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Improving rider fitness without overworking horse ?

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  • #21
    Go to the gym. I don't think most people over the age of 25 can be fit enough if they only ride one horse--and over 40 I think you start loosing security that you can't get back any place other than the gym. Squats and dead lifts--weight bearing exercises while balancing on two feet. Throw in a little cardio like HIIT and you ought to be good to go. 45 minutes 2-3 times a week and your golden.

    I used to ride to stay fit. Now I stay fit so I can ride.

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    • #22
      Meredith Clark I'm a teacher, too (we just finished up the school year yesterday) and I'm 100% serious about being a trail riding buddy if you need one. Laurierace too and anyone else in the area. I'm a bigger weenie than my horse, who is usually a pretty solid citizen. Not a baby-sitter or lead out type, but sensible and quiet when with other generally sensible horses. I am desperate to get out as much as possible this summer so just say the word! I'm in the same boat of trying to regain my fitness without pounding unnecessarily on my horse. Graduate school + working full time was not kind to my waistline or my fitness level!
      Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

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      • Original Poster

        #23
        Originally posted by subk View Post
        Go to the gym. I don't think most people over the age of 25 can be fit enough if they only ride one horse--and over 40 I think you start loosing security that you can't get back any place other than the gym. Squats and dead lifts--weight bearing exercises while balancing on two feet. Throw in a little cardio like HIIT and you ought to be good to go. 45 minutes 2-3 times a week and your golden.

        I used to ride to stay fit. Now I stay fit so I can ride.
        I'm not over 40 yet !

        I know this sounds cliche but going to the gym is not an option for me. Between working full time, my lesson program, running a 4H club and competing my horse it would just be a waste of money. I do have a REALLY nice rowing machine that I need to use more (like a crazy nice one with real water as resistance) and I have an in ground pool that will be open soon so I can swim. I'm also doing my yoga and a workout I got from InForm Fitness. I just need to do them all MORE!
        http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn

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        • Original Poster

          #24
          Originally posted by Texarkana View Post
          Meredith Clark I'm a teacher, too (we just finished up the school year yesterday) and I'm 100% serious about being a trail riding buddy if you need one. Laurierace too and anyone else in the area. I'm a bigger weenie than my horse, who is usually a pretty solid citizen. Not a baby-sitter or lead out type, but sensible and quiet when with other generally sensible horses. I am desperate to get out as much as possible this summer so just say the word! I'm in the same boat of trying to regain my fitness without pounding unnecessarily on my horse. Graduate school + working full time was not kind to my waistline or my fitness level!
          I would love to go trail riding more! If you know me in real life contact me (it's pretty obvious who I am based on my user name )
          http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn

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          • #25
            Bear with me here because this is a similar suggestion to others- have you tried cycling? My riding trainer is a Peloton devotee and recommended it for rider fitness. I didn't want to put the $$$ into the equipment so I 'built' my own kit- $20/mo app subscription, $300 bike from amazon, $12 ipad/phone stand, $15 hand weights- I do it in the morning before barn chores and I really love it and absolutely am feeling the difference. (DM me and I'll send you the links to what I bought)

            The intervals out of the (bike) saddle really target the same areas you'll need to build (horse) saddle fitness, you'll get that cardio in with the sprint fazes, and strength in with the weights and 'hill work'

            I love that i can take all kinds of classes from all kinds of instructors on demand AND the app keeps you accountable and competitive with yourself. They have everything from 5 min rides to 90 min rides, strength, running, and stretching so you really can choose something that will fit your schedule for that day

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            • #26
              Originally posted by Meredith Clark View Post

              I know this sounds cliche but going to the gym is not an option for me. Between working full time, my lesson program, running a 4H club and competing my horse it would just be a waste of money.
              From your OP it sounds like you have time to do mounted "exercises," whatever those are, on lesson horses you wouldn't otherwise ride. But you can't possibly make an hour a few times a week to go to the gym? This might be harsh, but improving fitness is either a priority for you or it's not.

              If you're serious, and travel time to a gym location is too much of a hardship, get some basic equipment (a couple pairs of dumbbells 10 and 25#, jump rope, medicine ball, maybe a 35 lb kettlebell), subscribe to some kind of Crossfit-ish/HIIT distance program and do the workouts in your garage/driveway, on a clean stall mat if you have one lying around.
              "Why would anybody come here if they had a pony? Who leaves a country packed with ponies to come to a non-pony country? It doesn't make sense!"

