Staying fit as a rider in 2022
Whether it is a goal to get in shape, lose weight, or be more active, 91% of American New Year’s resolutions include some kind of fitness goal. The sad fact is that by February they’ve already given up.
The best way to keep a goal is to make it a lifestyle and part of your every day or weekly routine. The key is to not make unrealistic goals for yourself. You know your habits and tendencies, so take that into consideration when making a plan for your fitness goals. What is going to work with your schedule and keep you motivated?
Knowing those things will keep you on track, but keep in mind you may still have to tweak your schedule throughout the year depending on what changes happen in your life. Also, the change of seasons can affect where and how we workout so being flexible with what you do is also important.
Here is a list of things you can incorporate into a weekly routine with your horses and out in the barn.
Equestrian Fitness Idea #1 – Walking
Walking is one way I love to stay fit as an equestrian because it’s enjoyable. I can do alone this or with my horse. Yes, you can take your horse for walks! In fact, I think it is a great way to spend time with your horse. It’s a good way to get some training time on the ground too. You can roughly burn 100 calories per mile you walk. This is just an estimate because terrain and pace can play a role in calories burned.
Equestrian Fitness Idea #2 -Carrying Feed Bags
This is something we do albeit not daily usually, but we could take it further and do some laps around the barn with a feed bag on our shoulders. I think it’s a pretty easy way to get some strength training in. Maybe some people will think you look a little crazy, though.
Equestrian fitness Idea #3 – Shoveling Manure
This task is not one of the funnest. I’ll be the first to admit that, but it’s a job that’s got to be done and it really works your upper body. So, grab the wheel barrow and your rake and get to scooping manure. Depending on your setup, this could be a daily or weekly job.
Equestrian Fitness Idea #4 – Workouts
I suggest finding a workout you can do at home in less than 20 minutes and ideally you can fit into your day. There are a lot of options on YouTube and, in fact, I found a channel that is directly related to equestrians. Horse Learner Fitness Channel on YouTube has great workouts that are all 20 minutes or less. She usually uploads a new video twice a week. If you wanted to workout more than that, she has a lot of videos to choose from.
Equestrian Fitness idea #5 – Stretching
Stretching your muscles is easy and is not strenuous, so it’s a simple thing we can fit into our routine. Take a few minutes before you get in the saddle to limber up and your body will appreciate you later. In fact, spend a few minutes after your ride as well stretching you and your horse. It helps reduce sore muscles and injury.
Equestrian Fitness Idea #7 – Riding Bareback
This actually is a great workout for your inner thighs and your core. Not only that, but riding bareback can help your balance. You may not feel it while riding, but the next day your legs will probably be sore. Just remember to be safe and ride in an area you are comfortable with.
Equestrian Fitness Idea #7 – Grooming
Grooming is already something we do with our horses, but it can actually be great for toning your upper body. Use this time to not only bond with your horse, but burn some extra calories. When grooming, I often get the curry comb out and, with circular motions, get the dirt worked up to the surface. It won’t take long before you feel a burn in your arms!
Tips for Success
Set realistic, measurable goals
If you have a broad goal of getting in shape, then that goal is more likely to diminish over time because it is not measurable. For example, if you set a goal of being able to run one mile, then you can take small steps to reach that goal. You will start small and work your way up. That is a measurable goal.
Write your goals down
You are 42% more likely to reach your goal if you write them down. I suggest writing your goals down in a yearly planner and looking at them throughout the year and setting smaller goals from that each month.
Have an accountability partner
If you have a friend that can help you stay accountable, then it will make it that much easier to stay motivated, not only that, but it will make the process more enjoyable. Maybe a riding buddy that will go on walks with you. Get together and discuss what goals you both might have and how you can help each other. Maybe it’s a text or call to each other each week to give encouragement and help each other stay on track.
Celebrate Small Successes
If you can’t celebrate your minor victories, then you won’t enjoy the journey. Because life is more about the middle than the end. It’s enjoying life in the moments of each day that makes the difference. If you dread your workouts, then you will be less likely to succeed. Just like when we praise our horses for doing well, we should do the same for us. It may look different for each person. Maybe you treat yourself to something new or a day doing something you really love.
I hope you found this list inspiring. If you have more ideas on how to stay fit with your horse, please leave me a comment below.
As always thanks for being here. Good luck with your fitness goals this year!
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