I get so tired of people rolling their eyes when I whine about sore muscles after riding horses. Where else can you get an adrenaline pumping full body workout and have fun? I could spend an hour in the gym and get a good workout but that's boring. I prefer to ride for exercise! I am not talking about just sitting on top of a horse either. If you want the best workout you need to get on a horse that has some issues. I have had the sore muscles to prove it.
Riding is not just sitting on a horse; it is mental and physical work. If you are not balancing yourself and controlling your horse then you are just "sitting" on your horse, not "riding" your horse. There is a big difference. If you are not sore after riding, you're not doing it right. Even people that just "sit" on a horse should be a little bit sore, at least in the part of your "seat" that has contact with the saddle.
Grooming and tacking your horse is a great upper body workout. Keep your feet still then reach and twist to groom, you will be surprised about how much of a workout it is. When you get ready to saddle, lift the saddle a few times. Saddles are not light; they are good for building strength in your arms.
Mount and walk your horse, this is a great time to stretch for you and your horse. Take it slow and get those muscles warmed up. You can find several suggestions on the internet for exercises you can do to stretch your muscles then get creative about how to adapt them to in the saddle.
Trotting your horse is a great aerobic exercise for you and your horse. A sitting trot is a great workout for your core muscles and your legs. A posting trot is also great for those muscles and just a little bit more intense.
Also try exercising from the ground. Put a halter on your horse and walk laps around the pasture. Try jogging and making your horse trot. This is also a good time to reinforce ground manners.
Don't forget to drink lots of water and keep yourself hydrated. Drinking plenty of water will reduce some of the soreness. It's a good idea to drink water before, during, and after exercise.
Your horse may turn out to be the best workout partner you have ever had.
Be safe, have fun, and ride on... (Don't forget to vote if you enjoyed my blog.)