Disclosure: None of this replaces the advice of a Doctor. Please consult your physician if you have questions about riding horses after having a baby. This is simply to share the experiences of others.
So, if you’ve just had a baby, the big question in your mind may be when can I begin riding horses again? Or more importantly, when should I and how is it going to be different? Most Dr.’s at your last visit, around 6-8 weeks will clear you for light activity.
The postpartum time is the time from the birth of your baby to at least 12 weeks. Your body has gone through major changes and is trying to adjust back to normal. But I would say for up to a year, your body is still adjusting and replenishing what it’s lost.
But physically most women are able to begin exercising and moving, and lifting around 6-8 weeks. It all depends on your circumstances and what happened with your birth. While I think it’s important not to rush this and take the time you need for yourself and your baby, I am familiar with the urge to get back in the saddle.
In this article you will hear from three different women trainers all of different ages with different birth experiences. And how they managed riding horses after having a baby. Plus some commonly asked questions.
First Meet the Women
38 years old and gave birth via c-section to a daughter. C-section went well and recovery time was 8 weeks.
23 years old and I delivered vaginally, but it wasn’t easy. I had a retained placenta, which caused postpartum hemorrhage, and I nearly bled out. I also had an episiotomy that took some time to heal.
27 years old. My labor was under eight hours start to finish. My water broke on its own at 11:45 p.m. on a Sunday night and our son was born at our home at 7:30 a.m. the following Monday morning. Yes. We planned to have him at home! 🙂
Thankfully, I had no tearing. However, I was given the advice to not sit cross-legged for at least two weeks due to the nature of my job. I heeded that advice and also chose to follow a template of healing and rest postpartum called “The First 40 Days.” I really felt “like myself” physically after about 14-18 days.
When did you first ride again after baby?
Rachel: It was 8 weeks postpartum because my incision site was still very sore. I felt strong enough at 8 weeks to climb into the saddle. I didn’t have any pain while riding and I knew I was ready. I rode at a walk and trot for 30 minutes for my first ride. I went on my first trail ride exactly 2 months after. It went well, and I wasn’t sore during.
Camille: I sat on a horse about a week after delivery but didn’t really ride for another week or two.
Sarah: Five weeks postpartum. I honestly was excited to start back sooner, but I had the option to rest a full month before riding again, so I decided that would be better for me in the long run. Just because I felt well, I didn’t want to set my healing back.
Did you feel differently at all riding after having a baby?
Rachel: I didn’t feel different at all this time around because I rode some while pregnant, so it wasn’t as long as of a break away from riding and working with him. My first pregnancy I had twins and didn’t ride and the strain of having two babies I wasn’t able to get back in the saddle as soon. But shows how different each circumstance is.
Camille: I didn’t feel too different. Mostly I just took it easy, so I didn’t strain myself.
Has your risk tolerance changed since becoming a mother?
Rachel: I would say, yes, because I now have little people who completely depend me. I also have a horse that can be spooky, so I started trail riding with a helmet. I didn’t grow up riding with a helmet, but I also saw my dad get a concussion once getting thrown. Experiences can change your viewpoint on those things.
Camille: Yes, it has. I no longer get on client horses without fully vetting them and I don’t hop on a new colt unless I’m 100% positive it is ready.
Sarah: Not my risk tolerance per say, but definitely my tolerance for funny business has shortened. If a horse is acting out or being pushy, I nip it very quickly. I was a little more tolerant and would give the horse a little more time to calm down prior, but now, we fix the problem fast. I’ve always been a big fan of long lead ropes to keep a healthy boundary between horse and handler, but I’m a huge fan now.
Biggest challenge you faced riding Horses again after having a baby?
Rachel: Without a doubt, it’s a time issue. Babies and kids take lots of time and it’s not always easy to have a babysitter.
Camille: The biggest challenge has been filling in the childcare gaps so that I can continue working while my husband is working as well. It’s been a juggling act that I am still getting the hang of.
Sarah: Finding time. Our horses and my client horses are not on our personal farm. So half the battle is loading everything up (including my son) and getting to my parents farm. I’m grateful we have a safe, close place for our animals, but I feel if we all lived on the same property I could get out there with them more often even with having a little one.
Is your relationship different with your horse at all?
Rachel: Since my baby didn’t survive, my horses are a big part of my healing- emotionally and spiritually. They are a big bright spot in my life and I make time for them and put more of an emphasis on relationship more than ever. It’s also difficult to make time for myself without having mom guilt.
Also, life with kids and babies is different. You fit in time and bring your kids along in the stroller, or I’ll even bring my horse in the front yard with me. It’s great because my horse gets used to my kids and vice versa. It can be a lot of fun.
Camille: It’s a little different – mostly I don’t get as much time to ride my own horses since I’m currently completely booked with client horses.
Sarah: I definitely have a higher standard I hold him (my horse) to now. However, it has been so sweet to watch him interact with my son. We’ve been given some incredibly sweet moments and we are very grateful for the opportunity to watch these two together. I know one day my son is going to steal my horse from me… which makes all of the effort put into my gelding now 100% worth it.
I hope this helps you gauge when and what it’s going to be like to riding horses after having a baby. There are so many variables in birth, but one commonality after recovery time is simply finding time.
Babies obviously take up a lot of time, and being a new mother is a full-time job in and of itself. But you will ride again. Life is full of seasons and nothing stays the same. Embrace your new life with your baby and your horses!
A huge thank you to Camille and Sarah for contributing to this article. If you’d like to learn more about Camille or Sarah, use the links below!
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