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howrsegirl123 04-27-2012 06:34 PM

Is riding good exercise?
I was just wondering how much exercise you really get from riding. I ride English, do lots of posting, two-point, jumping, etc...for usually 30 min-1 hour at a time. What are some physical benefits of riding? How good is it for you?

SorrelHorse 04-27-2012 06:44 PM

Exercise Calorie Calculator

I discovered through that, with the amount that I ride every week and the amount of work that I do involving the horses, I burn more calories than any of the other high school athletes at my school.

I bring that up whenever they try and tell me that my equestrian team isn't a real sport. I definitely think it is. My legs have more muscle than the baseball team captain....I do no physical activity except that. I know for a fact if I didn't do it, I would be gaining weight like the devil.....

bsms 04-27-2012 07:04 PM injury from riding prevented me from jogging for the last 3 years. My weight increased 10 lbs, my blood pressure is up 20 points, and getting back into running shape at 54 is hard. Riding is not aerobic exercise.

It is good for balance, and it strengthens some leg muscles. It stretches some muscles.

tlkng1 04-27-2012 07:36 PM

Different forms of exercise use different sets of muscles. For example, riders use short muscles and so those will develop which is a disadvantage in say swimming. Swimmers use the lkong muscles. Take a swimmer in great shape and toss them up on a horse for a 1-hour baisc riding lesson, only up to trotting and no cantering, and see how they feel the next morning.

As for not being aerobic, I disagree. Due to being in the military I moved barns a lot and at each transfer I may have gone a year or more before finding a barn. It always took a good month to get back my stamina for riding. I would be out of breath within 20 minutes in a standard 1-hour lesson.

Riding IS exercise..not the moseying about trail riding or meandering at a walk but normal work type riding is aerobic and helps you build muscles and stay in shape.

SorrelHorse 04-27-2012 07:56 PM

If I stop riding for even a week or two and go back to everything like normal, I get bad cramps. This year was bad for that. We got a dressage horse in for training and I rode him the first time, tried to do a sitting trot, I thought my legs were going to fall off. I was off him for a small amount of time while I rode my own horses to find my rythym again, and when I got back on his back I did nothing but sitting trots with no cramps or soreness. Most of the peope at the barn who first start riding will be stiff as all get out the next day....Especially if they do lessons, which take a LOT out of you.

soenjer55 04-27-2012 08:08 PM

It depends on how long/ hard you ride, just like every other work out. Personally, I believe that to be in optimal shape, riding should be paired with running, swimming, or at least one other activity which works different muscles.
bsms, how long/ hard did you run before? If you were an avid runner, that's probably why riding isn't aerobic for you. For me, it's aerobic because I don't do other aerobics.
Whether riding is a work out for you depends on what shape you're in. Although I do think it's an exercise, it's not the best out there if you really want to be in shape. from 1-10, I would give riding around a 5 as a work out, and by this I mean riding for at least an hour for 4 or 5 days a week.
Although my legs are pretty muscular, my brother can run way longer than me because he's a rugby player. My dad is much stronger than me because he does a lot of strength training. If I put them on a horse, they'd die from the exertion because they don't really use the muscles that I do, just like if you asked me to do my dad's work out, or to play a rugby game, I couldn't do it either.

Skyseternalangel 04-27-2012 08:32 PM

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It keeps me toned, though everything ELSE related to horses is exercise. Especially moving hay bales, feeding, watering, hoof picking, grooming (I am such an anti-dirt person and since my horse is white.. he's ALWAYS groomed thoroughly--and loves it.)

But yeah riding is a good workout for me, since I'm still learning and you use different muscles for each gait of riding and as you progress you are more and more involved in delivering those subtle cues.

soenjer55 04-27-2012 08:38 PM

Ah, you reminded me- caring for horses/ working with horses is definitely a work out, lol.

bsms 04-27-2012 08:40 PM


Originally Posted by soenjer55 (Post 1475857)
...bsms, how long/ hard did you run before? If you were an avid runner, that's probably why riding isn't aerobic for you...

I was typically running 4-5 miles/day, 5 days/week at about a 7:30/mile pace. Right now, I can do about 1 mile at an 8:30 pace, and it has taken a couple of months to get to that!

The good news is that riding is like cross-training with jogging. It seems to loosen the parts that tighten from jogging, and vice-versa. If I ever get to where I could combine running & riding, I'll have legs of steel AND a strong heart.

I will also add that my overall balance is much better from riding, and that it uses muscles in my back and stomach that I didn't know existed...

Adam 04-27-2012 08:40 PM

Depends on how often you fall, and how tall your horse is.....

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