Hand Gallop Blog Hop: Fit to ride

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Thanks to everyone who participated in the last blog hop! I found some new blogs to read (always a plus) and I loved reading about how everyone’s horse got their name! 
This week I have a human-related question for everyone: What do you do to stay fit to ride?

I think we can all agree that riding is an athletic endeavor. It takes a lot of strength and stamina to ride a good dressage test, gallop through a cross-country course, or guide a horse through a fast and clean jumper round.
Sometimes I think we don’t take our fitness as seriously as we take our horses’, but I hope this blog hop can be an opportunity for the equestrian blogging community to share tips, successes, and even struggles! 
Sweaty selfie, you guys. I’m the coolest!
I’ll be the first to admit I am not the fittest rider out there. I generally enjoy exercise, but I sometimes neglect to make time for it. I generally try to eat a balanced diet that makes me feel good but on a late night drive home from the barn, Whataburger just sounds so good and it’s so easy.
As I’ve aged, I’ve realized that my diet and exercise regime is just as important as my horses’. Here’s what I currently do to help myself become fitter and give my horses a better ride:
  • Jogging: I am the world’s worst jogger. I am lucky to run a 12 minute mile and I don’t really enjoy the activity itself. I continuously get side stitches and feel close to death. But every other day, I drag myself onto the streets of my neighborhood and jog for 20-25 minutes. (Very occasionally I’ll jog for 30 minutes. Very occasionally.) 
  • Strength training: As soon as I get in from jogging, I come inside and do some form of basic strength training. A typical routine for me is 3 sets of: 10 pushups, 20 crunches, 15 squats, 60 second plank, 90 second wall sit. 
  • Diet: Way back in March, Johnny and I did a Whole 30. I lost 8 pounds (with zero exercise) and felt awesome. Since then, I’ve been eating whatever; it’s easier and less expensive to plan meals that include pasta and grains. Plus, I sometimes enjoy drinking alcohol. Even though it probably sounds like I eat at Whataburger every night, I usually cook dinner during the week. Our dinners usually consist of a protein-rich entree (ranging from pork chops to tofu) and a large vegetable side dish (usually steamed broccoli) plus a salad. I love cooking, so this is not a big deal for me. However, Johnny and I have gotten kind of lax about our eating (let’s not talk about how much wine I’ve had lately), so we’re embarking on another Whole 30 next week.
I’m far from a svelte equitation rider- for someone who is 5’9, I’m awfully stumpy and stout. But I try not to stress about it too much; negative self-talk is useless. Every time I think “Ugh, Stephanie, those white breeches aren’t doing you any favors,” I firmly squash that thought and tell myself “I’m glad my legs are strong enough for me to hold a galloping position for a long time!” It sounds really silly, but it’s helped me feel grateful for what I can do instead of feeling disappointed that I don’t look like Charlotte Dujardin. 
So there you have it, fellow equestrians! That’s my fitness regime- a steady diet of slow jogs and squats, coupled with a mostly-good diet. I’m really looking forward to hearing about what you do to stay fit for your riding endeavors!

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Author: Stephanie

Equestrian, amateur cook, people person.

5 thoughts on “Hand Gallop Blog Hop: Fit to ride”

  1. i've been thinking of buying a thigh master (yes, you read that correctly!). the riding instructor i had in college SWORE by them as the best exercise you could do to strengthen your inner thigh and core. i'm thinking i have plenty of time at my desk…might as well do something! the same instructor felt every rider should also have a hula hoop for toning abs.

  2. i try to log a couple miles jogging each week, with varied success, and do the morning barn chores on weekends – about 6 hours of walking, sweeping, lifting, etc each week. my diet isn't great, and i can't cook to save my life… so lots of eating out. so there's definitely room for improvement lol (my biggest weakness is core strength, actually, and that's kind of a big deal…) but i mostly feel ok about it

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