hate don’t enjoy running.
I am much more of a sprinter than a marathon runner.
I don’t particularly enjoy going to the gym either. However, I will play 2 hours worth of badminton without a second thought. I think this is due to my competitiveness, you don’t really win when you go out for a jog – well not in my eyes anyway because you are competing against yourself and its not particularly social. Ok you could run in a group but I like having my own pace.
We spend so much time thinking about getting our horses fit or keeping them fit but tend to forget about rider fitness. We see our horses as athletes but forget that rider also is required to be reasonably fit as well. Think of the core strength and the flexibility need while we ride.
I am definitely not as fit as I was when I was at school because at school I was riding 3 to 4 times a week and then playing badminton at least 3 times a week a long side – more if there was a competition – this descended into nights out and lazy days in pyjamas while at university – ha! I say “at university“, I sit here 2 years out of university in my PJ’s writing this!
So while I am on the path of getting my mare fit I am now wanting to get myself fit as well.
How am I going to do this?
There is a badminton club once a week that I go to and play for a few hours and I occasionally play with a few friends but this is very inconsistent and tends to stop over winter. If there was a good pool near me I would swim as I feel like the great feeling people get while running I get while swimming.
In order to start off getting fit I have decided to start running !! At least until I find another badminton club or a decent pool.
I went out for my first run on Sunday morning and just about died. No. Im joking but I found it very difficult! I ran 2.7km in just under 20 minutes. So by no means was this a long run.
Ok yes, I didn’t run all of it I’ll admit there was breaks for walking… mostly when it came to hills. However I am reasonably pleased with this as I haven’t done any running in years – not taking into account the run I had to do after my mare and I had a parting of ways.
I plan on going out a few times a week by no means every day I’m not insane!
I will keep to the route that I ran on Sunday as it is a nice loop and there is a bit of a hill at one point but after that
its reasonably easy going it doesn’t get worse. I will probably go before I go to work which means I will have to get up a 5.45am to fit it in before work….thats quite early actually… I might rethink this….
Anyway, rider fitness I feel often gets neglected as it does get hard to juggle a full time job and attend to the horse every day and work out or play another sport. If you work on a yard and are mucking out, filling hay nets, carrying water buckets and riding however many horses you probably don’t need to do much extra training keep you fit. However if you are not working on a yard, perhaps like me you sit in an office, and you have the one horse that you obviously aren’t going to give a full work out every single day, personally I think you probably need to do a little extra to keep you fit and if you are determined to do something you will find the time for it.
Take a look at the top riders they will keep fit by going to the gym as well, for example, Charlotte Dujardin who speaks here about riding 8/9 horses per day and also goes to the gym 3 times a week to build her core strength.
At the end of the day how do we expect our horses to be fit but not be fit enough ourselves to ride them at that fitness ? We need core strength to sit those sitting trots in dressage, stamina to stay light in the saddle on a cross country course and we need strength through our legs to keep control of our lower leg. Riding by itself -in my opinion – is not going to get us fit.
What are your thoughts on this ?
What ways outside of horse riding do you use to keep fit ?