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Riding while tired

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  • Riding while tired

    Today in my lesson I realized just how tired I am. I'm in the home stretch in gearing up for finals (next week yikes!) so I'm burning the candle at both ends. I really felt like I could not for the life of me coordinate my body properly.

    For example, I usually manage to align myself reasonably up and down but the horse I was riding "convinced" me to hunch over and curl up. Then I had no core to use my aids. Blech.

    At what point do you just say "This is not working, I'm just too tired?"
    Forward momentum!

  • #2
    I teach college full time, have a farm to take care of, and a personal life, too.

    Some days, I just go hacking or give everyone some apples and park my butt in the bathtub with a glass of wine and a book. If I am tired and cranky, I don't ride my sensitive mares, just the one who shrugs off my moods. :-) Basically, I call it quits when I think I will do more harm than good to my goals. Often I do something else, like longe line work, a trail ride, or practicing in my Western tack or bareback just for giggles.

    If it ain't fun or you are going to take some steps backwards, don't get on or don't school, depending on the level of the tired and/or crankiness (they go together for me).


    • #3
      Originally posted by EiRide View Post
      Basically, I call it quits when I think I will do more harm than good to my goals.
      This is my policy too. I have some pretty severe pain issues related to an accident about seven years ago, and I get tired quickly, especially when riding. I can tell when my ride is falling apart because things that should be simple become confusing for me and the horse.

      So, for example, yesterday I was trying to ask my horse to bend more correctly on a circle at the trot as we were tracking to his stiff side. He kept offering me two or three steps of canter in utter confusion because I was too tired to use my leg correctly.

      That was my signal to stop. I turned us around and we did two nice trot circles to his bendier side, and we called it quits and cooled down. We ended on a good note, before *I* did any more damage to our progress!

      I think it's OK to give yourself a break. It sounds like you have a very busy schedule/life right now. The stress alone can be utterly exhausting. Do what you can. Know your limits. Quit while you're ahead.


      • #4
        I agree with the other posters. I work a full time job during the day and then train my young horse in the evenings which is about a 45 minute drive from my house. I get burned out from time to time. I have developed a schedule that seems to work for me, but no where near where I would have been when I was training full time.
        During the week I ride lightly, building up to my weekend fairly intense training sessions. Weekdays I probably ride for 25-30 minutes, working transitions and basics. The weekend I push a little harder working more lateral work and probably for about 45 minutes. There are some days during the week, where if I had a bad day or I can tell she will be in a mood, that I just hack or lounge. I also try to give her and myself some days off. Honestly the days off are probably more for my own health than hers!

        The work should be fun for you both, when it isn't that is when a break is needed to refocus. Good luck with finals!
        Welcome to my dressage world http://www.juliefranzen.blogspot.com/


        • #5
          This is exactly what bareback hack days are for! Sometimes I'm so beat by the time I get to the barn all I can manage is throwing a bridle on. I figure I will be cranky and un-productive, and I have green beans, so far better to have a turn out, or light hack then do damage.


          • #6
            This is when it comes in handy to know how to really lunge correctly. I don't just mean making the horse go around in circles, but lunging on contact to encourage the horse to get through an over his back. There are times when I am tired, but my horse still needs work, so I'll lunge.
            There are also times when I'm too tired to ride, and don't really need to work my horse, but I need to get him out of the stall for a bit. Those are the days when I just let him boing around on the end of the lunge line for a little while and get the bucks out.
            Amateur rider, professional braider.
            Save a life, adopt a pet.


            • #7
              I had a really rotten day yesterday and the day before...I went and rode last night and felt NO better. In fact, I felt worse. I was pitched forward, tired, no patience...the horse was wonderful, I just had a f*ck-its and didnt want to do anything. I always find that MY horse puts me in an awesome mood when I visit him. Schooling dressage on the leased school master? Made my feelings of inadequecy (sp) from yesterdays work day magnified...


              • #8
                Ooo, I am glad I found this thread. I work full time and often my job can be very physical so I am often tired. Then trying to school my horse in the evening (we event and dressage is definitely NOT our strong point) makes me often exhausted and usually very frustrated (both he and I). I just feel like we should always be making progress or things should always be getting easier and that's just not always the case.
                Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                We Are Flying Solo


                • #9
                  I wanted to add one more thing: If you can swing it, riding in the morning can be a much better if you have a mentally or physically demanding job. You sort of give the best part of the day to yourself and work gets what's left over. I know it's not possible for everyone, but if you can, it's a good alternative.
                  Last edited by gettingbettereveryday; Dec. 3, 2009, 04:41 PM. Reason: fixed a darn smiley


                  • #10
                    When I'm tired, cranky or distracted and going out to ride doesn't fix it, I either go for a hack on a long rein or give my horse a massage.

