Clare Gangadeen is the founder of horse rider fitness business RiderCise®. In this blog, she takes us all the way back to 2012 when a nasty fall changed her life forever.
I have loved horses and riding since I was a little girl, so it was a dream come true when I finally bought the horse of my dreams in 2012. Annick is a beautiful Friesian mare with huge expressive paces and the most incredible nature. I was so excited about our future partnership. As a fit and experienced rider, I didn’t foresee what was going to happen next.
A scary fall that lead to some reflection…
Annick became scared of a flapping label on a back protector I was trying. I had left the label on to return it, should the protector catch on the cantle of my saddle. Being only a green 5-year-old, she took off around the school with such power and speed. I lost my balance due to her sheer power, scaring her even more and causing her to go faster. My saddle slipped which caused her to start bucking, and I hit the ground with enormous force. As she travelled past me, she kicked me with her hind on the peak of my hat. She only missed my face by centimetres.
Winded from the impact of hitting the floor, I got to my hands and knees and tried to breathe. I looked at Annick who was standing by the gate looking back at me which fear, concern and confusion.
Annick wasn’t at fault, I knew that I was responsible for not being in better control of my body. Had I been better balanced and stable, I could have reacted better to her spooking at the label. That means I wouldn’t have contributed to her fear, which provoked her more.
As a fitness specialist, I’ve spent years working on myself to ensure I was strong, lean and had an aesthetic look to my body. However, I wasn’t conditioning myself with riding in mind. I wasn’t holding up to my side of the partnership.
The fall not only shattered my confidence but lead me to question my abilities as a rider. I clearly was not as rider fit as I thought I was.
Could being ‘rider fit’ have helped?
The muscles we use for riding are different from those used in other popular fitness activities and sports. Of course. It’s far better to be a rider who goes for the occasional jog or spin class than do nothing at all. But being rider fit requires strength, balance and mobility to independently move your body in the way the riding requires. No single form of exercise offers that.
Riding, at any level and in any discipline is demanding. It requires the individual to be sensitive, yet reactive to an independent dynamic animal. No other sport requires that. When we ride we need to be in control of our bodies. To communicate effectively yet gently. To react to response, immediately. And to act as a partner, not a hindrance.
Not only does rider fitness improve your riding ability and performance. It also helps protect the rider against the severity of injuries that can occur, if the horse suddenly spooks, stops, spins or bolts!
“I know that the one thing my unfocused training had provided was. It prepared my muscles, ligaments and joints to deal with external stress. Other than suffering concussion for 10+days I didn’t have any sprains, bruising or bone breaks.“
A rare combination of riding and fitness expertise
As a personal trainer and soft tissue therapist with over 15 years of experience in the fitness industry. It was only natural that my thoughts turned to rider fitness. I know the benefits of being fit. But I also know first-hand the difference of being ‘Rider Fit’.
I founded RiderCise®to help riders become the rider they want to be. Like I wanted to be that moment I saw Annick staring back at me from the gate. I’ve tapped into everything I know from my background in the fitness industry with expertise from my riding journey. And that of the coaches and instructors I’ve worked with and learned from.
“I truly believe that you need the rare combination of true fitness expertise and an understanding of the role of the rider to create targeted rider fitness workouts. And that’s where I come in!“
How RiderCise has Changed My Life
I am not an elite rider. I am not a professional rider. But I do consider myself to be on a journey to becoming the rider I want to be. Through rider fitness, I have learned to control my body to allow me to feel. I feel when my horse needs more or less from me. I know when I need to allow them to find their way. And when I need to guide them. I am able to ride independently with softness and balance. So that they may find theirs.
This is not something that has happened overnight but something I have worked on every since founding RiderCise. By working the muscles that I use in the saddle, on the ground. I have developed the strength I need to control my body. The awareness of how I am riding to correct myself. I have become a better rider.
I have developed rider skills. Skills that I want to pass on to every rider, across the world. No matter where you are on your journey. You can improve with the RiderCise workouts.
Rider Fitness Workouts – On Demand
Every Rider Fitness Workout I design has the objective of helping a rider improve their riding. For them and their horses to be able to enjoy riding with ease. Reduce riding aches and pains. And boost performance.
As a rider and owner I know how much time horses take up. But I also know how important rider fitness is, to all riders. Horse owners are some of the busiest people around. They’re often juggling jobs, families and an all-consuming passion with the occasional snippet of downtime! I get that.
RiderCise On Demand allows riders to follow along with me. In the comfort of their home. On any device with an internet connection. Anywhere in the world. This makes rider fitness truly accessible for everyone.
My aim is for riders to take as good care of themselves as they do their horse. RiderCise® changed my life forever. Will you rise to the challenge and allow RiderCise® to change your life?
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