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Improving Rider Stamina while Jumping

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  • Improving Rider Stamina while Jumping

    I just got done with my riding lesson and have come to the conclusion that I need to work on my riding fitness. Over this past winter I have lost 33 pounds (8 more to go). I try to get on the treadmill or walk with my dogs (fast pace) whenever I can. But today after doing course work, I was WINDED. It's frustrating. My horse does need some pushing to keep going, so that may be part of it, but I really need to do something.

    Anyone have any tips on improving my fitness level while jumping? I don't want to jog/run because of a questionable knee. I had surgery a few years back, and when I tried to run again, it started hurting.

    Any recommendations for exercises on AND off the horse would be appreciated.
    “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
    ¯ Oscar Wilde

  • #2
    My mother also has problems with her knee. The doctor told her to either do a recumbent bicycle or try the elliptical machines. Swimming will also get you into crazy good shape and is easier on the joints.
    "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~John Wooden

    Phoenix Animal Rescue

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    • #3
      If you are just noticing this "getting winded" while jumping, it may be related to your breathing (or lack there of) while jumping. Sometimes people have a tendancy to hold their breath while jumping. Obviously, you aren't holding your breath the entire time while doing a course or you'd pass out, but you get nervous/excited and "forget" to breath normally.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Luckeys71, you may be right. I have always done that, now that you bring it up! Hmm. That could be part of it. Also, I've just started getting serious again with jumping, so maybe it's a little of both? I will definitely work on breathing. I used to hold my breath at shows. I'd only know it when I finished my course and I was winded and had a super dry mouth/throat.

        Any breathing reminders/exercises?
        “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
        ¯ Oscar Wilde

        Comment


        • #5
          I was going to say running, but obviously that's "out"...

          I agree with the breathing thing. I run and am very fit and work 3 horses a day here at home. When I do courses and whatever crazy work, I don't really get winded...at HOME. When I have a lesson in CO or a show or something with an audience/pressure....I'm soooo winded.

          I've kinda developed the method of chatting with my horses through the rides or singing a slow song to them. My non-scientific theory is that if you're expelling air to talk/sing, then you'll need to suck more in haha.
          Kelli
          Horse Drawings!

          Comment


          • #6
            congrats on losing 33 pounds! that is a huge accomplishment! riding without sturrips seems to really help my stamina, but only if i do it for a really long time. try doing all of your flat work without them one day!

            Comment


            • #7
              What about bicycling or swimming?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by kateh View Post
                My mother also has problems with her knee. The doctor told her to either do a recumbent bicycle or try the elliptical machines. .
                I find that if I can combine the elliptical with running, my knees are fine. When all I do is run, my right knee will start hurting.

                Originally posted by luckeys71 View Post
                If you are just noticing this "getting winded" while jumping, it may be related to your breathing (or lack there of) while jumping.
                This

                Originally posted by kellidahorsegirl View Post
                My non-scientific theory is that if you're expelling air to talk/sing, then you'll need to suck more in haha.
                I'm trying to train myself to exhale during the landing stride of every jump. Not only will it keep me breathing, but exhaling relaxes you and I'm hoping that it will keep me loose and calm and help keep my horse slow and relaxed as well.
                Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by luckeys71 View Post
                  If you are just noticing this "getting winded" while jumping, it may be related to your breathing (or lack there of) while jumping. Sometimes people have a tendancy to hold their breath while jumping. Obviously, you aren't holding your breath the entire time while doing a course or you'd pass out, but you get nervous/excited and "forget" to breath normally.
                  Pshaw! You can totally hold your breathe for an entire course! Ask me how I know!

                  I found out when I started eventing that I was holding my breath while jumping. Holding your breath for a 30 sec course is a LOT easier than a 3 min cross country course!

                  I remind myself to breath as I am heading toward the first jump and that usually helps. I have more of a tendency to hold my breath when I am nervous, also.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ajierene View Post
                    Pshaw! You can totally hold your breathe for an entire course! Ask me how I know!
                    Totally agree with this... my trainer is currently yelling "BREATHE!" every time I land... Yeah, awesome.

                    Swimming will get you in shape, and fast. Bring some Gatorade if you do laps; it helps.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Thanks, all. I think I will definitely work on both. I will try to be conscious about breathing on course. And it does seem to be in lessons and not so much at home. I may not work at hard at home, though. ;-)

                      Last night I did get on our spin bike and gave myself a good workout. Knees were fine. I will rotate between the spin bike and treadmill, and then I'd like to do more mountain biking this summer, and of course walking the two dogs. They love it. I love swimming, but don't have a place to do it regularly.

