Keeping Fit

Staying in shape is so important for success in the saddle, whether you’re competing on the show circuit, or just riding the trails around the countryside.  For many of us it is a cyclical relationship, riding requires fitness, but is also the activity that keeps us fit.  As we approach the winter months, between the snow and the cold and the limited daylight it can be difficult to keep up a riding regimen that keeps both us, and our beasties in shape.  Getting started now with a good fitness routine is so much easier than trying to play catch-up in February.

Fortunately, Dressage Today offers fitness tips for riders every month.  You can find these tips on the equisearch.com website under Riding & Training > Training > General Training.  I wish they had all the fitness tips grouped together under one heading, but you have to search for them.

I also came across this article a few weeks ago pertaining to horse fitness.  It doesn’t say much other than “keeping your horse fit is important, and the level of activity required varies per horse.”  Helpful, right?  Hopefully you can extract some more meaningful tidbits from it.

What do you do to keep yourself and your horse fit during the winter?

One Response to Keeping Fit

  1. leslie says:

    This will be the first winter in years where I haven’t been at a facility with an indoor, so I’m honestly not sure how I’m going to keep my horse in shape. He’s old, so I don’t mind giving him some downtime, and he is out all day with a buddy so even if he’s not ridden, his joints have to do a little work. Still, it’s really hard to bring him back to any sort of fitness in the spring if I just let him go all winter, so I’ll have to figure something out. My plan is to take him on a lot of long, low-impact trail rides, but since I’m limited to riding either before work or on my lunch break until the days get longer again, I don’t know how well that’s going to work out.

    In other words, I’m open to suggestions.

    As for me, I would love to just hibernate all winter. However, last year I managed to keep up a pretty consistent schedule of running a couple of miles 3-4 days/week, even when it was really stinkin’ cold. I’m hoping I can pull that off again this winter. My goal is to run a 10k before my 30th birthday, and I’ve got a long way to go and less time than I care to think about to make it happen.

    I also take riding lessons at a facility with an indoor, so even if my boarding farm gets iced over and I can’t ride my horse, I’ll still do some riding.

    I tried doing some of the core exercises from that Dressage Today column for a while. They kicked my butt, so I would say they’re either really effective, or I am seriously lacking in core strength (likely) or some combination of both.

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