I have now completed all seven modules of the first level of this program and I am so impressed with this innovative fitness program for riders. I am a senior but relatively fit for my age and try to ride 3 to 5 times a week, weather permitting. However, no matter what your age or fitness level is, you will reap huge benefits from this program.
Since I am in my seventies, my body no longer responds as well as it use to for successful safe riding, so to continue to ride, I need to focus on physical, mental and emotional keys to enjoy my horse time safely. I have found Equestrian Aquatics provides excellent physical and mental benefits.
The foundation level is not aerobic in nature but focuses on balance, strength, core stability and flexibility. It is also very adaptable if you want to increase or slow down an exercise according to your own physical needs.
The water is kinder than a gym workout and leaves me feeling relaxed, energized, supple and with a general feeling of well being and I have found going for a ride after my pool time that I am really in tune with my horse because I am in good balance.
Being in the pool reminds me of being with my horses. There is an old cowboy saying that "horses don't lie" and you must be completely "present" when working with them. Well, the water does not lie either! When you are sitting or standing on a pool noodle and you are not in balance or using your core, you will quickly find yourself either taking a dunk or sliding gracefully off to one side in the water.
Besides engaging your muscles, your mind also needs to be present and focused on a particular body part or spot in the pool to keep you afloat and in good body alignment. Does that sound like what your coach tells you during a riding lesson?
Spending time in the pool with new friends and sharing horse stories has been an extra bonus as well.
But this program is not just for equestrians. I recommend that you take a 'pool buddy' with you to work out with you. They don't need any riding skills and you don't have to sign up for a class at our local pool. It is so easy to go in your own time with your cheat sheet and have a great workout.
Having a background in movement training, as well as being a former fitness instructor, I find that the exercises are well thought out and varied with a good dose of just plain fun as well! They are easy to relate to being on horseback. This program goes a long way towards helping keep me in the saddle for a few more years. I recommend it for any rider, both beginner and experienced no matter what are you are!
Who would have thought I would become a mermaid at my age. ;)