When you’re on a horse most days of the week, you stop being aware of the sore muscles and stiffness that many weekend barn warriors have come to accept as their dues. Those of us who are forced to stretch in order to save ourselves a world of post-ride hurt already know the benefits, but for regular riders, there are plenty of good reasons to drop in a few stretches before your daily hack. According to Shape magazine, stretching can relieve muscle pain and tension and can even improve your balance and posture.

“I highly recommend adding in a stretching routine every day you get on a horse to ride or compete,” says personal trainer to Wellington’s equestrian stars, Mike Barthelemy, adding that stretches are not just simple and easy to practice, they can be done anywhere and can help to strengthen and support previous injury sites. “Do each stretch once…focusing on inhaling and exhaling,” he recommends.

Here are Barthelemy’s picks for three, quick and easy stretches every rider can get behind (pssst and you can do them right at the barn!):

1. For Your Achilles Tendons: 

Stand on a step (the bottom of a heavy mounting block will do), placing the ball of your foot on the step with your heel hanging slightly off and your toes up. Find your balance and lean forward, bending your knees into the stretch.

2. For Your Quadriceps: 

Again, grab your trusty mounting block and kneel down on one foot, holding on to the mounting block to help keep your balance. Push your hips forward into the stretch. Switch sides and repeat.

3. For Your Hips: 

Sit on the floor with your knees bent and the soles of your feet facing each other. Think about engaging your hips as you lower your knees toward the floor into the stretch.

Mikerlange H. Barthelemy was born and raised in Haiti. With a passion for fitness and health, he is a three-time Men’s Physique National qualifier and is certified in both Functional Fitness Training and Personal Training. “I am a people person,  a motivator, and a mentor,” Mike says. “Deep down, while I am a serious professional, I am simply a young kid from Haiti trying to be the best I can be and help others achieve their dreams. That’s what gets me up every day and why I do what I do.” Mike will be opening a training facility in Wellington, Florida this winter to assist the development of elite equestrian athletes. Learn more about Mike on Get Fit Match, or follow him on Facebook or Instagram

-Photo credit: Tori Repole for NF Style.