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Older riders or physically limited riders??

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  • Older riders or physically limited riders??

    I love riding. I love jumping and showig... but as an older/limited rider, it has it's challenges. I want to get in shape to keep up with my "wants" but I also have knee and hip problems.

    I would like to build my endurance/cardio.... (last horse show during the course I was breathing like the old engine that could going up the hill) It wasn't pretty. But I have days my hips hurt so bad I can't walk.

    How as an older and or limited rider do you keep in shape without hurting yourself?

    Or do I need to start a group?
    Live in the sunshine.
    Swim in the sea.
    Drink the wild air.

  • #2
    Good post. Besides riding the young horses, I walk or jog when my bionic knee permits. I also do strength training at home. Right now- I can't fit in the gym. Jogging is the best form of card for me, plus I love being outside. A good brisk walk - you should not be able to talk comfortably, will be good for endurance if your joints can't take the pounding. Working with weights, even the hand held ones, is key. Building muscle not only tones you , you burn more fat( if you need it) and protects against osteoporosis! It is not easy but so worth it.
    Come to the dark side, we have cookies


    • #3
      How about swimming or cycling? Both are easier on the knees.


      • #4
        I have an old Nordic track machine which I really like... once you get into the groove of it... I just rejoined a gym so I'm hoping that will help my older joints.
        I've got 2 bad ankles - pretty much smashed one (21fractures) and sprained the other twice.. so jogging is pretty much out. Swimming is great too -
        a good mix of cardio and weights are key... something I've got to get back into myself. I know that when i worked out alot my riding greatly improved


        • #5
          You might also try yoga (or any other stretching program) - sometimes once you convince the joints that range of motion is possible, everything else gets easier.

          For myself, I hit the gym - stationary bike for aerobics, lots of stretching and core work, and then some strength work with weights - twice a week. But start slow - nothing is more annoying than hurting yourself while you're trying to get in shape!


          • #6
            LIKE this thread-gotta keep this one going-bump please-boy i don.t like to age-


            • #7
              Not sure what age constitutes an "older" rider. I've been practicing yoga and doing pilates for several years now and it has helped tremendously with my riding. I recently attended an "equicision" (www.equicision.com) clinic which focuses on exercises to strengthen your riding position. Fellow COTHer Medical Mike has developed this program and has really helped me continue to enjoy riding at age 54. I also don't hesitate to pop a naproxen on those stiff days.
              1. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.


              • #8
                I second swimming and yoga. If you think you could stand it, you could try Bikram's yoga. The poses are not very difficult, but the room is 105 F. It's intense, and not for everyone, but it's the only exercise I've found that makes me pain-free. Just remember to start off slowly!

                Good luck


                • #9
                  I'm not "old" per se but my knee limits what I can do in terms of pounding--I am liking the eliptical I bought because it's not as hard as trying to jog or run. (Running on concrete is right out, and even treadmills can be a little on the painful side.) I'm trying to build my stamina for jive and the elipitcal helps. (I also put on a jive song and just do basics through the whole thing--it's 2-3 minutes of triple step triple step rock step repeat, and is kind of like interval training. I figure if it's good for dance it's good for riding stamina, too! Sometimes 3 furlongs on our training track feels longer than the 90 seconds of a jive round, though that might just be the "Oh crap" factor when Lucky remembers he used to be a racehorse!)
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                  • #10
                    I'm not old in age either (30 is looming) but my body FEELS old. My hips hurt, I have some shoulder issues, my foot has been acting up, etc. My fitness and weight isn't what it should be in order for me to be the best rider that I can be.

                    So I'm going tomorrow to try Crossfit. I like that its short, sweet, and effective. Not a ton of cardio, just high intensity exercises. It might be good for you because you aren't doing a lot of pounding on your joints, or hours upon hours of cardio. My friend who does it sometimes only works out for 20 minutes a session, yet has dramatically increased her cardiovascular ability, lean muscle mass, and has lost around 100 lbs. Plus, she tells me she feels like an athlete again and I definitely miss those days!

                    For lighter stretching/strengthening, I would also highly recommend Pilates. I did it for about 4 months and noticed a marked increase in my flexibility and range of motion, as well as being able to stay looser on the horse. If you do this though, make sure you start out at a reputable studio, with an instructor who is actually there putting their hands on you so you learn proper form. I wouldn't start out at a mat class at the Y or anything like that.


                    • #11
                      Breaking 6 ribs did it for me....now my sides hurt way more than my hip...
                      Go, Baby, Go......
                      Aefvue Farms Footing Inspector


                      • #12
                        What A timely post!!!