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              • Original Poster

                #27
                Originally posted by Scaramouch View Post

                From your OP it sounds like you have time to do mounted "exercises," whatever those are, on lesson horses you wouldn't otherwise ride. But you can't possibly make an hour a few times a week to go to the gym? This might be harsh, but improving fitness is either a priority for you or it's not.

                .
                You're welcome to come across harsh, it's not going to hurt my feelings. The gym I can afford is 30 mins away, so that would be an hour of travel time. My horses are in my backyard so yes I would definitely like to not have to spend the gas and travel time when I could be home riding. Also, like I said.. I have a rowing machine and a pool so I want to use them!

                I guess I was sort of compartmentalizing exercises I can do ON a horse (any horse) and those off.. while I 100% appreciate the unmounted advice i'm a little bit stuck due to location and affordability, I need to push myself and be creative with what I have.
                http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn

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                • Original Poster

                  #28
                  Originally posted by Scaramouch View Post

                  From your OP it sounds like you have time to do mounted "exercises," whatever those are, on lesson horses you wouldn't otherwise ride..
                  I meant making the most of my ride physically. Someone suggested holding 2 point, stuff like that is what I'm looking for.
                  http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn

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                  • #29
                    If you know anyone with an upper level dressage schoolmaster - see if you can get a few lessons working on half halts. The amount of targeted core required for the collected work and p/p is insane and will give you a clue where you are missing fitness.

                    I belong to a gym that does Les Mills classes, and if you search on YouTube, you can find a number of videos from new instructors trying to get certified. When they don't have a class that fits my schedule, I do one off YouTube at home.

                    Search for Les Mills CX Works for 30 minutes of core - you can do it without resistance bands and focus on balance and still get a great workout. Search for Les Mills Grit Cardio (30 min), Body Attack (30-60 min), and Combat (60 min). Those are all ones you can do without any equipment.

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                    • #30
                      Sorry, I must have misunderstood- something to add into your riding is the Equicube. We have one and it really does make you use yourself correctly and give you a great workout and the horse is none the wiser!

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                      • #31
                        Work on your cardio and a lot of stuff with come easier for you. You can do “weight training” of sorts while your riding- no stirrup work, two point, sitting trot. Off the horse, look into doing some kind of HIIT workout. I’m sure there’s a ton of stuff on YouTube you could do at home.

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                        • #32
                          Originally posted by Meredith Clark View Post

                          I do have a REALLY nice rowing machine that I need to use more (like a crazy nice one with real water as resistance)
                          You're golden!

                          The rowing machine is the only thing I do. I think it's the most efficient full body and core workout you'll find, it just takes a while to figure out the rhythm and what parts of your body to engage. I know a lot of people really hate it, but if you can just commit to 15-20 minutes on that thing 3-4x a week you'd feel/see a huge difference.

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                          • #33
                            Well . . . nobody has said it. THE SITTING TROT.

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                            • #34
                              Originally posted by Meredith Clark View Post

                              I'm not over 40 yet !

                              I know this sounds cliche but going to the gym is not an option for me. Between working full time, my lesson program, running a 4H club and competing my horse it would just be a waste of money. I do have a REALLY nice rowing machine that I need to use more (like a crazy nice one with real water as resistance) and I have an in ground pool that will be open soon so I can swim. I'm also doing my yoga and a workout I got from InForm Fitness. I just need to do them all MORE!
                              You must, must, must figure out a way to incorporate weight-bearing exercise into your routine. Not only for general fitness but also as an insurance policy against brittle bones as you age. And any exercise that builds flexibility without adding strength sets you up for injury because the muscles aren't strong enough to protect the joint.

                              Look on Craigslist and pick up some free weights cheap. Then get a subscription to a magazine like Oxygen and follow the programs they publish every month.

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by Benchmark View Post
                                The rowing machine is the only thing I do. I think it's the most efficient full body and core workout you'll find, it just takes a while to figure out the rhythm and what parts of your body to engage. I know a lot of people really hate it, but if you can just commit to 15-20 minutes on that thing 3-4x a week you'd feel/see a huge difference.
                                I agree if you've already got a rowing machine this is what you need to be doing, no question. But be kind to yourself--while unfit the rowing machine in about 5 minutes will kick your patootie! The good news is you can make some really significant improvements without much time investment. Once you're in decent shape I'd say you'd be happy with even less work than Benchmark--10-15 minutes 2-3 times a week--as long as your doing intervals/HIIT. I think if you'd get with it you'd see major improvement as soon as a couple three weeks.

