Practise of supplementary fitness training in horse riders

asymmetric loading of both the rider & their horse. The inclusion of sports specific strength and conditioning programmes are common in mainstream sports, however the practise of ancillary training is not known within equestrianism, and therefore the aim of this study was to investigate the practice of supplementary fitness training amongst horse-riders. A questionnaire was developed based on the design of Ebben & Blackard, (2001) and distributed online (Toluna Quicksurveys) which received n=102 responses (n=3 males, n=99 females). The survey examined demographics, supplementary training practise, and attitudes towards supplementary training. Descriptive statistics were used to interpret responses to questions. Mean age of participants was 28.8±9.9 years representing six different countries (UK, Sweden, Norway, Canada, South Africa, USA). Forty three percent (n=44) of riders participated in Dressage, 21% (n=22) Show Jumping and 17% (n=18) Eventing, the remaining 19% participated in racing, hacking and leisure riding. Sixty seven (n=68) riders competed regularly. Seventy five percent (n=78) of the participants practice supplementary fitness training in addition to their riding, which included a wide range of strength exercises, most commonly noted were the squat (16%) and non-specific exercises with free weights (16%), followed by planks (11%), body weight exercises (9%), push-ups (8%) and sit-ups (8%) (mean duration = 2.8±2.7 hours per week), the most frequently listed conditioning activity was running (48%), followed by cycling (10%) and walking (9%) (mean duration=2.5±1.6 hours per week). None of these riders followed a periodised programme designed by a sports specific strength and conditioning coach, despite 75% (n=78) reporting they would like a rider specific programme designed by a specialist. The amount of fitness training practiced by riders exceeds the standard recommendations for physical activity. However, the fitness training is not specific to their discipline and may not benefit them as much as it potentially could. Further development of specific fitness programmes for riders is needed to ensure that riders that are committing time to training are enhancing sport specific characteristics and reducing asymmetry and injury that is reported within this population of athletes. LP: Evidence is building to suggest that riders should follow sports specific strength and conditioning programmes to reduce asymmetry, improve fitness and therefore enhance performance and welfare of both the horse and rider. This research demonstrates a large proportion of riders are including supplementary training into their regime. The problem is that this training is non-specific and un-structured which highlights the need of educating riders and trainers to ensure optimal results are achieved with the effort this research demonstrates riders are putting in.
© Copyright 2015 11th International Conference International Society for Equitation Science. All rights reserved.

Subjects: equestrian sport athlete training physical conditioning ability general athletic training strength endurance performance factor
Notations: technical sports
Published in: 11th International Conference International Society for Equitation Science
Editors: University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Published: Vancouver 2015
Pages: 56
Document types: congress proceedings
Language: English
Level: advanced