If you live in the Southeast, chances are riding during the summer months is difficult due to the extreme weather. It's just too hot to enjoy the ride, and it raises the odds that your horse will become sick in some way because of the heat stress. I can't stress enough to people how dangerous humidity really is. Humidity is one of those things that will psych you out. You'll "think" it's cooler, it may even seem like it's cooler, but the moment you start doing something, sweat rolls off of your body and in no time you're really over heated. This isn't about humidity though, this is about getting in shape for riding. Fall is coming, which means break out the long sleeves (if needed) and ride till your heart's content!
Many a rider and trainer will tell you that riding is exercise. Well yes it is. You work core muscles for coordination and balance. Your entire body is at work while riding. Riding in fact is great exercise, however, if you're just getting back in the saddle, it can also make you uber sore! Especially the inner thigh area. This is a good sore. As crazy as it sounds. It really is. To help prevent becoming sore, I should have stretched my legs after my ride the other day. I'm up to 10 minutes so far! Yay me! :D I'm sure some of you are like Whaaa?? 10 minutes? That's NOTHING! Yes I know, it's not a very long time, though I will point out... it's been 10+ years since I've ridden, plus I'm riding bareback with just a pad AND I'm not in the best shape. I've been a couch potato for most of those years. Letting myself go, and now I'm paying the price dearly.
I've got to get back into shape in order to "Ride The Brand" from Nevada to Georgia. The only way I'm going to do that is by riding every other or every 2 days and walking. So far, it's going alright. My inner thighs are quite sore, and that just comes with the territory.
I'm also getting Cookie into better physical shape for winter. The better shape she is in during the end of summer and fall, the better she will be able to stay healthy during winter when she's just standing around for a few months. A lot of people do ride in the winter here in the south, though it's not often because of the rain.
So far, she's in much better shape than I am. She pretty much doesn't get sore, or tired... yet. Because I'm having to stay in the paddock to get my riding body back on, we haven't been able to ride long. Once I get much better, we'll be able to start riding out away from the house and get some good miles in.
Another thing I'll inject here, with stretching make sure you drink A LOT of water. Drink at least 1/2 a bottle before, during and at least a full bottle afterwards. This is not only good for flushing your body and replenishing your hydration levels but it will help a little with muscle soreness. The harder you work, the more you'll need to drink.
I haven't decided yet if I'm going to add any weight lifting to my exercise regimen or not yet. It would help in some areas, and may actually hinder in others. In other words, muscle is more solid and I need to get below a certain weight in order to help my horses across the country. If I pack on a lot of muscle, I won't have much to lose to stay below that weight. I already know that both myself and my horses are going to drop some weight along this trip no matter how hard I try to keep it on them. Though I will never push them so hard that they become sick or their body weight falls to dangerous levels. The ride is very important to the mission and if I let my horse management get out of hand, it will be detrimental to the overall mission, and that's to educate folks along the way about the plight of our Nations wild horses.
So for now, I'm going to get back to work! I've got a long ways to go, but I am determined to get back into both riding and physical shape for this journey.
Drink up and Ride!
Thank you for checking out my blogs. I appreciate all votes and comments.
Disclaimer: Of Horse! and sponsors do not endorse nor validate the accuracy of a blog post. Each article is the opinion of the blogger.