Rebecca Pinder is an Australian Endurance rider

My Fitness Regime: Rebecca Pinder

22 November 2021

Mari Inouye and Ali Divita of Mind.Body.Vault caught up with one of the top ranked FEI Endurance riders in the world, Rebecca Pinder from Australia...

What separates the good from the great within equestrian sport? What makes someone truly a master at their discipline?

 

How do certain people take their love of horses, build a successful partnership with their equestrian teammate and become champions and inspirational figures within their sport?

 

These are questions that fascinate us at Mind.Body.Vault. In this series, we have asked these questions to some of the top athletes in each of the FEI disciplines.

 

We have learned about the need for quick reflexes and presence in connecting with the minds of multiple horses with FEI Driving World Cup™ winner Bram Chardon of the Netherlands.

 

Also in this series, the passionate and vivacious Jumping champion Luciana Diniz shares how incorporating yoga and breathing along with the power of mindset work into her daily routine brings her joy and success inside and outside the competition arena.

 

Today we get to hear from Endurance rider Rebecca Pinder of Australia, whose deep love and connection with horses from a young age has guided her journey from back paddock pony riding to internationally ranked endurance athlete.

 

 

Heart for Horses

Rebecca speaks of a love of horses that began from a very early age, laughing as she recalls the story of trying to convince her parents to change her middle name to “Phar Lap” - the famous racehorse from New Zealand that captured the hearts of many in Australia throughout the Great Depression. She jokes “thank goodness they didn’t give in to that demand! Although we can’t help but say, read on to hear what “Rebecca Phar Lap Pinder” accredits to her success as an equestrian athlete!

 

This love of horses seems to have come from within, as none of Rebecca’s family or relatives were involved in any sort of equestrian sport growing up. Her parents always thought her interest in horses was a phase. However, never fading, her love of horses continued to grow with time.

 

Rebecca continued to spend hours upon hours riding her ponies, loving being outdoors for long stretches of time, it was here she felt most herself. It is not surprising that when her sister’s boyfriend bought an Arab horse to enter his first endurance race, she jumped at the opportunity to get involved in the sport.

 

“I got to combine my love of riding along with my love for exploring the beautiful countryside.”

 

On Trusting Your Instincts

Through her years training, what she prides herself most is staying true to herself, and trusting her instincts. This connection to her horses and her belief in them despite the opinions of others, is her deepest source of pride.

 

Here is what Rebecca has to say:

 

“When people talk about your greatest accomplishments, most likely having successful completions in what are regarded as the most difficult races in the world or winning prestigious races would be the ones most spoken about. I have done both and although, yes, the feeling is amazing, it hasn’t been what has made me the most proud.

"Hours in
the saddle,
puts stress
on your body"

Through her years training, what she prides herself most is staying true to herself, and trusting her instincts. This connection to her horses and her belief in them despite the opinions of others, is her deepest source of pride.

 

Here is what Rebecca has to say:

 

“When people talk about your greatest accomplishments, most likely having successful completions in what are regarded as the most difficult races in the world or winning prestigious races would be the ones most spoken about. I have done both and although, yes, the feeling is amazing, it hasn’t been what has made me the most proud.

 

“I have, and have had, horses that people have told me to give up on either due to their thinking they do not have what it takes, or behavioral issues etc. But I have always trusted my instincts and so far have been rewarded for that.

 

“One such mare of mine, just a few months before taking out fourth position in the Spanish Championship in her first ever 160km***, I was told I was wasting my time and money with her. She hasn’t been an easy mare but I always knew she had the quality and the love to run so it was a proud moment to see her prove the doubters wrong. Having said that, Endurance for me has never really been about the end result but the journey, and if you can enjoy that, then you are already winning.”

 

 

Staying Well in a Demanding Sport

We asked Rebecca what steps she takes to ensure she can perform at her highest year after year.

 

“Spending long hours in the saddle, riding over different terrains can place a lot of stress on your body.

 

“I am lucky in that I always played a lot of sport when I was younger and therefore had access to great coaches and trainers who instilled the importance of looking after your body through varied training, stretching and diet.”

 

She added:

“Even though I ride most days of the week I also love to run, take hikes in the mountains and do some sessions of resistance training with some stretching afterwards. The strengthening and stretch work doesn’t have to be for long. I normally pull out my yoga mat whilst I’m watching my favourite series and do around 20 minutes. You will really feel the benefits even just doing short sessions three or so times a week.

 

“In our sport, I do see a lot of back problems and stiff and painful joints.

 

“I have luckily avoided anything serious, though my weakness does seem to be tight hips and tension in my shoulders if I am not consistent in my strength and stretching training.

 

"In my personal opinion, I think In any equestrian discipline, tension and the tightening of muscles rather than having strength and relaxation, is the biggest downfall.”

 

Everyone has their own areas of weakness, and Rebecca focuses on these areas:

 

  • strength and stretching exercises
  • using breathing techniques to help with relaxation
  • the occasional massage

 

She said: “All of these have really helped my body to cope with the demands of this sport and to be the most useful and effective partner to my horse.”

 

 

Supporting an Enduring Career

That’s such incredible insight from Rebecca! For those of you at home inspired by this story and looking to care for your own body so you can support an enduring career, we have gathered some of our favourite resources below:

 

To help prevent back soreness plus to soothe tension in both mind and body check out our video on Yoga to Relax Before Your Next Horse Show.

 

For joint care as well as bringing a sense of balance and release to tired muscles, try foam rolling in this 7 Minute Foam Rolling Routine.

 

If you are interested in incorporating breathwork or mediation into your training as Rebeccca recommends, check out this video designed especially for equestrians looking to get started with these practices.

 

Finally, here is an easy way to kick start your strength training regime, a fun class you can do from the comfort of your own home or even out at the barn.

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