My fitness journey began when I got my first horse in high school. Up until then, I rode a few times a week. When I got my first horse, I started riding five to six times a week, jumping bigger jumps, and going to horse shows! I soon realized that in order to ride better, especially being that I was pretty petite, I needed to get stronger!
Over the past fifteen or so years, I have fallen off more times than I can count, gone through periods of riding seven to eight horses a day; I have ridden very green horses, and very difficult horses. I have also known older riders who, after many many years of riding, had to have hip and knee replacements. Needless to say, riding horses is not the easiest thing on the body!
Also, we are athletes! It seems that far too many riders do not think of themselves as athletes, but we are. Ever bit as much as our horses are. The athletes of most other sports take care of their bodies!
My top reasons why riders should work out:
- Injury prevention! Falls are inevitable, and having a fit strong body really reduces your chance of serious injury. Muscle cushions falls, and flexibility makes your body more pliable – which really reduces the jarring effects of a fall. I know that I have avoided worse injury, in many falls, because of my strength and flexibility. Although serious injuries are always possible in this sport, no matter what you do, you must be taking steps to reduce your chances of them!
- Reduces wear and tear! When you ride, you are using the same muscles every time, which can create muscles imbalances, and contribute to wear and tear. Wear and tear on your joints is what causes that pesky knee, hip, and lower back pain that is all to common for riders. Whether you ride one horse a day, or ten, you have to be intentional about balancing out your body and cushioning your joints!
- We ride better. We all want to ride better right?? Being fit gives you more control over your body, which helps you to be better in telling horses what you want – as well as improve your equitation. I know the more I workout the better my position is! My lower leg is tighter, I am more solid over the jumps, and my reactions are so much sharper!
- More energy and endurance! Have you ever been out of breath after a round at the horse show? As an athlete, you shouldn’t feel completely exhausted after doing our sport! Sure, a long day at a horse show will help anyone to sleep better no matter how fit they are; but you should not feel drained!! You should feel exhilarated after jumping a great round, not like you need a nap! As a fitness coach, people tell me all the time that they would work out more if they had my energy. I have the energy I have BECAUSE I WORK OUT! I cannot stress enough that exercise gives you energy!
I hope to inspire you to work out this week! Remember that it is not just your horse that’s the athlete, but you as well! You are just as valuable as your horse, so take the same care in your own health that you do in your horse’s!
If you are wanting to start a fitness journey, need advice, or struggle with staying committed send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can chat to see if my style of fitness coaching is right for you!
Facebook: Laurel Ashton Walker