View Full Version : Help Starting Back Riding After Break......

Jan. 21, 2011, 10:33 AM
Hello Everyone.

I need ideas/advice (I have a trainer but she's not with me all the time) on how to start back after a break.

Before Christmas I injured my back, I missed work for a week and haven't set foot out at the barn in over 2 months!

My trainer has tried to keep my young horse (coming 4) going but that hasn't been 100% consistent.

I also have a gaited trail horse that has not had anything done w/ her during the last 2+ months (no riding, turn-out weather permitting).

I'm ready to start going back to the barn, I need to build up slowly and get back in the 'groove'.

Ideas of how best to do this? Things to do with the horses?


meaty ogre
Jan. 21, 2011, 12:23 PM
I took off the better part of several years after having kids. I decided that I didn't want to get back into the swing of things on my crazy TB who had been sitting in the field most of that time (he was a tough ride even when in full training so I didn't want to take a chance on what he might be like while I was so rusty) so I paid to take lessons at a local barn. After I got the rust off, I decided it was time to hop back on my horse. I made my husband lead us for a lap around the ring.

The main things I would tell you are don't let your horses scare you away from the barn. If you're not up to riding them yet, you can always go out and longe, long rein or do some type of in-hand work (introduce obstacles, backing straight, turn on forehand/haunches) while you build up your confidence. Coming back from a back injury, there is no shame in taking lessons or just paying to ride a safe/comfy/quiet schoolie until you are ready to get back on one of yours.

Putting one of yours in full training if you have the money can be a help too. It always helped me to see my TB being ridden by someone else. He still acted up for the trainer, but seeing the trainer deal with it effectively gave me some confidence and motivation to be able to deal with it when those issues popped up for me.

I wish I had bookmarked it, but there was a series of videos on youtube with some cool in-hand work ideas. A lot of it was western slanted (like for showmanship patterns, etc.) but there was some other neat stuff as well. Maybe you could search for some in-hand ideas there (obviously beware the youtube whacko's!). Odds are if you start with some in-hand stuff, you'll work your way up to longing or longlining under saddle, and then one day you'll be bored with it and decide to hop on and just walk a lap, and then you can build from there. Good luck!

Vesper Sparrow
Jan. 21, 2011, 01:30 PM
I've had three minor injuries since the beginning of October (intercostals, which was the worse since it took forever to heal, sprained wrist and bruised tailbone) and basically rode very little in November and December, although I continued to walk every day. Both of my horses were ridden intermittently during that time. I'm lucky in that I can hop right back on both my horses after a break without much drama on their part. On the advice of my physio, I started slowly, riding only twice or three times a week (with a day of rest in between) for short periods (20-30 min.) for the first couple of weeks. I iced after my ride and took anti-inflammatories before I got on. On my young guy, I took it easy, riding "hunter style" at first. I also spent more time riding my older horse, who has smoother gaits and is easier to ride. I also ramped up my walking to get back in shape. It has taken me about a month to get fully back into it.

Jan. 21, 2011, 02:35 PM
I was in a car accident in the middle of November and the outside tip of my fibula was broken off by the truck door. I still am not able to ride due to the screaming pain in my left ankle. I tried to hop on my trusty steed Waldaire and go for a walk on Sunday and that's a total no-go for a bit longer. Wally is the most reliable, non-spooking horse I have access to and he is comfortable with me being one legged (fractured this ankle in 05).

When the pain level is manageable (I don't want to throw up when I put weight on the ball of my foot), I will try 25 minute sets. 10 minutes of walking straight lines with 1/4 turns (haunches or forehand) at the ends with a 5 minute trot/walk transition set and then 10 minutes of cool down time. That's my plan for the first 5 days, then I'll step it up or add a second horse in there to rebuild my core strength. And so on in 5 day increments until I'm back to full speed...but that plan is totally on hold for a while. :(

A friend who has had multiple serious injuries recommended that I try sitting the trot & canter rather than posting when it is time to go back. That will be the only way I can start back given my injury.

Jan. 22, 2011, 01:38 PM
Thanks for the ideas and commiseration! Sounds like I'm not the only one to go through this.

I am kind of scared to go out to the barn, a lot of it is that I'm intimidated by other boarders there. Not that they aren't fairly nice, but you know how it goes. They all comment on how they haven't seen you in a while, why haven't you been out, etc., etc.

Plus everyone at the barn I board at is pretty serious about their riding, they have expensive horses and tack, sometimes I feel a bit like the odd one out. I have horses because I love them and it is fun so I'm pretty relaxed about it all and don't train/work hard.

Oh well, I'll just have to bite the bullet, gather my courage up and just do it, right?