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Improving rider fitness without overworking horse ?

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  • Improving rider fitness without overworking horse ?

    Hi all!

    I have a really lovely older school master that I'm competing this year (mostly dressage but the hope is to do some lower level eventing this summer and fall). I'm finding with the more advanced flat work that I'm totally and utterly out of shape ! My dressage trainer has cautioned me about not pounding his legs and riding for long spans of time, but I'm having trouble getting myself into shape !

    So .. anyone that knows me in real life will say "Mere, why don't you ride one of the other 13 horses you own? " well I have a good reason ! My other horses are lesson horses and with 30+ students they work pretty hard so I don't want to put more hours on their backs just for myself.

    What are some exercises that I can do on my guy, or even the lesson horses that aren't a lot of stress on THEM, but will help me ? Or even unmounted?
    http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn

  • #2
    two-point at the walk, everywhere, always.
    riding without stirrups when you DO trot and canter.
    "Cynicism is a sorry kind of wisdom" Barack Obama

    Comment


    • #3
      Lesson horses need tuneups from the trainer or they go sour. Obviously they won't be as schooled as your competition horse. But why not make it a point to give each of your lesson horses a focused half hour schooling session once a week? That way you can ride two lesson horses a day.

      Riding more than one horse per day is a huge fitness boost, especially if each horse is getting a coherent schooling session.

      If you have 13 horses and 30 students total they can't be working that hard!

      And yes, put on a jump saddle and two point trot until you can do it indefinitely. The light seat isn't used in dressage but it sure is a workout on thigh and core! And no stirrups work of course too. I feel like no stirrups work is harder in a jump saddle than a dressage saddle.

      Also watch your posture everywhere. If you slouch or hunch everywhere else in life you can't pull.good posture and a strong core out of the box just to ride.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by Scribbler View Post

        If you have 13 horses and 30 students total they can't be working that hard!

        .
        I agree about getting tune ups ! However I should have been more specific about my 13 horses. So 3 of them are on lease.. that leaves 10.. of those 10 three of them are minis and one is a donkey and one is retired and unsound. That leaves Juice, Meatball, Sundae and Heaven as my full sized lesson horses that I can ride.. they do get used a lot ! My school master gets used by one of my teenaged lesson students once a week.
        http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Meredith Clark View Post

          I agree about getting tune ups ! However I should have been more specific about my 13 horses. So 3 of them are on lease.. that leaves 10.. of those 10 three of them are minis and one is a donkey and one is retired and unsound. That leaves Juice, Meatball, Sundae and Heaven as my full sized lesson horses that I can ride.. they do get used a lot ! My school master gets used by one of my teenaged lesson students once a week.
          Ok, 4 lesson horses for 30 students is different!

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by Scribbler View Post

            Ok, 4 lesson horses for 30 students is different!
            The mini's get used as well! I mainly have very young riders and children with emotional disabilities. But yes, those core 4 are my pillars.
            http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn

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            • #7
              The best thing for my riding fitness has been the workouts I’ve done OFF the horse.

              Lots of walking (not leisurely pace...3.5 to 4 mph). I know you are very near Fair Hill so no excuse...get out and hike those hills!

              Pilates videos. Free on YouTube and there are TONS to choose from. Also planks for core work!

              Youtube trainers I’ve found to love are HASFit w/ Coach K, Kit Rich, and Sydney Cummings.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by jcraig10 View Post
                . I know you are very near Fair Hill so no excuse...get out and hike those hills!

                .
                Who ARE you?? I've been doing yoga for hip flexors so that's fun!
                http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn

                Comment


                • #9
                  LOL The Chronicle creeper I actually don’t know you, just know you’re from the area from prior posts

                  yesss to the hip flexor work! Never know how tight your hips are until you stretch them out and can actually walk like a real person

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by jcraig10 View Post
                    LOL The Chronicle creeper I actually don’t know you, just know you’re from the area from prior posts

                    yesss to the hip flexor work! Never know how tight your hips are until you stretch them out and can actually walk like a real person
                    haha.. love it! I am very close to Fair Hill and need to hike more
                    http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Running I found to be surprisingly good for posture as it is hard to run if you aren't upright, thinking forward and balanced. Swimming for cardio. Walking is excellent general exercise. Pilates, yoga for muscles and Alexander Technique really helps in dealing with tension and breathing.

