, persuaded by top choreographers including George Balanchine and Martha Graham due to the long, lean physique it created—and its ability to ward off injury.

 How can Pilates benefit riders?

Trainers often say to “strengthen your core,” because stronger core muscles mean improved balance and stability in the saddle. But not at the expense of bulky muscles which can cause the rider to be stiff, that’s why flexibility and suppleness are critical too. The horse needs all of this—strength, stability, flexibility, and suppleness—to move fluidly and gracefully underneath the rider. This is exactly the focus of Pilates, along with the ability to isolate body movement, which can help the rider become more body aware and communicate the aids more clearly to the horse.

 How soon till I notice a difference?

According to Joe, you will see results relatively quickly after beginning Pilates.

 “In 10 sessions you'll feel the difference,

in 20 sessions you'll see the difference,

and in 30 sessions you'll have a whole new body.”

 --Joseph Pilates

 So, with that, I’d say it’s about time you got started ;) here are some pieces I recommend from Rönner’s Ride-Leisure category, made with high-tech fabrics recycled out of plastic bottles. Not only you’ll look good you’ll feel good! Breathable, chic and unique equestrian pieces for any workout session before or after riding. 

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