Back Issues for Equestrians

Back Issues for Equestrians

by Alex Hirsch (SU)

Low back pain is common among horseback riders. These are mostly the aches and pains of strained muscles from excessive riding or improper posture while on the horse.

Controlling and riding a large animal like a horse requires the same strength and effort as is required for many other sports. In a nutshell, horseback riding requires body control similar to that used by athletes when skiing, or as can be seen in the martial arts, and even dancing.

To avoid back problems, you need to learn how to balance your body correctly while riding your horse.

Here is the list of the riding habits that can lead to back pain:

1. Slouched Shoulders. Slouched shoulders = lousy posture, which in turn hurts your spine with every step your horse takes. A horse’s gait is not that far off from humans, but when your shoulders are rounded it makes it difficult to control the horse and maintain your balance. This can easily lead to back pain and sore muscles that can last for days.

2. Leaning Forward During Turns. A good rider knows how to keep their posture centered even as they take turns and swerve their horses in different directions. Take tight turns and keep your weight focused, allowing it to fall inward as you make your turn. This will avoid a possible muscle strain in the process

3. Hollow Back. Another bad habit horseback riders have is sitting up too straight or too stiffly, then overcompensating by hollowing out the lower back. This affects the space you take on top of the horse, which can influence your balance and how well you can control the horse. The position puts undue strain on your lower back and can cause you to fall off your horse if not corrected.

 4. Pinching Your Knees Together. For new riders, this is especially common. The amateur equestrian might resort to pinching the knees together in an effort to stay on the horse. However, this action affects how you are positioned atop the saddle and makes it more difficult to balance, apply leg aids, and to properly post the trot (when you rise out of the saddle, which can smooth the ride when your horse is trotting). 

Preventing Low Back Pain

Experts suggest using proper posture while horseback riding to help eliminate low back pain associated with the activity. You should also wear the appropriate equipment and protective gear while you ride. This can help constrain and protect your back muscles, as well as protect against other injuries. In addition, riding in moderation can help lessen the likelihood of lower back pain related to your horseback riding.

Well-Equipped Doctors in Wellington

If you have lower back pain from prolonged horseback riding, visit Advanced Medical Clinic to get it treated. Request an appointment now or call us at (561) 434-1935 for more details and to schedule a checkup with one of our licensed physicians today.