“As a riding instructor it can sometimes be challenging to help a student understand what needs to change to accomplish their goals. I started using strength training tips to ‘re-direct’ information and it was an immediate transformation in some of my riders. This prompted me to look for more cross training ideas to help my students learn and progress.”
The Equicube was developed and designed by Linda Grandia, a longtime Dressage and Eventing trainer with a passion for fitness.
Linda is a USDF Bronze and Silver Medalist, currently working toward her Gold medal. Linda grew up with a life long passion for horses, but didn’t begin her formal Dressage education until her 30’s. Linda believes that learning something as difficult and precise as Dressage as an adult gave her a different perspective. She started teaching lessons to help make ends meet as three of her four children became active in Pony Club and local competitions. Today, all three of them are graduate A Pony Clubbers and each have their own successful training and teaching business.
In her early 50’s, Linda went back to the gym to develop the strength needed to ride her daughter’s Grand Prix horse. As Linda became physically stronger and more precise due to weight lifting, she started blending those ideas into not only her own riding, but her teaching as well, and saw dramatic results with her students. Linda saw that even a small amount of weight or resistance could drastically change which muscles were used and how they were used, and soon the Equicube was created.
When you look at a group of riders, say in the warm up arena at a show, and one catches your eye, you think wow that is a lovely rider. Why? What is it that you notice? Sometimes I think it is what isn’t there that we notice. No mess, no fuss, no extra movement. Just a seamless flow from one movement to the next in a lovely balance.
That ride that looks like the rider is just sitting there takes tremendous strength! But what kind of strength? Surely we don’t all need bulging biceps? What we do need is the strength to control out own bodies despite the movement underneath us and then to also be able to use that strength to control and enhance the movement of the horse. All that is going on in that effortless ride you are admiring. That flowing ride you are watching is a dance with one partner leading and one following.
We have all heard all the same buzz words in our riding career no matter which discipline we love most. Sit up, shoulders back, heels down, leg long, seat, leg, hands all need to be independent. But how do we do all these things and make it look like nothing? It all comes down to strength and control of your core! As a rider your core must be strong enough to be able to hold your position stable on top of a moving being and supple enough to follow the movement wherever it takes you.
So, are you the leader or the follower in the dance? I think as riders we are both, and that is why it is so hard.