How Cross-Training Can Improve your Riding
In this blog post, TFE Ambassador Allie Wright shares her experience training for a half marathon as an equestrian athlete.
Many runners can train to run a half marathon and many dressage riders can train for the Grand Prix, but not many can do both. This journey of training for a half marathon while continuing to prepare for my upcoming show season has truly been a commitment for my body to give in 110%, my mind to give in 110%, and my time has been taken up… maybe not 110%, but a lot of it. I owe a major “thank you” to the idea of cross training.
As a 17 year old, I am so grateful for the experiences and people that have led me to believe that we should exercise ourselves for our horses. It’s not as complicated as it sounds. I started off by jogging a mile once a day to get my endurance up. Even after one week my stamina increased and I noticed after a ride I didn’t get as winded. Upping your exercises every two weeks until you find them super challenging will then make riding a piece of cake, and better for your horse too. You should be exercising the horse, not the horse exercising you.
Because I am still in school my “long run days” would be on Saturdays. I ride in the morning and run in the afternoon. Ride. Workout. Repeat. I soon learned that nutrition was a super important factor in this new trial and error of my life. Food is definitely fuel! I have heard many riders (such as myself) making the comment that they cannot eat before riding. Although yes, it would be rather dumb to drink a huge milkshake or eat a big, juicy burger before you ride, there are alternatives that can fuel your body through your riding or workout that will not make you feel as bloated. This can be different for everyone so it is that trial and error stage like I mentioned to find what works for you.
As a runner and rider, both of these types of activities do help the other. I have also found that incorporating anaerobic workouts such as core, upper body, and lower leg strength training have been a big help in my position and overall use of my body.
One thing many people don’t consider is the fact that exercising can help prevent injuries as well. I, myself, have had lots of injuries from riding, including having to go into surgery to have a plate and six screws on my collarbone. When you take the time to better your body, your body will reap the benefits. When you encounter that grumpy school pony who has just had enough, you will be able to sit its naughtiness much better after working out.
Even though I am still very young, I would say to my younger self to start now. If I had committed to bettering myself earlier, I would be an even better rider today.
I encourage you to consider yourself and your horse. Ride. Workout. Repeat.
Try these workouts free for 10 days to start improving your riding today!