                    He can't understand why I'm having a bad day and I don't want to take it out on him. I had one of those days yesterday . . . took the dogs and we all went for a long walk!
                    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                    • #11
                      Oh a heartfelt yes, to what everyone has said... Particularly now when it is dark when I go to work and dark when I get home, it is just not motivating after a hard day.

                      I do however, make myself some rules, my horse is super fit and I do not want to lose ground over winter. (Winter used to be when I gained ground, but old age seems to have put an end to that...) I promise to ride at least x4 or x5 per week and my trainer rides once per week. I have easy hack days (sometimes a hack in the arena, because of weather), stretchy days and work days.

                      I think it is important to be fair to ourselves, as well as our horses. And sometimes we need a little extra kindness ~ and that's okay!

                      I agree with the ride in the morning thing, if possible. It's much easier for me to start the day with exercise, than end the day with exercise. Sets me up for a great work day also. Unfortunately, by this time of year the weather prohibites that here.

                      Good luck with your finals, and cut yourself some slack!


                      • #12
                        I'm not a dressage rider but saw the title of the thread and thought - yup, that's me. I thought that I was just super tired because of the weather, the early nights and just being plain tuckered out from a long show season. However, turns out it may be a thyroid issue. Sigh.


                        • Original Poster

                          Oh good! Other tired riders out there. Well, not good but I'm glad I'm not the only one. You know what I mean. I felt so silly in my lesson flopping around like a dead fish (and I'm sure Alec was going "What? What did you say? WHAT?").

                          Usually with mental tiredness riding makes me feel log scales better but I haven't been so physically tired trying to ride in a long time. I'm a big girl now and all-nighters throw me all out of whack!

                          Next time I'll punt on the lesson in favor of another one in a few days.
                          Forward momentum!


                          • #14
                            Well, if I didn't ride when I was tired..I would never ride! I think you just get used to operating below optimum.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by gettingbettereveryday View Post
                              I wanted to add one more thing: If you can swing it, riding in the morning can be a much better if you have a mentally or physically demanding job. You sort of give the best part of the day to yourself and work gets what's left over. I know it's not possible for everyone, but if you can, it's a good alternative.
                              That is such a good idea. I can write when I'm tired, but I for sure can't ride. And my schedule is pretty flexible, although often when I go out to the barn I end up piddling around for a lot of the day and don't get the rest of my work done. I just have to discipline myself .

                              I've been sick lately though, so riding has felt like wading through mud. I rode Sunday morning but haven't been on him since, and I feel SO guilty. But I'm sick, darn it!


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Foxhound View Post
                                This is when it comes in handy to know how to really lunge correctly. I don't just mean making the horse go around in circles, but lunging on contact to encourage the horse to get through an over his back. There are times when I am tired, but my horse still needs work, so I'll lunge.
                                There are also times when I'm too tired to ride, and don't really need to work my horse, but I need to get him out of the stall for a bit. Those are the days when I just let him boing around on the end of the lunge line for a little while and get the bucks out.

                                Or long line, or do work in hand. It is cold out, I am staying ate to finish up some items, and I don't want to overdo.

                                My saving grace is that I can catnap anywhere.
                                a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


                                • #17
                                  Try this one: You're 64 years old. You've worked an 8.5 hour day, and now you are heading out to ride - for 30 mins only, at a walk only (vet instructions) - a 16.2 h.h. Araloosa that's on rehab from a minor ligament injury. He has not "worked" for approximately 8 weeks now (and has all that stored up slightly spooky/scatty young horse (5) energy, and we are in the 4th of 6 weeks of walking under saddle. The good news: He's only bucked me off once. Sigh. Makes riding a less than joy, although in the long view, he's behaved quite well. I've only had to tranq him 3 times.....and he hates shots.....life is less than optimal at present. Oh yeah, I'm working a temp job and have been looking for a permanent position since late July, when I was laid off. Sigh. Tired doesn't describe it. Actually, if I had to REALLY RIDE him, I'd probably feel better. It's the tiredness combined with apprehension - how's he going to behave tonight? - that's stressful.