My trainer often mentions that I don’t sit up straight enough, or my balance is off. As a rider, triathlon competitor and runner, do you have any stretches or exercises that I can try to improve my balance and posture?
I try to do some sort of stretching or yoga most mornings before I start riding. I do find that it’s a good calming counterpart to the stress that riding and running can put on your body.
I have worked with an amazing yogi in south Florida, Troy Mills. Under his guidance, I learned some poses to help my balance and posture. Really, any of the positions or movements will be of assistance because holding them will allow you to bring awareness to your body and where it is: proprioception, or the body’s awareness in space.
I would recommend finding someone trained in the practice to help show you the correct way to do the poses before you do them on your own. Some of my favorites are warrior 2, a version of a lunge with outstretched arms, which is a great way to strengthen your legs and tone your arms; tree pose, a wonderful lesson in balance that also is good for keeping your mental focus as you stand on one leg; and boat pose, done from a seated position where you rock back behind your seat bones with your arms out in front of you and then hold. It’s fantastic for core work.
Speaking of core work, it’s essential to riding. Whether it’s Pilates, crunches or a plank, keeping these exercises in a consistent rotation will help strengthen your core and stabilize your back.
Whenever I’m riding and do a downward transition, I always think, “engage the abs” first. Then I begin to ask for the horse to slow down. If I don’t do that first, it’s easy to get into the bad habit of collapsing the back and grabbing on the mouth of the horse.
It’s easy to get sloppy. Doing these exercises and stretches, within your body’s comfort zone and with the help of a professional, can help you keep your body strong to maintain the proper position and balance for riding.
You have an impressive sponsors list. I’ve never had a sponsor, but would like to be considered someone worthy of sponsorship. How did you go about getting your first sponsor? Did they come to you? Did you go to them?
The first sponsor I ever had was one I approached myself. We agreed to support each other on a trial basis. It then grew into a partnership that has flourished.
After this first instance, other sponsors came about in different ways but the main theme from my first experience was always consistent: I appreciate what they have to offer and they continue to support me through my career.
After my first sponsor, others have come about through them noticing me noticing them.
I genuinely stand behind any of the products I use, and I make sure that I use and test each product for a significant amount of time.
Sometimes I’ll write about how much I like a product on social media. If the right people see it and appreciate that I can stand behind their product, they may ask if I’d like to represent it.
I’ve found that anyone who has approached me has done so because they can see how much I genuinely like their product.
I’m not out there just to get something for free; first and foremost, I want to use a product and love it. It has to be something that I feel is an integral part of my horse’s performance or makes me look and feel good about myself.
This way, if someone asks me about a certain boot, feed, etc., I can honestly answer why I use it and what help it’s brought to my horses and my team.
I am so thankful for all of my sponsors – Purina Feeds, Romfh Apparel, DerDau Boots, Veredus Boots, One K Helmets, CWD Saddles, The Balancing Tonic, AON Insurance and Flex-On Stirrups. Their support is a huge part of any successes I, my horses and Glenview as a whole have had.