Friday, June 29, 2012

Muscle Sore?

Push Through

I had forgotten about some of the muscles I use to ride. My arms are fine, my knees ache--but that's still going to happen no matter what exercise I do, my right thigh "feels it," my back is OK, but there are some core muscles that are protesting. These are mostly upper abdominal muscles. It's nothing serious, but it does call to mind how much bodywork is involved in riding, especially dressage.

I will not note the sore seatbones because that really doesn't count. They just have to get used to sitting in a saddle. With the Ansur, this is far less of a problem than it ever was with a treed saddle. I used to get really chafed and had to wear special underwear when I rode. With the Ansur, there is no need for that, but still, I do not sit anywhere else quite the same as when I am astride a horse, so seatbones need to get fit too.

The core muscles are interesting. We never really think about them unless we are deliberately exercising to try to get rid of tummy fat, but these muscles really do get a workout in the saddle. You do need to try to sit correctly to be effective and, of course, in the sitting trot, they really come into play.

I cannot recall being really aware of those muscles when I rode hunter/jumpers, but I was a lot thinner and far more fit and active back then, so perhaps I just never noticed. I'm sure if I were riding in half seat now and doing some jumping I'd discover a whole mess of muscles I've forgotten about altogether.

So, if I can feel an ache in those muscles after a long layoff, what about my horses?  Essentially, when you ask a horse to lift its back and come "on the bit," the abdominal muscles come into play.  I can recall my acupuncture vet commenting on how good my PJ looked as he aged and decided it had to be the dressage work. PJ's back never dropped and he never had that "old horse" look about him.  Now if only I could maintain that kind of physically fit look as I age! *G*

All this leads to the fact that I did not ride today. There is the added factor that it was quite a bit hotter than yesterday and tomorrow promises the beginning of a several day heat wave--like the one my blogger friends from the west are already suffering from.  I have a plan to go out in the morning to do something with Chance and Tucker--perhaps just lungeing--as the heat warnings are starting at noon.  But after that, unless it really cools off in the evenings, I will probably not ride or work anyone through the weekend.

I was supposed to judge a driving dressage show on Sunday--a fun show, so my scores would not really impact much--but they have cancelled. The driving club is having a picnic indoors instead.

Kind of nice to have that option. I'm sure there are many horse shows around that will still be running because of all the money invested hiring judges, paying insurance, buying ribbons an trophies, and renting venues.

To those who will be riding--take care. Drink plenty of water and tend to your horses with care and respect for their health and safety as well.

The heat is on!


  1. A horse show scheduled to run somewhere near Colorado Springs was cancelled due to smoke and, I suppose, many of the horses not coming because of being evacuated. I simply won't ride in the afternoons, lessons or not, on hot days. I do have a lesson tomorrow at 7:30 am!

  2. It's true that there are muscles you don't even think about until you ride and find them! I remember years ago my daughter's gym teacher told her that riding wasn't exercise. She was pretty annoyed with that statement.

    The heat is going to be miserable. Hope a lot of shows cancel because of it. I feel for the horses. Don't think I'll be riding either.

  3. I am in pretty good riding shape but, if I go out and do an endurance ride on a horse I'm not used to riding, I get sore. I like to blame it on using different muscles on different horses (and it is true, because each horse moves a little differently, just like we all walk a little differently), but I think I'm really just getting old.
    - The Equestrian Vagabond