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.

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