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Riding while pregnant - thoughts?

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  • Riding while pregnant - thoughts?

    Heyo Everyone!

    I just found out I'm pregnant! It's crazy and scary and awesome, except that I also just got a new horse, met an incredible new trail riding buddy and was asked to join a women's trail riding group. So - now I'm wondering, can I ride while pregnant? Obviously I wouldn't do anything too crazy, but I'd like to keep easy trail riding. I've read some sources that say it's OK if you're body is used to it and others that say absolutely not. What are your thoughts? I also hate the idea of not being able to trot or lope around, but I'll take it if I can at least ride at a walk.

    I should add that if not riding is absolutely the right choice for the baby, that is what I'll do. I'd just hate to give it up for that long if it's not necessary. I've been riding consistently for 20+ years and 4-5 days a week for the last 4 months so my body is definitely used to it.

    Love your input!
    Last edited by Horsecare101; May. 3, 2019, 04:35 PM.

  • #2

    You're going to get the full gamut of answers from "I rode up until the moment I went into labor" to "I stopped riding the minute I found out I was pregnant."

    For me, once my belly reached a certain size, riding just felt unbalanced, awkward, and weird and I stopped doing it. My doctor refrained from giving me any direct orders about riding, just said, "Riding is fine physically for you, but once you reach a certain point, you need to consider the potential consequences for the baby if you fall off."
    "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
    that's even remotely true."

    Homer Simpson


    • #3
      I rode up until the day before I delivered my first child with no problems and we rode out on familiar trails. Of course my horse was 15 and I owned him since he was weaned and knew him inside and out. I rode less with each child following, not because it was unsafe but because life and gravity ( baby was low) happened.

      With this being a " new to you" horse I would be reluctant to ride under dangerous circumstances like trail riding where you have so many uncontrolled things that can happen. Riding in an arena would be just fine as long as you feel comfortable.

      At least that is how I would handle it.


      • #4
        I would say it depends on how easy the pregnancy is and it most likely will vary from person to person. I’m my personal experience, I rode until I was 8 months pregnant during my second pregnancy and probably could have gone longer but it didn’t seem worth the risk. I was riding a saint of a horse who was no drama and I had no issues. I stayed in much better shape than the first and labor and delivery went much smoother. I think riding may have helped with that but it’s strictly anecdotal. I would recommend talking to your doc or midwife and getting their thoughts. On a side note my daughter who is now 7 experienced her first pony ride around 2 and I could not get her off, she had a complete meltdown every time I tried to pry her off the saddle! She still loves riding and she has an amazing seat


        • #5
          My doctor's advice was that if it was something you've always done, keep doing it. He would advise against taking up riding for the first time while pregnant. He said the baby is well protected with your bones and amniotic fluid. He said I could keep going until I felt "unbalanced or uncomfortable". That's exactly what I did. I never felt unbalanced, but at the end of my 7th month, I became uncomfortable. Never actually uncomfortable while riding, but when I got off, I felt like my hip bones were disconnected from my pelvis. Also, that's about when my belly started hitting the pommel, which weirded me out a little. I continued to do everything including jumping for the first several months, then eventually cut out the jumping. I don't remember exactly when that was.


          • #6
            I’m 30 weeks and still riding. Not as often and not when my baby horse looks spicy.

            But I’ve ridden all my life. I’m still mucking out, filling waters etc.

            My doctor was more concerned about what I do for work vrs riding the horses.


            • #7
              Both pregnancies I rode until the day before delivery.

              My first son, in utero, would do weird calisthenics and tumbling routines when I laid down to go to sleep UNLESS I did a minute or two of sitting trot everyday. If I sat the trot I got to sleep that night. My horse did have a pretty smooth sitting trot because he was relaxed about it.


              • #8
                I agree it's a very person by person thing. I rode until I was almost 3 months. I had my personal riding horse at a self care riding barn, and two racehorses at a training farm. I galloped (my own--not for others) race horses until about 2 and a half months, but I had such severe morning sickness with lots of actual vomiting despite lots of medications that it just wasn't worth it. I will say that BOTH of my race horses would hear me start gagging, and they would pull themselves up so I could throw up, then we'd continue on our way. While I loved them for it, I figured I was miserable, and they didn't need to learn to pull themselves up. LOL I rode my riding horse a little bit longer, but the nausea made it hard to drive a car, much less ride. My sister had no issues riding her riding horse until she was 8 months. A friend of mine galloped race horses until she was about 6 months along.


                • #9
                  Congratulations! My mother rode back in 1962 until she was six months pregnant. That's all I've got but just want to say yea for you!


                  • #10
                    I rode until 6 months with my first and third. I had taken a break before getting pregnant with my second for financial reasons so no riding during that one. I stopped because I got so big with my first and it became uncomfortable. I stopped with the second because we moved and I didn't have enough energy to paint the new house, ride a horse and watch 2 young children. My doctor was completely comfortable and on board with me doing so and I was riding safe horses, as much as there are safe horses.

                    You have to figure out what you are comfortable with.

                    And CONGRATULATIONS!!!


