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View Full Version : What keeps you inshape when on the horse?



Rescue_Rider9
Jan. 5, 2010, 11:25 AM
I am trying my hardest to lose the 10lbs I gained last summer... I dont know how I gained them other then I wasnt riding as many horses as I usually did (went from 4-5 a day to 2 a day), but I also spent an entire semester not riding and didnt gain a pound.. go figure! I would love reccomended workouts for being inside and I dont really have money to spend to buy anything, but I do have a workout ball and a smaller one that came with my yoga kit, a resists band and some small weights. What i would really love is to get inshape while riding. I post like crazy without stirrups, but I just lost and inch off my legs, but I need help in the stomach region... any suggestions?
TIA I want to be in tip top shape this year for riding!

Neets
Jan. 5, 2010, 11:57 AM
Well, my trainer has a six pack that is completely from engaging her core while sitting the trot on her horse. Granted, she's been riding him for over 2 years. He's got a very bouncy, energetic trot. So posting without stirrups is good for legs, and sitting without is good for the stomach :)

yellowbritches
Jan. 5, 2010, 11:59 AM
Honestly, I don't think riding alone is enough. For some people, it seems to work, and for some people barn chores are enough. And while I am probably WAY fitter than the average fat ass American between the barn chores and riding, I don't feel like I am as fit as my horses deserve if I don't go above and beyond all of that.

My personal preference for fitness above and beyond my riding is cycling, but that's another expensive hobby that requires a halfway decent output of cash (I have more money invested in bikes than I do in cars. In fact, I sold a car once to buy a bike! :lol:).

Yoga and pilates are great ways to build flexibility and core strength and since you have some balls, etc, you can start with those. I just like goofing around with the balance balls and see what kind of things I can accomplish on them. You can buy a book or two or a DVD (or, if you have Netflix, you can probably rent some good DVDs) you'll probably get some good ideas on workouts that can build some really good strength and balance.

But you also need cardio, which I just do not think you can get enough of on a horse. You HAVE to get your heartrate up, and unless you are wickedly out of shape, riding is pretty low intensity. Walking briskly is an easy way, jogging/running is better (good shoes are really the only thing you need for that). Cycling, swimming, hiking...just get your heartrate up and keep it up for 20-30 minutes at least a few times a week.

Obviously, watching what you eat will help the weight loss part. Drink water, eat whole grains and lots of fruits and veggies.

On the horse, lots of work in two point will build those gallop muscles (core strength), and riding alone is better than being a couch potato!

Good luck! Funny...I always gain weight now, and lose a bunch in the summer!

Ltc4h
Jan. 5, 2010, 12:28 PM
For core strength while riding, sit trot[forward trotting-not jogging] and 2 point without stirrups. Also hack bareback, you will continue to readjust your center.
In the house, balance on your butt. Lay flat on the floor-elevate your shoulders and your legs. Hold for 1 minute. Once you can hold for 1 minute, take legs higher and straigther. Then add touch floor at hip, left hand to right hip and visa versa, all while balancing on butt.
I also cycle, although admittedly not in the winter.

Dressage.For.Life.
Jan. 5, 2010, 01:24 PM
Reading all this makes me feel bad! :lol: With the issues going on (read below) and with my horse on stall rest, I'm definitely not getting the exercise I want to!

I agree with all of what the others have said- swimming, hiking, and jogging/running (if you're ok not doing something more low-impact) are all very good.

Riding and cycling use a lot of the same muscles, so cycling is great-- but it can be very expensive (think, having another sport like riding) :sadsmile:.

I got into cycling last spring and love it but even after upgrading the cycling shoes, two bike fits, some doctor visits, a session or two of physical therapy, a knee brace, and then custom orthotics, my foot still kills me when on the bike! (Maybe, one more doctor visit will get it figured out?? :sadsmile:)

With all the horsey expenses on top of that I need to save up to get more winter gear and/or get a trainer to keep it up year round. Keep in mind I got a road bike and really jumped into the sport-- with intentions to someday race, and build up more to do longer rides such as centuries.

