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How much of a workout is riding anyway?

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  • How much of a workout is riding anyway?

    I ride dressage...and was just wondering how much of a workout it is in comparison to going to the gym. I always feel like I am getting a GREAT workout riding, but its just so different from "working out" that I find it hard to compare...what do you think?

  • #2
    It all depends on how much you put into it.
    If you are tired and sore, it was probably a pretty good workout!
    april
    Equine Retirement at
    www.StonyRidgeFarm.webs.com

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    • #3
      I put a heart rate monitor on when I was having a riding lesson. My heart rate was in the 'training zone' for most of the lesson. We were doing mostly cantering and jumping.

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      • #4
        If schooling well and using all your muscles and riding properly...riding can be considered a low to mid level workout. If pleasure riding, a lot less. Similar with mucking stalls...if the person is a slow mucker and taking frequent breaks, it's not much of a work out. Riding at upper to top levels of some disciplines will be more of a workout...mainly because the riders are doing a bit more strenuous muscle controlling/using and also because many riders are then riding more than one horse per day.
        Riding can become a really decent workout *if* the rider is also doing conditioning rides for themselves and their horses daily on top of schooling. Long trot rides outside the ring keep both rider and horse more fit.
        But is the average rider riding 30-45 minutes a few days a week schooling in a ring enough of a workoout to be considered ample exercise? No, not usually. Otherwise they wouldn't become sore or tired after doing so after a couple weeks. Sore and tired is more of a sign of "needs more exercise" rather then "getting enough exercise."
        You jump in the saddle,
        Hold onto the bridle!
        Jump in the line!
        ...Belefonte

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        • #5
          Originally posted by MistyBlue View Post
          If schooling well and using all your muscles and riding properly...riding can be considered a low to mid level workout. If pleasure riding, a lot less. Similar with mucking stalls...if the person is a slow mucker and taking frequent breaks, it's not much of a work out. Riding at upper to top levels of some disciplines will be more of a workout...mainly because the riders are doing a bit more strenuous muscle controlling/using and also because many riders are then riding more than one horse per day.
          Riding can become a really decent workout *if* the rider is also doing conditioning rides for themselves and their horses daily on top of schooling. Long trot rides outside the ring keep both rider and horse more fit.
          But is the average rider riding 30-45 minutes a few days a week schooling in a ring enough of a workoout to be considered ample exercise? No, not usually. Otherwise they wouldn't become sore or tired after doing so after a couple weeks. Sore and tired is more of a sign of "needs more exercise" rather then "getting enough exercise."
          Rider experience level has a lot to do with it too.

          A very green rider is probably getting as much of a workout just w/t/c on the flat as a pro gets from an intensive flat/jumping session on a hard ride simply b/c the greenie doesn't have much riding muscle conditioning.

          At best riding is a mid level excercise I would say interspersed with short intensive bursts like riding a high a/o jumper class over 2 minutes.

          ETA: I found this site, I don't buy into many of the values however:
          http://www.ultimatehorsesite.com/inf...iesburned.html

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          • #6
            The American Heart Association use to rate it as an aerobic exercise. I looked for the chart on line but have not found it yet - I will keep looking.
            "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              I just think its kind of interesting bc I workout weekly on top of riding, but when I ride, I do get tired and by the time I dismount, I feel like I just got off a treadmill...I kind of like the feeling

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              • #8
                It depends, but I've worn a heart rate moniter a few times. I can say that it blew several "estimates" I saw at exercise websites out of the water, and those weren't even difficult rides. I don't remember the total calories burned in thirty minutes- I do remember my heart rate peaked at around 190, at the canter on a green horse.

                Then again, I rode two today- one for at least an hour, some in the ring, some trails, and some jumping. The other one I rode for maybe twenty minutes, but I probably burned twice as many calories just because he was feeling a wee bit sluggish today.

                I should break out the moniter again, just to see
                "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

                My CANTER blog.

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                • #9
                  Right now I can run about 3 miles at a time. Yet nothing can get me out of breath faster than cantering around on a horse, it continues to astound me how quickly I become winded! After a good flat/dressage lesson, where I'm really working for every stride, I will finish completely exhausted and drenched in sweat. In the middle of Winter. In New Hampshire (and I don't wear a coat for riding, only a turtleneck, light fleece half-zip and the same weight breeches I wear in the Summer).

                  I still feel like I need to do other workouts for fitness (ideally, running and/or spinning, strength training and pilates and/or yoga), but I am surprised at how I do feel like I get a pretty good workout from riding. I feel less-so after jumping lessons because, even though the jumping rounds get my heart pumping, too much time is spent sitting around waiting for my turn. Dressage though (especially lately) is all pure workout for me.
                  -Debbie / NH

                  My Blog: http://deborahsulli.blogspot.com/

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by cranky View Post
                    Right now I can run about 3 miles at a time. Yet nothing can get me out of breath faster than cantering around on a horse, it continues to astound me how quickly I become winded! After a good flat/dressage lesson, where I'm really working for every stride, I will finish completely exhausted and drenched in sweat. In the middle of Winter. In New Hampshire (and I don't wear a coat for riding, only a turtleneck, light fleece half-zip and the same weight breeches I wear in the Summer).

                    I still feel like I need to do other workouts for fitness (ideally, running and/or spinning, strength training and pilates and/or yoga), but I am surprised at how I do feel like I get a pretty good workout from riding. I feel less-so after jumping lessons because, even though the jumping rounds get my heart pumping, too much time is spent sitting around waiting for my turn. Dressage though (especially lately) is all pure workout for me.
                    I have to agree w/ cranky...As a runner, I'm always amazed that a good ride can seem just as strenuous as a five mile run. And the best part is its much more fun!!

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                    • #11
                      Definitely much more fun!
                      -Debbie / NH

                      My Blog: http://deborahsulli.blogspot.com/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I combine running and riding to keep my muscles tuned and help me build stamina. I feel like I get more of a workout riding than I do running. I think riding focuses more intently on leg and core muscles than running does, because you hold your muscles longer than say running, where you relax after you push off the ground. JMHO. I'd choose riding over running, that's for sure.
                        www.justworldinternational.org

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                        • #13
                          I think it's more along the lines of yoga - lots of work on isometric and core strength, flexibility, and coordination/proprioception, rather than an aerobic workout, usually. I also do vaulting (gymnastics on horseback), which is a superb workout, and still involves horses. The only time I've gotten out of breath, had my heartrate skyrocket or got really sore from regular riding is if it is very hot, I'm doing XC, a *LOT* of 2-point, or the horse does something that scares me. When I first got back into riding, I wasn't as fit in the areas I needed, so I had more trouble.
                          Stay me with coffee, comfort me with chocolate, for I am sick of love.

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                          • #14
                            How much of a workout is riding anyway?
                            Depends on how lazy your horse is! *giggles senselessly*

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by in_the_zone View Post
                              Depends on how lazy your horse is! *giggles senselessly*
                              Or how crazy

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Go to mypyramid.gov

                                Scroll down to bottom and click on "check it out" unless you want or have your own account.

                                Fill out a profile and click on "proceed to physical activity."

                                Click on "standard option."

                                Scroll for "sports" and click on "search." Scroll down to horseback riding. While they don't define dressage or jumping, they do offer walking, trotting, grooming and such.

                                You can establish your FPA (frequently performed activities) to make subsequent input faster.

                                Next select your duration for each activity, then analyze. There's an analysis of the activity and also it will graph history.

                                Some of the things you can find in there are kind of funny, like reading, lying vs. sitting quietly while watching tv, standing in a line, having nails done by someone else, taking medication, and even sitting on toilet. You can find vacuuming, carrying groceries, carrying small children, ironing, and cooking indian bread on an outside stove.

                                There's also a link to track your food intake that's really good. If you want to plan ahead you can use MyMenuPlanner. There's all sorts of details available to you and it's all free.

                                I also recommend trying the Rocket Blastoff game...see if you can get to Planet Power or implode on the launch pad. My students love this and actually learn a lot about what they need to eat in a day, but I digress.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I wore a step counter the other day (took it off for the riding part, but had it on for everything else). I averaged between 10,000 and 12,000 steps over a three day period, which is pretty good. On days when I don't have to feed the whole barn (we're a co-op arrangement) it's a lot less, but then on those days I ride more than one horse.

                                  I surf also, and riding is harder than surfing for me. I need to incorporate more outside working out though (I do do yoga still) but I'm feeling reasonably fit.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I am sure that mucking stalls, pushing wheel barrows, picking & throwing hay, dumping water buckets, sweeping isles and other barn chores also add up in time.

                                    Add that to riding your horse and you probably have a well rounded exercise program.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      There was a story in the local paper a while back talking about riding as a fitness activity. It gave a range of calorie consumption of from 200-600 calories per hour, which is in the same range as swimming.
                                      "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                                      Thread killer Extraordinaire

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by TrakGeorge View Post
                                        I am sure that mucking stalls, pushing wheel barrows, picking & throwing hay, dumping water buckets, sweeping isles and other barn chores also add up in time.

                                        Add that to riding your horse and you probably have a well rounded exercise program.
                                        We should petition mypyramid.gov to add that to their lists.

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