                        I made a big mistake today and rode in the dressage arena. With the big mirrors....I usually stick to the grass field (closed) or the hunter ring (being fixed with fill)....where, blissfully there are no mirrors. So, I see in the mirror a "dumpy" looking rider. although I "think" I am sitting tall...the mirror tells another story. So I drove home from the barn today thinking about how I can counter act the ravages of age. I am going to work on Yoga....which I have done before. I need to be stronger in my core so that I can sit up straight. I also have sore bone on bone knees, and think an eliptical trainer will be better than a treadmill. I appreciate who ever said, "It's hard, but so worth it." I can not imagine life without riding!!!
                        "Over the Hill?? What Hill, Where?? I don't remember any hill!!!" Favorite Tee Shirt


                        • #13
                          Great thread. My knee is bad, and my lower back is usually in pain, and my ankle started up this year, I'm just stiff all over. And I so need to lose weight. I will say, my horse has been one of the best exercise machines. Riding has actually strengthened my knees. I am 57, and took 30 yrs off riding, came back at 50, and have taken a number of falls in that time, but I learned to fall as a kid, and amazingly its stuck with me all these years later (I should give lessons) So, knock on wood, no serious fall related injuries yet.

                          I don't think I ever thought about fitness when I was younger because I was always very active. But when my knee went, I really ballooned up in weight. I've lost some, but not enough. Carrying extra weight, I find, really affects my balance. Core strengthening is needed!

                          The other thing is my upper body is stiff and tense. My back is stiff, and I have a lot of lower back pain. Oddly, I tripped and fell in my house, and landed on my right hip on the tile floor, about a week and a half ago. I've been having constant sciatic pain on that side, and feeling like the muscles are seizing. The fall made that worse. I take Aleve, and put some Equi-block on it and it works well to keep it from being too painful. I went out to ride the day before my lesson to see if it was going to be unbearable, and to my surpise, my back felt better. I took a shorter lesson the next day, but it really did feel better. Fast forward to last Saturday, horse spooked and I tumbled, and landed on my back again. I think I'm trying to break my back !!

                          I got up and dusted myself off and went on riding. I do use backbraces while riding, and find they help.

                          My 2 goals for this year are to lose 20 lbs and strengthen my core and back. I'm very interested in all the responses here because I want to start a program to help myself.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Claudius View Post
                            I made a big mistake today and rode in the dressage arena. With the big mirrors....I usually stick to the grass field (closed) or the hunter ring (being fixed with fill)....where, blissfully there are no mirrors. So, I see in the mirror a "dumpy" looking rider. although I "think" I am sitting tall...the mirror tells another story. So I drove home from the barn today thinking about how I can counter act the ravages of age. I am going to work on Yoga....which I have done before. I need to be stronger in my core so that I can sit up straight. I also have sore bone on bone knees, and think an eliptical trainer will be better than a treadmill. I appreciate who ever said, "It's hard, but so worth it." I can not imagine life without riding!!!

                            I so agree, its what is keeping me from getting older faster! I have also had a similar experience of seeing myself on video. I wanted to cry!


                            • #15
                              I'm pretty young, but my joints aren't! Ask your doctor for some advice-they should be able to give you a couple of options and talk about what will work and what won't for your specific problems.

                              In general, running can be hard on the joints. Try an elliptical, stationary bike, or swimming to get the same kind of cardio work. Swimming in particular can kick your butt while keeping it easy on the joints (water provides more resistance, but also more support). Light weight lifting is good, and yoga or pilates can be good to work on strength, flexibility and balance. I tend to have issues with my lower back, and my power yoga class really kept it in check.
                              "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~John Wooden

                              Phoenix Animal Rescue


                              • #16
                                I was at a horse show this past weekend cheering on one of my barn mates - was watching a long stirrup class and lo and behold spied an older woman who was doing a marvelous job. Her daughter was next to me - turns out her mom is 69 and just recently had a hip replacement . . . this show was her tune up for more later this summer. (She was also riding a nice OTTB!) Don't know what her daily workout routine was like, but sure wish I had thought to ask. She was in wonderful shape - what an inspiration!

                                "I am still under the impression that there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse." -- John Galsworthy


                                • #17
                                  Great post!

                                  This is so true. I got bucked off last week and in my mid 40s everything still hurts. If I was 12, I would be fine. I am glad to hear that I am not alone in this rider aging!!!
                                  Normal is the setting on a dryer!


                                  • #18
                                    As a 60 year old who is still learning and trying to get into better riding fitness, this is what I have done over the last year -
                                    I stopped eating so much and focused on more home cooked food, and lost 10 pounds.
                                    I began riding more consistently, 4-5 days a week. And really doing something, not just putzing around.
                                    I started taking lessons again once a week. Amazing how unbalanced I was (and still am).
                                    Reread Sally Swift. Reminded myself of where my seatbones really are, how my shoulders should be, and where my belly button should be. Of course my lovely coach reminds me of that also.
                                    Am progressing in relearning how to use leg/calf rather than resorting to heel/spur.

                                    All this is toning up my middle, giving me better posture and balance, and making me stronger. Just hope I survive!
                                    Never argue with a fool. Noone can tell who is who.


                                    • #19
                                      Great thread. Post 40, my new program is (1) avoid getting dumped so often, (2) hot yoga, pilates or Nia in the winter, and (3) more time actively riding.
                                      At all times, we are either training or untraining.
                                      Flying Haflinger blog: http://flyinghaflinger.blogspot.com/ Flying Irish Draught blog: http://flyingirishredhead.blogspot.com/


                                      • #20
                                        I do pilates once a week and ride 4-5 times a week, do lots of two point at the walk and trot. You fall off, you fall off. Its a given at one time or another