Skiing and rollerblading (speed, marathons, or just for fun) are popular among cyclists to help keep fit and mix it up. So really, besides the basic exercising, riding, cycling, skiing, and rollerblading use a lot of the same muscles if you're wanting to try something new.

yellowbritches
Jan. 5, 2010, 01:34 PM
Dressage.For.Life, if you have a classy bike shop, especially one that is a Specialized dealer including their clothing lines, go see them and have them fit you for shoes. Specialized has a great ergonomic shoe system, but you really, really have to get fitted properly to get the benefit. My boss had to do this and he actually uses whatever Specialized insert that works for him in a lot of his other shoes, including his paddock boots! Hopefully that can help! I had to have my road bike really overhauled as I was having a lot of pain on it and could NOT ride comfortably. Amazing what a few simple changes could do!

Sorry, back to your regularly scheduled horsey talk. ;)

wendy
Jan. 5, 2010, 02:25 PM
pilates is awesome for the middle region and really helps with riding. As to losing weight, well, eat less, exercise more, there's no other way. If you build muscles with weights you'll burn more calories per minute just by being alive, but the best way to lose weight to engage in lowish-intensity exercise for long periods of time, such as walking for several hours, or mucking out a 20-horse barn every day. If you want to do it 'on horse' you're going to have to ride many horses per day, or perhaps take up endurance riding so you can ride for multiple hours per day.

Dressage.For.Life.
Jan. 5, 2010, 11:06 PM
Thanks for the info! It's nice to see people on here who also like cycling :yes: I've heard a lot of good things about the shoes and shoe system by Specialized--As far as the shoes go, I found that Sidi's road shoes worked a little better for me. My one bike fitter recommended an amazing little shoe place so my custom orthotics were actually made in house and can be adjusted but I'm still having no luck :( so am definitely weary of trying more orthotics.

Some padding around one area of my foot allowed me to be pain free for a few miles (before it was agonizing pain from the first mile or so-- so maybe this means it's a nerve in that area of my foot? No way to still feel the pedal through the new shoes with carbon fiber soles) and I found some small shoe inserts to try but weather is currently <10F and a snow storm is on the way so sadly it will just have to wait until Feb./March when it's a little warmer (and I have more money for some winter gear and another doctor visit for this problem! :lol:).

Bobthehorse
Jan. 6, 2010, 12:30 AM
Well, my trainer has a six pack that is completely from engaging her core while sitting the trot on her horse. Granted, she's been riding him for over 2 years. He's got a very bouncy, energetic trot.

I find my combination of a trotter like your trainers, and my freight train tank of a QH to be great for my abs of steel. The first one requires I use my core to hold myself in the saddle, and the second requires huge half halts of epic core snapping proportion.

Of course every half halt or downward transition on any horse engages your core, if youre doing it right.

jumpsnake
Jan. 6, 2010, 10:19 AM
I've been doing the baby workouts from this site:
www.crossfit.com
While they are hard, they are short, I do them at home (lots of ideas there for substituting things) and I lost 4 pounds in about 3 weeks. Its a great workout that really focuses on both core strength and all around fitness. Be careful if you start, they are intense!

Rescue_Rider9
Jan. 6, 2010, 10:43 AM
Thank you for all the adivce! I cant wait to get started when its not 5 degrees outside!!!

bigbaytb
Jan. 6, 2010, 11:02 AM
Im with ya! I thought that when I moved my horses closer that i would lose weight. AKA..more time in saddle than driving to barn plus not eating fast food for dinner, but able to go home..... This summer and fall I was riding both my horses 4 to 5 times a week up to an hour each (up from 3 times a week at 1/2 hour rides and 1.5 hours of driving)..did I lose weight...nope....I was fitter...and weigh the same freaking 210...when i moved to the barn 40 mins away, i weighed 145...and took 8 years and a marriage for me to pack on the weight (LOL)....

so, since my ma is taking me on an italian cruise, with a quick lay over in paris..i'm not going to be the fat-ass american! so, i have stared pilates...I've lucked out...a friend who is currently horseless and does ride my horses when i'm out of town or on the days i'm not there, has a pilates studio..so I get free lessons...granted last month she just about killed me and I couldn't sneeze for two weeks..she was a bit hard on me...but started back up once a week with her on mondays and can do modified versions at home 2x a week. And I'll head over to friends or my ma's place who have treadmills and elipticals that I can use...so hopefully I can lose it with out spending dinero!!

