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Getting Fit in and Outside of the Saddle


By: Benjamin Denton ‘20 communication

Many sports require a base level of physical strength, balance and endurance. In Hunt Seat Equitation, it’s how you win.

According to the United States Hunter Jumper Association, Hunt Seat Equitation is a type of competitive horseback riding that is “judged on the rider’s ability, form and skill to allow the horse to perform at its best, but the horse itself is not judged at all.”

The Hunt Seat Equestrian Club at NC State competes against other universities in the United States and one of the ways they stay fit is crosstraining with private group fitness classes offered by Wellness and Recreation.

The club first heard about private group fitness classes in the Fall 2017 semester and have taken two weekly classes every semester since. This semester they registered for Bodypump™, a low to moderate weight, high repetition, high intensity workout, and cycling.

“Riders that are more physically fit are able to ride better because they are stronger and are able to support their horse more,” said Anna Ahlers ‘19, a senior in mechanical engineering and club president.

For competitions, there is an added challenge. Riders and horses are randomly assigned to each other, a challenge that Ahlers embraces.  “Everyone is in the position by being put on a random horse and I feel like I am a better rider because I have to adapt to each horse,” said Ahlers.

The club is only able to ride once a week, therefore the opportunity to strengthen and condition their bodies is limited. That is why Bodypump™ has become the perfect supplement for their workout and a staple of their crosstraining regime.

“I love Bodypump™ because it’s a full-body workout and in one hour you work basically every muscle group. You have to have balance and you need core strength,” said Ahlers.

Not only is it enjoyable for the club, but for their instructor as well. “They’re such a great group, they come in with smiles on their faces,” said Calia Powell ‘19, Wellness and Recreation group fitness instructor.

Wellness and Recreation offers standard group fitness classes, which are free to students but can be only be registered for 25 hours in advance, such as Bodypump™, yoga, ZUMBA®, cycling and more. Despite the availability of these classes, the club still chooses to use the private class service.

“It’s easier and we don’t have to worry about spots filling up. It’s super competitive to get everyone in one class,” said Ahlers.

Private group fitness classes are often smaller and create better opportunities for one-on-one instruction. The classes also offer more accountability and continuity, as the same group consistently meets each week. They are not exclusive to student organizations. Any group can register. Powell noted that it is quite common for greek organizations and even faculty to use them.


Interested in registering?

“I definitely would, It’s really good just for having more team activities to get the club closer to each other as well as just build morale and get fit in and outside of the saddle,” said Ahlers. Classes are offered in the Carmichael Complex. Upon request, Wellness and Recreation is able to bring the classes to a different location as desired by the group. Groups can register for one, four, eight or 16 classes during the semester.