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“Core Strength” is a bit of a buzzword right now. The fitness industry is awash with photos of airbrushed six-packs and headlines promising exercises to get a flat stomach and a strong core.

In riding, we may not see those six-packs, but it is often taught that a key to good riding is to suck that stomach in and tighten up.

What does it actually mean to have a strong core and what is its role in our riding?

First, a warning that this information may go against what you’ve been told before, but we are going to look at the big picture of how your body works in a symphony of movement and discover the skill that is more important than strength.

I will talk about how when we ride we need to move, stabilize, and breathe, all at the same time!

We will look at the importance of the core, but how over bracing affects us in three big ways.

Click play below to watch the video and learn more!


Daily exercises for an immovable seat, steady hands, and a happier horse

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Daily exercises for an immovable seat, steady hands, and a happier horse

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27 Responses

  1. Great video! I really do think it’s all about balance. I’m getting back to riding after about six weeks off with pneumonia. I’m a pretty relaxed rider–I’m not sure I could tighten my core even if I wanted to– but without the basic strength I had even a month ago, the cues are harder to coordinate and my body tenses up as a result (making me even more tired–gaaaah). I’m so glad you guys are doing some online yoga classes. Yippee!

    1. I hope you are feeling better Bonnie! Looking forward to having you in the free classes 🙂

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  2. Great lesson Callie. The piece that resonated with me was your explanation about coordinated strength and flexibility and over all body coordination. Thank you.

  3. Thank you so much for this great video! Also thank you for the free yoga classes that are coming up, I really appreciate it.

    1. Couldn’t have asked for a better instructor to get more riders on the yoga mat Heidi! I can’t wait to get started with the free classes next month!

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  4. In my riding, I’ve discovered that when I try to do everything they tell us to, I become posed and stiff. What you said today, Callie, made a lot of sense to me. When I’m posed on the horse, I don’t readily move with them. But when I relax, if they make a sudden unexpected movement, I move with them before I can even think about it.

    1. That is a great way to describe it – posed. Our good friend Wendy Murdoch talks a lot about being a functional rider versus a stylish rider. If we are just ‘posing’ then we can really be in great function – which is exactly what you are describing Ruth!

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  5. Thank you Callie. This made perfect sense. Every time an instructor told me to focus on my core I could feel myself stiffening up, which threw off my balance. They always complimented my posture, even while telling me that, which just made me very confused. My riding was always best whenever I forgot all about that and just adopted the carefree attitude and just focussed on having fun like that child in the video, no matter what I was doing. As soon as I began to think about “my core” and “tucking my pelvis in”, things went downhill. Looking forward to the yoga course!

    1. Exactly! Great observations Mischa! Looking forward to having you in the free classes!

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  6. Thank you for this video Callie!
    Sometimes I am reminded of my first call to you asking you how in the world I was going to learn from videos etc. on my computer…..well….first of all , there is much more than looking at my iPad with your classes!…I cannot express how happy I am to be part of this community. ……very rich ongoing experience . Thank you very much for all your hard work….still wonder when you sleep!………Leslie

    1. We have LOVED watching you and Cita on your journey through the last few years Leslie! Thanks for being a part of our community 🙂

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  7. I appreciate everything I am learning from your videos and look forward to learning more. I can also relate so well to some of the comments being shared, such as stiffening up and losing natural seat/flow when given a pointed instruction. Everything I have focuses on that point and I tend to tighten up to the point I become exhausted! Ha! ‘Oh’ those points! I look forward to learning yoga stretches and perhaps with it I’ll gain an inner calm. Thank you!

  8. Hi, I enjoyed the video but wonder why yoga always has to be promoted? Not everyone wants to do it. The fact is that yoga, even hatha yoga, has a spiritual side as it is part of an Eastern religion called Hinduism. Can we not have strengthening exercises that do not include it? I know good riders who do not do it, and I am sure that in the past there have been many great riders who did not do yoga.

    1. I’m a committed atheist but a recent convert (forgive the word lol) to yoga. I’ve tried pilates in the past and got bored very quickly. 12 weeks of hatha yoga and I am so much stronger already (I am nearly 50) and my yoga instructor doesn’t go into the spiritual bit at all.
      Many of the poses I’ve also done in normal work outs with a personal trainer and in pilates-so I just look at it as a strengthening workout-there’s certainly not much laying/sitting on a mat contemplating the universe when I do it, its all I can do to keep up! I also feel amazing the next day and its seemingly ‘fixed’ my plantar fasciitis and other niggles-nothing else has come close to doing me as much good all over (generally I am a runner/cyclist rather than a class type exerciser).

    2. I agree with you. I do a one hour walk with one pound weights-after doing a few stretches-and have wonderful results. I use the weights as if they are larger -pumping my arms and doing circles with my arms to break up the monotony of the walk. I even do some dance moves with the weights, as well as martial arts moves. It is fun and effective.

  9. I like yoga for the stretching and the balance that I can get from the postures. Some people may associate it with a spiritual belief, but for me it is simply another form of exercise, like jogging–or riding my horse!


    1. That is one of the common misconceptions about yoga, that it is a religion but it isn’t! It is a great form of exercise that accompanies well with riding 🙂

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  10. I agree with the comments being expressed here that point to yoga as being a wonderful exercise. It helps one in achieving stability (balance), strength, flexibility, and a healthy mind body connection (awareness). I’m excited about, and looking forward to, the yoga exercises that are going to be presented.

    1. Glad to hear you’ll be joining us in the free classes Judy!

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  11. Yoga is great, but don’t forget Tai Chi! It’s all about balance and being soft/no tension. I find it translates to riding really well.

  12. Please be sure to discuss your UPPER back issues! No one seems to address the upper back – it’s always the lower back. Looking forward to this series.

    1. Hi Kiki, thanks for your request! Heidi will be dealing with the whole spine in our classes 🙂

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

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