                    • #11
                      I rode until about six months with my first, but didn’t do any jumping and was riding a horse I really trusted. I stopped because it was getting uncomfortable and we were heading into a MN winter, which made things even more uncomfortable. With my second, we’d had a hard time getting pregnant, and a threatened miscarriage early on, and the horses I had access to were nice enough, but I just didn’t feel the same since of security I”d had with Brownie, so I stopped pretty much immediately.


                      • #12
                        Congratulations!! This is an exciting time for you. I'm currently pregnant and haven't gotten on my horse since i found out. It is a personal decision so you have to decide how you feel. My obstitrician told me to stay off my horse for fear of miscarriage if I fell off. I am enjoying ground work with my boy and have leased him to a friend to ride.


                        • #13
                          Riding is fine. Falling off is risky.

                          i rode some during all my pregnancies but kept to my safe, reliable horse. I got on the other one a week after giving birth once, and he promptly bucked me off. My OB wasn’t pleased with that either....still I was lucky and didn’t have any excess bleeding.

                          If I had another which I won’t, I would ride some of my horses but not others. It really depends on the horse. I have one I would happily ride and jump as long as I felt OK.

                          it is good to stay active. I was carrying hay bales in labor and fed the day we got home from the hospital. It was an amazingly refreshing hour of peace while my mom held the baby. Do what you feel up to, within safe parameters.


                          • #14
                            I rode until the end of six months, when my belly occasionally bumped the pommel (which I agree is an excessively weird feeling) and I could not reach the billets on my dressage saddle any more.

                            I did morning barn chores five days a week and worked another 3/4 time retail job until about three weeks before delivery. By that point I was hot, always sweaty (August/early September in Virginia), waddling and just absolutely over it all. You couldn’t pay me to have another one (unless it was enough to cover ALL our expenses until the youngest was out of college).
                            Last edited by WNT; May. 6, 2019, 03:50 PM.
                            Leap, and the net will appear


                            • #15
                              It is such a personal choice. I stopped riding at 6 months pregnant. It was not an issue of my belly touching the pomel but my mare has huge gaits and it was causing Braxton Hicks contractions. I continued to lunge and long line until 38 weeks. Now she is getting ridden by my trainer as my due date is basically here. My pregnancy has been very low risk, whereas a friend currently has a more complicated pregnancy and stopped riding once she found out she was pregnant.


                              • #16
                                I agree it is personal. I rode till I couldn't mount anymore due to my huge all out front prego belly about the end of November. I gave birth in January and started back riding in march.
                                Just like our eyes, our hearts have a way of adjusting to the dark.--Adam Stanley


                                • Original Poster

                                  Thank you all so much! I'm really excited about being a first time Mom and teaching little one all about horses! My husband wants me to talk to my doctor first before I ride so I'm giving them a call tomorrow, but really appreciate all the input. It's great to hear so many women continued to ride. It's strange, all of our horses and especially our mini, are all very attentive to me suddenly. They have been much more gentle. It's like they know. I think the mini is ready for his rider to arrive!!!!


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Horsecare101 View Post
                                    It's strange, all of our horses and especially our mini, are all very attentive to me suddenly. They have been much more gentle. It's like they know.
                                    This has been my experience too.

                                    My little hot-as-they-come mare became very attentive when I was pregnant (I rode throughout both my pregnancies - with my doctor's blessing - even showed combined training up to 4 months).
                                    She'd stand like rock next to the buckets I piled up so I could get on (and especially OFF!!!) easily, she was just more gentle all around. Once, I unknowingly took her into a big snowdrift and she went down...and waited patiently for me to untangle myself and move safely away before she struggled back up.

                                    After I gave birth, she was back to her usual self.

                                    That little mare was a gem.
                                    Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!


                                    • #19
                                      Regarding talking to your doctor....if your doctor likes horses, or rides, or has any experience with horses and riding, he/she will probably say it's ok to do so carefully. If your doctor is scared of horses, or has had any unpleasant experiences, he/she will probably advise you to stay off. You may have to sort through some personal bias to get good medical advice.

                                      My doctor was totally supportive of riding while pregnant.
                                      It's 2019. Do you know where your old horse is?

                             -- website with horse show livestream listings and links.


                                      • #20
                                        This is a timely post for me as I'm also trying to figure out what to do about riding given I just purchased a new young (4 yr old) horse in February.

                                        I'm 10 weeks pregnant and currently don't feel any different aside from fatigue and waves of nausea (luckily not nearly as bad as most of my friends/family though!). Young horse has *so far* shown to be an extremely level headed mare that has not even hinted at offering to spook, buck, rear or engage in silly antics. The worst she's done so far is break to canter when she gets too unbalanced at the trot.

                                        I've only met with the midwife in the practice i'm using so far (OB appointment is next week) but she had no concerns as long as I felt secure and listened to my body.

                                        Most of my horse-y friends have said that it became very clear to them when it was time to stop. For some that was 6 weeks for others it was days before delivery.

                                        My plan at the moment is to continue riding as long as my mare continues to prove to be a solid citizen and I feel physically secure while riding her. Whenever I feel it's time to stop, she'll go to a trainer until November and then will get turned out for Dec - Feb to grow up and relax (she's pretty immature physically still). I'll probably have her go back into light training for March and then I'll pick up riding again in April when hopefully the weather improves!