top of page

Stability, control and balance in the saddle for equestrian athletes

M2 Method for Equestrians

Horseback Riding

The equestrian sport is a unique sport which requires you to partner with the horse and perform very precise movements. 

Regardless of the discipline (Dressage, Show Jumping and Eventing) an athlete requires to have total control over the balance, position and correct use of aids. As a former show jumper and a pelvic floor physical therapist, I have seen and treated many top level athletes in equestrian sport in the last 20 years. My daughter is a junior dressage rider currently riding with HCM dressage. I feel very fortunate to understand dressage through my daughter’s riding experience.

Over the past 20 years I feel privileged to treat several equestrian athletes specifically during postpartum and menopause. It is a common practice to send the horse into rehab after any injury or surgery. Athlete's rehab is also as important as the horse’s rehab. Equestrian community likes to tough it out and follows a trend of getting back on the saddle as soon as possible either after an injury or after giving birth. Athletes take pride in getting back in the saddle sooner than later not realizing the long-term consequences.

Who can benefit

  1. Stress urinary incontinence during sitting and posting trot

  2. Pubic symphysis pain with mount and unmount, lateral work, 2-point position and sitting trot

  3. Diastasis rectus abdominis which is separation of the abdominals causing several issues 

  4. Pelvic organ prolapse causing difficulty with trot and canter work 

  5. Coccyx pain and discomfort either due to fall or traumatic childbirth 

  6. Urge incontinence and bladder pain syndrome due to overactive pelvic floor musculature typically seen in your athletes. 

  7. Low back and pelvic girdle pain either after childbirth or history of falls

Why equestrian athletes should prioritize pelvic health 

Women who are either recreational or professional equestrian athletes should understand the importance of deep abdominal and pelvic floor stabilization. When you give birth (either C-section or vaginal) or going through menopause these deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles go through dysfunction. Unfortunately, these muscles lose their ability to activate automatically when you start to get back in the saddle. Our body starts to compensate for the deficiency and in the long term you will be setting yourself up for several issues like stress incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. Equestrian sport requires you to have very precise proprioception in deep pelvic and abdominal muscles. Proprioception in simple words is auto-activation of deep muscles when balancing activities are performed by an athlete. 

After giving birth or during menopause deep abdominal and pelvic muscles lose the proprioception. Several other dysfunctions like diastasis rectus abdominis, pelvic asymmetry, vaginal tears with birthing and pelvic instability further contribute to the dysfunction. These muscles need rehabilitation and they do not bounce back automatically. 

The M2 Method has prioritized proprioception in almost all exercises. These exercises are carefully created for recreational and professional athletes who are looking into going back to their sport after a life event. Either after giving birth or going through menopause one shouldn’t forget about rehabilitation of these deep abdominal and pelvic muscles.

Why should young athletes work on pelvic and abdominal muscles? 

Young Athletes playing professional or recreational sports like Horseback riding seldom manifest any adverse symptoms. It is very vital for these young athletes to think about prevention and not wait until the symptoms appear. I have had the privilege to treat many young professional athletes who have benefited from proprioceptive exercises to improve their performance in their respective sport. If these young athletes can learn and understand the importance of correctly activating deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles, they will be able to effectively maintain their performance for longer periods of time. This would be a great tool to prevent injuries or muscle dysfunction due to overuse. Deep pelvic and abdominal muscles increase balance and proprioception, improve ability to breath through your diaphragm, allowing co-activation through abdominals and deep back muscles leading to improved balance in the seat.  

Ready to Ride

What should you prioritize in your daily workout

A combination work on flexibility and stability is very important. 

 

Improve flexibility - Adductors, hip flexors, Hip rotators, lower back and hamstrings

 

Improve stability - Deep abdominal and pelvic floor exercises, Balance and proprioception exercises, upper back stabilization exercises, hip extensor stability exercises. 

 

Exercises should be done in a precise way. These exercises involve small and gentle movements. Targeting on deep muscles not superficial muscles is very important. Avoid doming of the abdominal wall while performing any of the exercises. Diaphragmatic breathing ( breathing through the chest only and not involving abdominal muscles) is a key component when performing these exercises. 

 

M2 Method, Pelvic health redefined can guide you through your journey of regaining your pelvic heath. The program has been designed to help participants gain control over their pelvic floor and abdominal muscles, successfully returning to their respective sport and improving their overall performance. Exercises focus on balance and proprioception which will improve the rider position, ability to give effective aids, improved and effective half halts, balance 2-point, ability to maintain a stretched torso and improved ability to ride back to front with the help of deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles.

This revolutionary way to work on deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles is very well researched, evidence based and developed by a renowned Pelvic floor Physical Therapist in the area.

bottom of page