“Core Balance” Establishing effective seat and leg communication


upper canyon outfitters 104


Feel free to check out more of Chris’ pictures and horsemanship videos found exclusively through the link below:



Q: “Core Balance”:What is it and how does it apply to horsemanship?

A:  Simply put, “Core Balance” is a term I use to describe the strengthening  of the core muscles of the human body. This is the “trunk” area which includes the abdomen, lumbar, and obliques, but I feel the quads, hamstrings, glutes, abductors, adductors and most importantly the hip flexors are equally important when riding a horse for proper communication through the seat and safety. So I have incorporated these areas of the core into my exercises that I feel are vital to a balanced seat and more importantly the riders safety.

Chris demostrating some of the "Core Balance" excersises, during a cow clinic at The Paws Up Ranch and Resort.
Chris demonstrating some of the “Core Balance”TM. exercises, during a cow clinic at The Paws Up Ranch and Resort.

Q: So why is this important, and how come there is not more clinicians and trainers talking about this?

A: I would not say this is a new concept, there has been several instructors throughout the years that have pressed upon the importance of good balance and core stability.

Q:  What makes your approach different then some of the other people out there?

A:  I believe I am the only “cowboy” clinician out there, that is using a extensive horse, cow and ranch background, along with my “Core Balance” approach and years of physical fitness knowledge and experience, to establish an easy, practical, balanced and safer way to communicate with your horse through your body and seat.

Q:  Why do I need this, I’ve been riding for years!

A: We all can use this to better our riding ability, as horseman we spend countless hours working on building a relationship with our horses. Doing exercise after exercise to increase our horses sensitivity, feel and balance, yet so many times when the “life” in our horse comes “up” even something as simply as a transition change, we tend to balance our bodies on our horses mouth by hanging onto the reins. I feel if a rider can strengthen their core muscles to help stabilize their seat, they are less likely to use the horses head as a balancing point and more likely to secure their position through their seat and core. Using the horses head and mouth for your basic means of staying centered, will undoubtedly trouble and/or scare your horse and set you back in your effort to progress them in their schooling. Unfortunately, it is one the rare situations where “time” is not always our friend, as we age our balance can become more and more unstable as well as certain parts of our bodies start to become less flexibly and harder to control with finesse. This has the potential to lead us into a hazardous situation and a ever increased risk of injury. Even though an individual may be young and athletic or experienced and seasoned, everyone can benefit from better health, stronger core muscles and a clearer and more secure riding seat and best of all, your horse will thank you for it!  🙂

Chris doing a "at liberty" demonstration at the Sapphire Event Center Horse Expo.
Chris doing a “at liberty” demonstration at the Sapphire Event Center Horse Expo.

Q: What are the exercises and how long will it take?

A: The exercises are a collection of current as well as tried and true fitness techniques incorporating specific exercises I have put together specifically for horseback riding. They vary in difficulty and duration of time. The standard is to start most people out with a routine of 15 min a day 3 times a week.

*It is highly recommend that a person consult their doctor and or personal trainer to have a physical before attempting these exercises.*

Q: So how do I get started?

A: The best way to get started improving your riding is to contact me for lessons, private or group, or attend one of my Horsemanship 1 clinics in your area, which deals with the fundamentals of the “Core Balance” exercises. If you find that there is not a clinic in your area, there is great opportunity for those who wish to host a clinic. For more information on the types of clinics, availability and requirements check out the clinic schedule page on this site, or feel free to contact me by phone or via e-mail.


Chris Bohenek

P.O. Box 895

Corvallis, MT. 59828

(406) 370-9677(406) 370-9677


3 thoughts

  1. Thank you for sharing! I’ve already had about 4 riding coaches and no one has talked about “Core Balance” yet. After your article, I want to try these exercises for myself =)

    1. I’m glad I could help, hopefully some of these exercises will be of use in furthering your seat and riding!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *