The horses don’t do all the work
South Waikato District co-ordinator Welcome back column readers. Let’s get down to business; we are now into week two of six weeks and will be writing about horse riding. For those that don’t ride horses, you’re thinking how can you get fit riding a horse? Doesn’t the horse do all the work?
Every sport uses different muscle groups and stretches new areas of your body, which means that you will concentrate on different exercises in order to get in shape.
This is no different with horseback riding.
Although people say the horse does all the work, anyone who rides knows that to be a good rider, you need to be an athlete. Horse riding typically uses the following muscle groups: shoulders, triceps and biceps, abdominal muscles, back, inner and outer thighs, back of the calf.
While riding is a great exercise in itself, it also helps to supplement that exercise.
You’ll feel better, and you will make your horse’s job easier.
Why is a fit rider better for a horse? Compare holding a small child who’s asleep to when it is awake and sitting up in your arms. Chances are the child asleep will feel like a sack of potatoes, and while awake will feel like it weighs less because it is holding itself up. A rider who is fit and toned will feel lighter on the horse’s back compared to a rider of the same weight who is more sloppy in the saddle.
Poor posture, muscle imbalances, and general lack of fitness can make riding less enjoyable, and may lead to less time in the saddle. Not being able to use certain muscles properly will make signalling and controlling your horse more difficult. You can also affect your horse’s way of going and the soundness of his back by being unfit and unbalanced.
If you only get out to ride occasionally or do major paddock cleaning on weekends, staying fit can help you avoid the weekend warrior syndrome aches and pains from using muscles not accustomed to the job you suddenly ask them to do.
Remember to start slow when beginning any exercise, including riding. To get you started the Putaruru Pony Club will be hosting a pony club event on November 30 at Kells Lane, Lichfield, Putaruru. Contact Dee on 027 589 9498 or Hilary 021 132 5560.