Create a pattern using objects placed on the ground around your riding arena or other area. These objects should be about 20 steps apart. Move between each object, changing your “gait”: Walk with high steps, run on your heels, do sideways crossover steps, go backward, or use any other footwork or body-locomotion pattern you can think of. However, don’t make it up as you go along. Decide in advance what your pattern will be. Hold a bucket turned upside down with a ball sitting on it that could easily roll off. To keep the ball from rolling off, you will need to maintain soft knee, ankle, and hip joints, an integrated and engaged core to stabilize your torso, and softness and relaxation in your upper body. All these are key to effective, beautiful riding.

In Fit to Ride in 9 Weeks!, author Heather Sansom provides a progressive fitness program with easy-to-use schedule charts, step-by-step instructions, and color photos to help you enjoy the ride, be fair to your horse, and get into fabulous shape—in just a couple of months.

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