Petstorejunkie
Jan. 6, 2010, 11:30 AM
Dressage.For.Life, if you have a classy bike shop, especially one that is a Specialized dealer .... Amazing what a few simple changes could do!

Sorry, back to your regularly scheduled horsey talk. ;)
didnt want to derail further but yellowbritches is 100% correct. i am horridly knock kneed and when i bike my knees now are straight, thanks to the help of specialized. Most bike shops are full of idiots, you need to find a good one that outfits the pros. they can fix you, promise!

circusponydreams
Jan. 6, 2010, 11:56 AM
Honestly, I don't think riding alone is enough. For some people, it seems to work, and for some people barn chores are enough. And while I am probably WAY fitter than the average fat ass American between the barn chores and riding, I don't feel like I am as fit as my horses deserve if I don't go above and beyond all of that.

I found this to be true for me, too. I practice yoga (great for core strength and body awareness), run when it's nice out, and do goofy cardio videos like Tae Bo when it's not. Netflix has workout videos you can stream, and www.exercisetv.tv has a bunch of free videos - so no need to wait until the weather improves!

I made a point of keeping up with my fitness this year, and during a muddy jumping lesson this fall, my instructor remarked on how strong I looked in my core and how much more effectively I was riding - I was thrilled.

IFG
Jan. 6, 2010, 12:19 PM
Thanks for the info! It's nice to see people on here who also like cycling :yes: I've heard a lot of good things about the shoes and shoe system by Specialized--As far as the shoes go, I found that Sidi's road shoes worked a little better for me. My one bike fitter recommended an amazing little shoe place so my custom orthotics were actually made in house and can be adjusted but I'm still having no luck :( so am definitely weary of trying more orthotics.

Some padding around one area of my foot allowed me to be pain free for a few miles (before it was agonizing pain from the first mile or so-- so maybe this means it's a nerve in that area of my foot? No way to still feel the pedal through the new shoes with carbon fiber soles) and I found some small shoe inserts to try but weather is currently <10F and a snow storm is on the way so sadly it will just have to wait until Feb./March when it's a little warmer (and I have more money for some winter gear and another doctor visit for this problem! :lol:).

I am old and became a cyclist years before clipless pedals. So I still use sneakers and toe clips. I never switched to clipless because I have some knee issues and didn't want to torque my knees too much.

Have you tried going to the old fashioned way with sneakers (you don't need bike shoes, just shoes that won't get stuck on your pedals) and toe clips?

JER
Jan. 6, 2010, 01:47 PM
The current scientific thinking on exercise/fitness/fat loss doesn't necessarily fit with conventional thinking.

Can You get Fit in 6 Minutes a Week? (http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/24/can-you-get-fit-in-six-minutes-a-week/)

The type of interval training described in the article is known as the Tabata Protocol. (If you google that, you'll 6-figures of hits. Or lots of videos on YouTube.) It works.

You can also do simple bodyweight exercises, like in this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9bIN7MrZhI). A really good bodyweight exercise is the Hindu squat (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPSVpo4mzNI) (warning: do only a few at first). All of these exercises require a stable core and will build core strength.

Buy a jump rope. This will take time to master but you will get tremendous benefit from it. And it's great for Tabata intervals. And jumping rope builds core strength.

And don't make excuses. If it's 5F outside, do some bodyweight exercises inside. Get up off the sofa and do them for a couple of minutes while you're watching TV or taking a break from studying. You don't need gyms or special equipment or personal trainers to build your fitness -- you just need motivation.

Another good exercise to improve balance: stand on one leg while you brush your teeth.

However, you don't need to be a rigid zealot about making yourself exercise. Just do these things whenever you think of it and hopefully, it will be often enough to get you fitter.

