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Improving rider fitness without overworking horse ?

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    We should seriously do a COTH trail ride! We used to do all sorts of fun "meet up" stuff back in the day, but it's probably been a good 10 or more years since I've attended any sort of COTH get together.
    Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


      I am going to an Ultimate COTH meet up on Friday when my husband and I fly to Alaska to spend 2 weeks with a fellow COTHer I met at a COTH meet up in Las Vegas for the World Cup. She and I have gone all over the country doing horsey things together including a week in Wellington and Rolex while it was still Rolex, DAD and watching Justify win the Triple Crown. We do the fun stuff! I am always up for a COTH meet up especially if horses are involved.
      Last edited by Laurierace; Jun. 12, 2019, 09:52 PM.
      McDowell Racing Stables

      Home Away From Home


        Following this thread with interest since I need to get fitter too, am over 50, and my horse is 21 and I want to keep her sound as long as I can (although, judging by today she might break me before I break her...!)

        So I've been doing a lot of 2-point, trot / canter out in the hilly fields, and also a lot of no-stirrup work at all gaits. Since it makes me really sore I am assuming it works lol

        I don't see how trail riding improves rider fitness? Unless you are walking next to the horse...but then I'd rather go hiking with my dog!

        Also, I think we riders don't realize how strong our core muscles are compared to other active people...I remember 2 occasions when I was in a boat with a group of friends. In the first instance, our Zodiac hit a lobster trap's line and stopped dead. The only ones who stayed seated riders. The boat owner and pilot went flying head first in the bottom of his boat and was amazed we girls stayed put hahaha
        2nd time, white water rafting on pretty swift waters - we hit rough rapids, the boat bucked, and the only ones left in the boat riders.

        Just today my mare and I were trotting nicely out in the field when she spooked at the electric fence's fittings rattling in the very strong wind, flew backwards, hit another electric fence, jumped sideways then took off in a blind panic...and I stayed put the whole time! I was amazed! (and those rubber pimpled breeches certainly help!) Yeah, she keeps my core fit whether I want it or not.

        Anyway. I try to focus on endurance so I can survive jumping a course without choking - so, bike riding, walking fast on hilly terrain, even yard work (pushing my ancient metal and wood push mower!) / barn chores (pushing that wheelbarrow up the hill!) can be made into a real workout.

        Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!


          I know you don't want to overexercise your older horse, but my foxhunter was older than he, and we fitted up for the season by doing the posting trot, working up to being able to trot for 2 miles or more.. It was excellent exercise for both horse and rider. Two point at all gaits is good, and so is no stirrup work at all gaits.


            Originally posted by subk View Post
            I agree if you've already got a rowing machine this is

            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.
            That's interesting. I've been a yogi for years and am finally finishing up the 200 hour cert for teaching that I put on hold for injury and Illness. I very much prefer a strenuous practice. Most of my favorite teachers are men! I'm not naturally flexible but ironically, the key to finding more flexibility has been by making use of my strength to protect the joints. Women tend to hurt themselves in yoga because, like the trainer noted, they try to rely on flexibility over strength and they sack into the joint or go "around" it.

            On the cover of Yoga Journal you often see female yogis that have entered a more fully realized variation of an asana than their body wants them to be in. (Dancer pose is one of the worst offenders) it Men are less apt to injure themselves in yoga because they frequently come into the studio with the strength required to protect the joints from overextension. As a wise classmate once said, it should be "all gain and no pain".

            Doing weight-bearing exerciae also increases bone density. Which in turn helps protect you in a fall. The tower is awesome. I'd suggest adding sets of simple weighted exercises on. For example: 3 sets of: 5000 meter row, 20 kettle bell swings, 20 air squats, and 10 push ups.


              I jog my back field. It makes a HUGE difference. Hills are the best.
              Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


                Originally posted by HiJumpGrrl View Post
                two-point at the walk, everywhere, always.
                riding without stirrups when you DO trot and canter.
                Oh my Lord, this! I am an older rider who needs fitness and I can tell you, even the walk holding your legs in proper position for a length of time is valuable but oh those stirrupless trot sets! It really doesn't take much to wear you out!
                "Punch him in the wiener. Then leave." AffirmedHope


                  Original Poster

                  So I'm on the right track. I had a show this weekend and I was MUCH less winded after my test and my new breeches didn't burst at the seams. School is officially out for me (I'm a teacher) so I have so much more time to work on my riding and my fitness.. and meet up with anyone at Fair Hill that wants to trail ride!!
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                    Just had to share that this thread inspired (35y/o) me to wake up early (NOT a morning person!) and go for a walk/jog (because I HATE jogging/running). I definitely need more fitness in my life. And poor pathetic me can only jog for a couple minutes at a time before dying from lack of oxygen, but it's a start...!! So thank you all for the kick in the pants that even us lurkers felt I may need to print and regularly read some of the comments!!

                    Good luck OP, gotta start somewhere!


                      Original Poster

                      Originally posted by She's Pure Gold View Post
                      Just had to share that this thread inspired (35y/o) me to wake up early (NOT a morning person!) and go for a walk/jog (because I HATE jogging/running). I definitely need more fitness in my life. And poor pathetic me can only jog for a couple minutes at a time before dying from lack of oxygen, but it's a start...!! So thank you all for the kick in the pants that even us lurkers felt I may need to print and regularly read some of the comments!!

                      Good luck OP, gotta start somewhere!
                      YAS! I walked a 3 miles with my dog yesterday and I've been rowing.. I'm only up to like 5 mins at this point but it's better than nothing. I also cut out soda unless I go out to dinner and that's made me feel really good!
             - Lets build your dream barn