                      Good grief, with all that, how come I'm such a rubbish rider?
                      "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Things that work for me: two point, three point, at least 10 minutes of trotting with no breaks, and off the horse walking hills (huge help this spring in getting myself legged up) swimming and then also squats, push ups, crunches: I do these because they take around 5 minutes so there are NO EXCUSES for not doing them. Good luck!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Gym membership. It really does go a long way to being at least slightly more fit than the horse!

                          Also the walking recommendations. Especially on rolling or hilly terrain.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I find long trail rides are great for both horse and rider fitness... if you want a Fair Hill riding buddy, just sayin'...
                            Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              It's winter down here in NZ and one of my main goals is to increase my fitness so that I'm ready for the spring season. I'd really like to finish a full SJ course with jump off and not be panting and puffing

                              The weather is average and daylight is minimal so 2-3x week I'll walk my horse in hand instead of riding (he's plenty fit enough). It's very flat so I try to up the intensity by doing short bursts of skipping, high stepping, walking backwards and a sideways footwork thing. It probably looks pretty silly but it's dark so who cares. I'm also walking with short bursts of running at home. I need to increase the running amount by quite a lot! I have a smart watch thing so I'm trying to do a minimum of 10,000 steps per day.

                              At home I do some stretching & core strength exercises. Not sure I'm doing exactly what I need but it's better than nothing.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Take the horse out, as long as the footing isn't hard and concussive, or really deep, and go for a 45 minute walk trail ride.
                                Go afoot as much as possible. Maybe at first, ride half and walk half. Work up to walking it all, moving out. And then you can increase time, or walking speed, and then both.
                                The forward, ground covering but free and relaxed walk will be super for your horse's mind as well as his fitness base.
                                Add hills, if possible, as you both get fitter.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Meredith Clark View Post
                                  Hi all!

                                  I have a really lovely older school master that I'm competing this year (mostly dressage but the hope is to do some lower level eventing this summer and fall). I'm finding with the more advanced flat work that I'm totally and utterly out of shape ! My dressage trainer has cautioned me about not pounding his legs and riding for long spans of time, but I'm having trouble getting myself into shape !

                                  So .. anyone that knows me in real life will say "Mere, why don't you ride one of the other 13 horses you own? " well I have a good reason ! My other horses are lesson horses and with 30+ students they work pretty hard so I don't want to put more hours on their backs just for myself.

                                  What are some exercises that I can do on my guy, or even the lesson horses that aren't a lot of stress on THEM, but will help me ? Or even unmounted?
                                  Weight bearing exercise and yoga with a good instructor. The stronger your general functional fitness, the stronger you are as a rider. COTH sent a reporter to shadow Beezie Madden and a few other top riders while they worked out. They all work out heavy off their horses.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Core and cardio are really what you need (and me). Cardio....you know what you need to do. Core.....planks, sit ups, wall sits, squats....all will help with riding. Daniel Stewart has some good workouts....they would be fun to do with your lesson kids too.

                                    Here’s one of his books..and pretty sure there are videos. https://www.amazon.com/Fit-Focused-M...8T60D296AAW4DZ

                                    and another. https://www.amazon.com/Ride-Right-Da...2813/ref=nodl_

                                    If you are interested....he does clinics. Pony club etc. We have done a few of the for Area II and for the PC in the area. They are pretty popular. If you were interested in organizing
                                    ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by Fillabeana View Post
                                      Take the horse out, as long as the footing isn't hard and concussive, or really deep, and go for a 45 minute walk trail ride.
                                      Go afoot as much as possible. Maybe at first, ride half and walk half. Work up to walking it all, moving out. And then you can increase time, or walking speed, and then both.
                                      The forward, ground covering but free and relaxed walk will be super for your horse's mind as well as his fitness base.
                                      Add hills, if possible, as you both get fitter.
                                      So here's my hesitation about that... Music is a super horse but he's a bit of a "dumb blood" (I can call him that because I love him). If he's not WORKING he can be really stupid. Spooking at everything, rearing to get back to his friends, whatever strange thing that comes to his mind. I can hack him out if he's really focused and working but I don't have nice woods to ride in, it's just flat farm land next to my farm and by the road, so I get a little nervous when he's stupid, especially since my husband works until 11pm so no one would find me if he dropped me. I think if I trailered him to Fair Hill he'd be better which I want to do more once school lets out (I'm a teacher so summer break is almost here!)
                                      http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Texarkana View Post
                                        I find long trail rides are great for both horse and rider fitness... if you want a Fair Hill riding buddy, just sayin'...
                                        Me too, me too! I always want a trail ride buddy!
                                        McDowell Racing Stables

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