Dressage.For.Life.
Jan. 6, 2010, 03:00 PM
Thanks all who have replied to my post- We actually though it was a knee problem a first, but then found that the foot was causing that (and that a brace fixed the knee now). My newer bike fitter is from a shop that a lot of my friends use (as well as the college's team, the owner has been friends with some of my friends for a long time too, etc.)

The fitter there is really knowledgeable but doesn't want to waste your money and will tell and if he's done what he can on the matter. He told me about Ball State's Biomechanics Lab (http://www.bsu.edu/biomechanics/bikefittingserv/) doing bike fittings (and custom orthotics) so I'm keeping that in mind, but after a friend told me about a local podiatrist that is a cyclist and understands problems with that has me thinking that that may be more logical to try first! So I'm hoping to do that when it warms up a little bit or when the insurance soon begins paying more on things again :winkgrin: Thanks again.

flabbergasted
Jan. 7, 2010, 01:54 PM
My personal favs are swimming, walking and pilates, but you should pick something that you really enjoy doing, because you need to do it regularly, and stay committed to it long term, if you want to loose weight and keep it off.

If you like to swim, but don't want to spend a lot of money, you can often find a very good pool at a community YMCA.

katerenee
Jan. 8, 2010, 12:28 AM
I went to my local YMCA today and did an indoor cycling class..... lemme just say WOW! It kicked my butt:eek: Yet I can't wait to do it again, I also love kickboxing and tae bo workouts. I do much better going to the "Y" preferably with friends than on my own. Like today in the cycling class I would have probably quit halfway through if it wasn't a class format and an instructor pushing us for more.

I also secretly want a Wii for the workout games..... they look like so much fun:lol: but I kinda doubt they are on par w/ the classes I do at the Y.

skip916
Jan. 9, 2010, 06:22 PM
i worked off my board one summer as a stall cleaner and lost 18 pounds in three months... that was awesome.

when its so ridiculously freezing and I can't swim or run or cycle I actually make time to use the cable I pay for because they have workout videos "on demand" that are awesome and free and often quick.

you're always welcome to come sit my horse's canter for a few weeks- thats my new years abs of steel plan. but really, if you can clean stalls- you'd be amazed how much of a workout it is- although its not at all glamorous!! wear a pedometer (get one that tracks cals. burned too) around the barn for a few days and see how many cals. you get from a ride versus cleaning stalls and barn chores- its surprising.

great thread by the way! i loved getting new ideas!

Rescue_Rider9
Jan. 10, 2010, 03:55 PM
I cant clean stalls :( My horses are out 24/7. I do remember the days when I worked off lessons. Man was I in shape!!!

deltawave
Jan. 10, 2010, 05:33 PM
Run, don't walk places when you can. Climb stairs (at a run) every single time, no elevators ever. Park as far away from things as possible.

Since you have to do "stuff" away from the barn anyway, make it all count. The older you get, the harder it is to maintain fitness doing just stuff you're used to. And if you want to lose weight instead of just stay fit, it takes another level of intensity.

Weight loss = calories burned > calories consumed. This is true for everyone, all the time, no matter what. There are no exceptions, NONE. Losing 10 pounds = burning about 35,000 calories. If you eat 2000 calories a day and burn 2500 calories a day, it will take roughly nine weeks to lose 10 pounds.

I try to make everything I do as physical as possible. I sit down a lot at work, but also have to walk quite a bit. Stairs virtually always, even six flights if I have to. Walk FAST, run sometimes (like down to the barn when it's COLD) and try to make the barn chores a workout--no leisurely sifting through stall cleaning, make it a workout! :D

Even with this, winter is tough--I don't WANT to be outside--so I go to the gym 2-3 times a week just to keep up with fitness. I don't care about weight--don't have a clue what I weigh--but just go by how I feel.

This flies in the face of everything everyone says about proper eating, but I virtually never eat breakfast or lunch. Not that I don't want to! I love to eat. But I rarely have time, and I've found that I get just as hungry at about 10am and 2-3pm (my two hungry periods of the day) if I do eat as I do if I don't. So I just don't bother, usually. :lol: When I'm on vacation, all I do is eat! :dead: