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Are horseback riders athletes?

This is a discussion on Are horseback riders athletes? within the Horse Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
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    08-15-2012, 02:27 PM
  #11
Trained
I consider my riding part of my crosstraining regime. Yes I sweat even when it's cold outside when I ride especially at lessons. Reason being I am working the largest muscles in my body, the ones in my legs, the quads. It is not all the exercise I do, it is part of a total fitness program which I think contribes to better, effective riding. Occasionally my instructor will ask me to stay for half of group lesson after mine is done to assist her in showing her other students examples of proper riding posture as she does not ride any longer. Make me feel darn good when she has us drop our irons & post, all the younger (teens) riders are whining after a few minutes and I am still going strong!
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    08-15-2012, 02:31 PM
  #12
Showing
Yes I consider myself an athlete. I ride and train to be competitive and man Ronan is a full body workout. He is big and lazy, so I have to keep him both motivated and held together. When I first got him, I would be breathing hard and needing a break after 15 mins - now I'm a bit better.. Haha!
I also run and keep fit with other athletics, but riding (and caring for said poneh) 5 days a week is a ton of exercise in itself.
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    08-15-2012, 02:45 PM
  #13
Weanling
I think it depend, poker seems to be a sport lol! Some riders are more athletes than others that's for sure but in the sense what we do is physical then yes we are all athletes.

Competitive riders will be more athletic than others just because to be competitive you have to been in good physical shape to show all day on multipul horses. Myself I go to the gym MINIMUM 12 hours a week so I can be in shape for riding. Riding is good exercise but most people need more. My saying goes " you expect your horse to be in top physical condition then you should be the same"

So it all depends on what your view is. Top riders go to the gym , ride several horses a day and they are athletes. People who hop on for a walk around the ring or hack out I wouldn't be able to say they're athletes when you compare it to a competitive rider. But they're more athletic than someone sitting on a couch all day.

I know some people ride just fine who are bigger but the extremely overweight riders who compete should re-evaluate their exercise plan.
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    08-15-2012, 02:48 PM
  #14
Trained
There is a difference between getting a good workout and being an athlete.

I recently had 50 railroad ties delivered. As time, weather and my strength allow, I am using a pick & shovel to dig shallow ditches that I place the railroad ties in, forming barriers to water run-off during the monsoons. The railroad ties weigh around 100 lbs and are awkward for one person to drag. The ground here is so hard that it takes me an average of an hour to put one railroad tie into the ground and level it. The most I've managed in one day was 4, and that left me in pain the entire night. If anyone thinks breaking up rocky Arizona 'soil' with a pick is easy, or dragging a railroad tie across the ground is easy...please pay me a visit and pitch in!

But is it a sport? Nope. Is it an athletic activity? Nope.

My last trail ride was Sunday. I made the mistake of being talked into trying a trail we hadn't scouted out before. It proved far rougher than anything we had tried before. I had to lead my mare in many places because I didn't trust her to stay on her feet with me on her back. My wife led my Appy gelding, and she slipped and fell while leading him. She then slid under his feet, and he won lots of bonus points for standing still while straddling a gully as she crawled out from under him. Then gunfire along the trail forced us to go cross country. When we got home 3 hours later, it was 103 degrees.

We were very tired, and VERY thirsty, but that didn't make it a sport.

If we had done that in competition with another team...then it would have been a sport, and we would have been amateur athletes. IMHO.
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    08-15-2012, 02:50 PM
  #15
Yearling
Not all hobbies are sports. Similarly, not all sports are hobbies. Likewise, not all people who participate in hobbies are athletes.

I believe that athletes come in two categories. Amature and Professional. Everyone else is a hobbiest.

A professional athlete is a person is who paid to perform the activity and it is nearly always the sole source of income. Their performance is usually to entertain others.

An amature is a person who competes within a structured organization or by bylaws and guidelines, who may or may not receive some earnings or awards, but it is not the sole income or career for the person. They may be trying to achieve professional ranks. These people dedicate nearly all of their time to their amature ranking and the hopes of a professional ranking.

A hobbiest is a person who performs the activity, without pay, and without the guidelines of an organization. They have time and money contraints in which to enjoy the sport.

Notice I never spoke about accomplishment, skill, or level of training? A hobbiest can be very very very good at the sport, but that doesn't make him or her a professional.

Golf is a good example. If a person plays 18 holes of golf 7 days a week but works in an office environment as an executive, is he an athlete? No, he is a hobbiest who has a strong passion for golf and is in really good body shape (one would assume.)

Another analogy would be photography. Or hockey.

By calling a hobbyiest an "athlete", I think you dilute the definition of an athlete. I ride nearly 7 days a week. That doesn't make me an athlete.

For those of you that are competing in local and regional shows, I would call you an amature.

Those who compete in cross-country, national, and the olympics.... Athletes.

My stepdaughter started gymnastics yesterday. She barely has the upper body strength to do the base bar stretches more than 4 times without having to shake off her arms and wrists. Working next to her was a girl who has been in daily training for 4 years and demonstrates it.

Gymnastics is an athletic sport. However, at this point, calling my stepdaughter an athlete after 1 lesson would be a complete insult to the little girl who won state last year and has dedicated every day of the past 4 years to competition and training.

Will my stepdaughter one day be an athlete? Maybe. Or, she may just enjoy her weekly 60 minute lesson at which point, she will be a hobbiest with patient parents.

Please be honest when giving yourself a title that people dedicate an enormous amount of resources to achieve.
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    08-15-2012, 10:24 PM
  #16
Foal
Depends on what your doing, if your doing something strenuous like jumpers,cross country or barrel racing, that will take a lot of stamina on your part. After a jumper off I'm often breathing just as hard as my horse.
     
    08-15-2012, 10:32 PM
  #17
Foal
Riding is definitely a part of my cross-training regime. I'm always tired, sweaty, hungry, and thirsty afterwards and I'm a bit sore the next day. To me, that says I got a good workout. I also run, do strength training regularly, and try to get to hot yoga once a week (although not in the summer...ew). I'm training for Tough Mudder 2013 and I walk up to 18 dogs a day professionally. So I'm "athletic" but it's more of a rounded sort of deal as opposed to just riding and I do all of it because I enjoy it, not because I'm competing.

Somebody else said it well: I ride to stay in shape, I stay in shape to ride.
     
    08-15-2012, 11:36 PM
  #18
Weanling
Riders come in all types and there are a lot that aren't athletes and this is just a hobby.

I consider myself an athlete, not just because I ride, but because everything else I do is to improve my riding. I run and swim so that I have better cardio/stamina, I do ballet to improve my balance and muscle control, yoga to strengthen my core. I am always aiming to improve even if the only thing I'll get to do at the Olympics is spectate. I ride 5 days a week for at least one hour and I often can feel the burn, and if I don't then that means there are stalls needing to be mucked. ;)
     
    08-16-2012, 12:22 AM
  #19
Foal
I don't know, I don't think it's as obvious as pro versus amateur versus hobbyist. There are high school kids who play sports who would definitely consider themselves athletes. I don't think it's fair to tell them "No you're not, you're a hobbyist." Because they might not get any money out of it, and might not be trying to go pro, but if they're passionate and do it all the time, I consider them an athlete. Someone who goes running everyday and is very running-oriented, yes, I would call them an athlete, even if they don't compete. That's just the way I look at it.
     
    08-16-2012, 04:25 PM
  #20
Foal
I don't compete yet, but I still consider myself an athlete.
     

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