                                While I get you want "on the horse" exercises you just really are not going to put much fitness on while limiting the pounding on the horse you have. Most "unfit" riders I see are having trouble with cardio more so than strength--they need to be stronger, but don't have the cardio capacity to get there while in the saddle. The hands down best way to get cardio while riding is galloping--and you're not going to do that. Besides 10 minutes on the rowing machine is sure a more time effeicent way of getting fit than riding--you can hardly tack your horse up in 10 minutes .


                                Edited to add: Women want to do yoga because we tend to be more flexible so are more likely to be good at it. Men like to lift weights because they tend to have more muscle mass and the tend to be good at it. One the best trainers I ever knew (worked with pro athletes including as the strength and conditioning coach for the LA Lakers) says that women should lift and men should do yoga--we should do the things that are hard and against our natural physical propensity. Then do enough cardio to accomplish what it is you want to accomplish but not necessarily more.

                                Wanderosa is right too: for long term health women really, really need to be doing weight bearing exercises. I will say having ridden at the upper levels my only athletic regret is that I didn't understand how incredibly valuable getting under the bar (squats and deadlifts primarily) would be to my riding. NOTHING I've ever done (and if you can name it I've done it) to improve my riding comes close to what weight training has done.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #36
                                  Originally posted by Benchmark View Post

                                  You're golden!

                                  The rowing machine is the only thing I do. I think it's the most efficient full body and core workout you'll find, it just takes a while to figure out the rhythm and what parts of your body to engage. I know a lot of people really hate it, but if you can just commit to 15-20 minutes on that thing 3-4x a week you'd feel/see a huge difference.
                                  OMG it's SOOOO hard! I can barely do 5 mins right now but I'm hoping to just really commit and do it every day and keep increasing my time.
                                  http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by subk View Post

                                    Edited to add: Women want to do yoga because we tend to be more flexible so are more likely to be good at it. Men like to lift weights because they tend to have more muscle mass and the tend to be good at it. One the best trainers I ever knew (worked with pro athletes including as the strength and conditioning coach for the LA Lakers) says that women should lift and men should do yoga--we should do the things that are hard and against our natural physical propensity. Then do enough cardio to accomplish what it is you want to accomplish but not necessarily more.

                                    Wanderosa is right too: for long term health women really, really need to be doing weight bearing exercises. I will say having ridden at the upper levels my only athletic regret is that I didn't understand how incredibly valuable getting under the bar (squats and deadlifts primarily) would be to my riding. NOTHING I've ever done (and if you can name it I've done it) to improve my riding comes close to what weight training has done.
                                    I need to do it all then because I have no muscle and I am the most inflexible person ever, my boyfriend is WAY more flexible than I am! (I have a stronger core than he does though)

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                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by Meredith Clark View Post

                                      OMG it's SOOOO hard! I can barely do 5 mins right now but I'm hoping to just really commit and do it every day and keep increasing my time.
                                      That's the way to do it. Just do as much as you can and focus on your posture and form. If you can't hold your posture, either dial back the intensity or stop for the day. If you stick with it, you'll be surprised how quickly you start to feel the results.

                                      Also completely agree that just getting on it, even for 5-10 minutes a few times a week to start, is completely appropriate. Don't feel like you need to crank out a lengthy workout for it to have an impact. I've worked up to doing a 10K in 40 minutes 3x per week on the rower and I cannot tell you how much it has helped my riding. I just feel like it hits all the main muscle groups I need to work all at once and doesn't put the wear and tear on my joints that running did.

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                                      • Original Poster

                                        #39
                                        Originally posted by Benchmark View Post

                                        That's the way to do it. Just do as much as you can and focus on your posture and form. If you can't hold your posture, either dial back the intensity or stop for the day. If you stick with it, you'll be surprised how quickly you start to feel the results.

                                        Also completely agree that just getting on it, even for 5-10 minutes a few times a week to start, is completely appropriate. Don't feel like you need to crank out a lengthy workout for it to have an impact. I've worked up to doing a 10K in 40 minutes 3x per week on the rower and I cannot tell you how much it has helped my riding. I just feel like it hits all the main muscle groups I need to work all at once and doesn't put the wear and tear on my joints that running did.
                                        Yes I'm so fortunate to have it it's this one https://www.waterrower.com/

                                        My parents bought it and neither would commit so I asked and they gave it to me!
                                        http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn

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                                        • #40
                                          There's an awesome personal trainer in our area who is also an eventer. She's tough but she worked wonders for me and she will come to you. For anyone who wants to join up and ride some miles at Fair Hill ( Texarkana Laurierace ) feel free to PM me. I board right off of Fair Hill and ride every evening I can and most weekends and I'm happy to go any pace/ any length of time (plus my guys are awesome babysitters)
                                          Wouldst thou like the taste of butter and pretty dress? Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?

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