When I ask horseback riders if they’re working out regularly, I usually get the same response…”there’s not enough time in the day”.
I get it! Any extra time in the day, you want to spend it with your horse. Working out isn’t exactly the most fun thing you could do with extra time, but what if you combined your barn time and workout time together?
There are no excuses as to why you’re not working out. You can workout anywhere and for any amount of time. Everyone lives busy lives but performance depends on physical fitness. You can add in 3-5 exercises a day just doing chores around the barn. Throw in 10 squats or some arm raises. The little extra time it will take you to do this as you are rolling up wraps or cleaning tack will not set you back on time.
You don’t even need equipment, you can exercise with solely body weight. Rider’s usually don’t realize that riding horses can get this tight and immobile. The first thing to do is check your range of motion in your arms, shoulders, legs and core. Doing 5-10 squats will open the hips range of motion, activate the leg muscles and ensure the ankles have proper mobility as well. I’m not sure about you but I want to make sure these areas are mobile before I go to try a half pass zig zag.
Taking the time to get fit will be worthwhile because you get to exercise around animals you love; increasing friendship between you and the animal and among barn mates. They see you working hard and feel the positive energy coming from you. Plus, if you can do a quick warm up before you hop in the saddle, your horse will enjoy his warm up better.
Simple exercises to try around the horses!
- Bicep curls: 12-15 reps
- Squats: 10-15 reps
- Tricep Hammers: 20 reps
- Lateral Raises: 12-15 reps
- Leg Swings: 20 rep each side
- Walking Lunges: 10 reps
Try doing 10-12 leg swings on both sides, holding onto the rail or stall door for balance. Do 16-20 walking lunges; dropping the back knee deep for a good stretch in the quadricep. If you have knee problems, keep the back leg straight with heel down while the front thigh bends slightly. Keeps toes in front of knee at all times.
If you’re worried people will talk, ask them to join and put them on the spot! You can help with their form, double checking mobility, they can check yours. It might take some time to get into the habit of working out while doing barn chores but in the end it is worth it. When you feel results, the benefits will exceed any doubt.