                      Okay, this will be me coming up to a fence, "Breathe...heels down...one, two, one, two...butt back, don't jump ahead. BREATHE!" I will need a cheat sheet!
                      “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
                      ¯ Oscar Wilde

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hot Yoga

                        I do hot yoga about 3-4 days a week and find it really useful. The room is kept around 98 degrees. Improves your breathing techniques, improves core strength.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          i used to get winded when jumping a lot, especially when trying to keep a lazy or big horse up and strung together (I'm short and recently switched from dressage to h/j: it's SO much more about stillness/tightness on the horse as opposed to flexibility and softness!). I always thought this was weird because I'm a big runner, ran cross-country in high school, etc.

                          I found that what I was lacking was strength--once I started lifting weights at the gym, the problem went away. Riding doesn't seem to be as much about cardio once you get strong. Sit-ups on an inclined bench with a 15lb medicine ball, pushups, dips, lunges with weights and squat push-presses with a 35lb plate all helped me a LOT, especially with my jumping position in the air.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            First off, congratulations on loosing 33 pounds, that is a huge accomplishment! The "winded" feeling could be coming from you holding your breath on course and needing to be a little bit more fit. Mention the breathing thing to your trainer. I have that problem, and now my trainer will just yell "Breathe!" to me during lessons, and it helps a lot.

                            As far as fitness goes, try swimming. It is a fabulous workout, and it is very low-impact (great for bad knees!). USMS, United States Masters Swimming, is a good place to start. See if they have a team in your area. Masters teams range in ability from collegiate swimmers to 80-somethings just swimming for fun. Most of the teams only have two pre-requisites: you must be over 18(for juniors there's USA Swimming), and be able to get across the 25 yard pool without drowning.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              When you're riding, how long do you canter without stopping?

                              When trying to get in shape last year, I would make myself canter 8 laps without stirrups. It simulates jumping a course, but without the jumps. :-) Or, you can canter a course, but without the jumps. If you're a hunter rider, do an outside / angle / outside / angle and a couple of courtesy circles.

                              And congrats on the weight loss! Wow!
                              ~ Citizens for a Kinder, Gentler COTH...our mantra: Be nice. ~

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Thanks, all, for the kind words on my weight loss. I'm riding much better now because of it. And after last night's spin workout, I've lost another pound. So 34, and 7 to go!
                                “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
                                ¯ Oscar Wilde

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by bluebuckets View Post
                                  As far as fitness goes, try swimming. It is a fabulous workout, and it is very low-impact (great for bad knees!). USMS, United States Masters Swimming, is a good place to start. See if they have a team in your area. Masters teams range in ability from collegiate swimmers to 80-somethings just swimming for fun. Most of the teams only have two pre-requisites: you must be over 18(for juniors there's USA Swimming), and be able to get across the 25 yard pool without drowning.
                                  I second this- I swam masters after high school and for a few years in college. I loved it- the coach was friendly and the other people on the team ranged from stay at home moms to tri-athletes and seniors. We were only pushed as much as we wanted to be. I got really serious about my swimming and for awhile would do a morning swim workout, go to school, ride in the afternoon, then head back to the pool for the evening swim workout. Finally had to give it up, wish I could get back into it but my old team doesn't have any workout times that fit into my schedule- my days of 5am at the pool are long gone!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I totally ran into this problem lately too - I just started jumping again after a few years of hardly even riding, and the first day I did about 6 jumps and was panting like a dog in the sun. I've been keeping up with other fitness while not riding (running, rock climbing, yoga, etc.) but I think it's really my legs. There are muscles there that we really don't use doing anything else. I know personally, at least, I rarely have to squeeze anything between my legs or balance on a moving animal when I'm not on a horse.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by kahhull View Post
                                      I know personally, at least, I rarely have to squeeze anything between my legs or balance on a moving animal when I'm not on a horse.


                                      Believe it or not, they still make ThighMasters (or are you not old enough to remember them?). http://www.thighmaster.net/ I bought one on eBay and when I was doing it regularly I could post without stirrups all day long. You can substitute a rubber ball, but it's not quite the same.
                                      Most people don't need a $35,000 horse. They need a $1,000 horse and $34,000 in lessons.

                                      "I don't have to be fair… . I'm an American With a Strong, Fact-Free Opinion." (stolen off Facebook)

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by TheBarnRules View Post


                                        Believe it or not, they still make ThighMasters (or are you not old enough to remember them?). http://www.thighmaster.net/ I bought one on eBay and when I was doing it regularly I could post without stirrups all day long. You can substitute a rubber ball, but it's not quite the same.
                                        You could somehow sit on one of those giant yoga balls WHILE using teh thighmaster..... but make sure to video that.
                                        Kelli
                                        Horse Drawings!

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