Increasingly, Pilates is being practiced to build core muscle strength, to achieve the perfect ‘Classic Seat'
Within the equestrian world specifically, it’s increasingly using Pilates to build core muscle strength, to achieve the perfect ‘Classic Seat’. Because a rider must cope with a horse moving both vertically and horizontally, their core strength is vital.
Increasing core strength keeps the rider strong and supple, strengthens the back and thus reduces back pain. It encourages the horse to collect and use their hind end to work correctly. Avoids unnecessary movement in all parts of the body, prevents collapsing, twisting, bouncing, or bobbing in the rest of the body, enhances stability and balance in the saddle, improves communication with the horse and strengthens the seat making it more effective and independent.
Pilates will strengthen core muscles. These muscles are the shock absorber, protective wrap, and power source of the body. It is a group of the muscles which support the spine, connect the front to the back of the body, and provide strength to maintain body balance, alignment, and posture.
A general Pilates program will develop the necessary strength, postural alignment and balance, where specific exercises can enhance the ability to move one body part – say, the legs – without the need for major readjustment of the hips and torso. This will lead to a more balanced rider resulting in better performance for both the horse and rider.
It is commonly accepted that horse and rider mirror one another. How a rider moves off the horse, is how they move on the horse. Increasing biomechanical function and awareness of how you move while riding, desired or not, dramatically improves riding skill. A balanced, flexible, and strong rider can more easily develop these same skills on their horse by noticing more quickly, the mistakes they’re making.
Many riders have a natural ability to assess their horse's movements either by watching them move or feeling them under saddle. From practicing Pilates, a rider becomes more aware of their own body on and off the horse, which can dramatically improve their riding.