How to help your sore back after horse riding

This really great post by Louise Humphrey of Studio 44 Pilates is most likely the one for all of us horse riders!  Here she gives some great exercises that we can do before getting on, to help strengthen our core:

You have just been on a long hack and you get off your horse standing for a few moments with your hand on your lower back, pushing your pelvis forward to try and alleviate the pain in your lower back! 

Did you warm up before riding? 

Probably not, my guess is you tacked your horse up jumped on and warmed the horse up slowly before you really got going! 

Sound familiar? 

WHY?  Most sports we do, we start with a warm up, mobilising the body and getting  ready for the exercise we are about to do. 

As a rider you are still exercising and using your whole body in the process.   

Pilates can benefit your riding!

By strengthening your core it can help in the following ways 

  • Improve you balance 
  • Strengthen your deep abdominal and back muscles 
  • Improve awareness of you whole body and your alignment 
  • Learn to relax your body and be aware of any tension that you might carry
  • Learn to control your body so every move you are aware of 

These are a few of the advantages to doing Pilates.  Why not try out these 5 easy Pilates exercises before you head out for a ride next time and see if you feel the benefits. 

Russian Twist

  • Lying on the floor with your arms out each side and legs bent
  • Let your legs drop to one side exhaling, keeping your shoulders on the floor
  • Engage your core to lift legs up inhaling
  • Repeat other side 
  • 3 x repetitions 
  • This is a great mobility exercise 

Shoulder Bridge 

  • Lying on the floor with your knees bent and arm by your side 
  • Lower your lower back to the floor (tilting your pelvis)
  • Lift your bottom off the floor whilst your lower back stays on the floor and engage your glutes (squeeze your bottom) Exhale
  • Peel each bone of your spine off the floor as you roll up into a bridge position (see photo)
  • Ensure your core is engaged all the time
  • Inhale at the top and then exhale as you place each part of the spine back down on the floor
  • This is great for mobilising your back
  • Repeat x 5 

Swan dive 

  • Lie on your stomach with your elbows toward your waist and your hands wide (as though you were making the letter W)
  • Press your pubic bone to the floor, tighten your glutes and engage core
  • Ensure shoulders stay relaxed as you lift from the chest, then push up through the arms as you extend your back.  You shouldn’t feel this in your lower back if you do squeeze glute more and engage core more!
  • Breathe as feels comfortable
  • Repeat x 5
  • This is a great mobility exercise 

Side kick 

  • Lie on your side with your legs straight 
  • Hips on top of each other and you should just be able to see your feet 
  • Lift the top leg up as you inhale and exhale as you bring leg down repeat x 5
  • Then bring top leg forward exhaling, without falling forward and then take leg behind using your glute, again maintain hips on top of each other. Inhale  Repeat x 5
  • This is a great balance exercise 

Seated Roll up 

  • Sit tall with legs bent 
  • Tilt your pelvis (tailbone under you) and engage your core 
  • Keep tilting as you exhale and keep going towards the floor holding on through the core. 
  • Hold and inhale 
  • Exhale as roll back up to your start position 
  • Repeat x 5 
  • This is a great Strength exercise 


There are 34 Pilate’s moves in total which mobilise, strengthen and increase your balance.  All the areas that are so important to help your become a better stronger rider.  So why not find yourself a Pilate’s teacher or look online for an easy solution to learning or carrying on with your Pilates. 

This blog was written by Louise Humphrey owner of Studio 44 Pilates.  Studio 44 Pilates is a Pilate’s practise based website which specialises in 10 minute online Pilates practise videos to keep you moving daily. 



Twitter: @studio44pilates 


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