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Am I that unfit ??

18 replies

Aghh · 02/06/2022 13:25

Following a 20 year break from horses, and only now & again riding friends horses (hacking only), I have my own again and ride nearly every day. However I’m finding that after 25 minutes in the school I’m completely shattered ! Literally walk, trot canter both reins and I’m flagging. I can manage a lot longer out hacking, but schooling is exhausting. I’ve lost about a stone in 6 months and probably weigh about 9 stone and am about 5’5’’ so no longer a bit overweight.
is anyone else like this ? Do you do other exercises to get riding-fit ?
I made the mistake yesterday of riding at lunchtime in the sunshine and I thought I was going to die, the shame ☹️

OP posts:
Pleasedontdothat · 02/06/2022 15:53

How hard is your horse working? If you’re having to work hard to get him going and keep him moving, it’s a lot more tiring than riding a nicely forward horse. Do you have lessons? An instructor on the ground should be able to help you get your horse more off your leg and able to do something more interesting than just W/T/C

Aghh · 02/06/2022 17:05

He needs leg definitely, and effort to maintain an outline. Is that quite typical though ? He’s 6 so still developing.

I’ve started proper lessons which are 30 minutes long and I need oxygen afterwards.

He sharpens up with a professional rider on him, but she’s super fit and rides 10 a day ☹️

OP posts:
Whitehorsegirl · 02/06/2022 17:35

I started riding at 48! at first every lesson (45 minute) was exhausting and I could only sustain short bursts of trot. It took months for my body to get used to it and now I can do 45 minute lessons without too many issues when it comes to stamina. Give yourself a bit of time to get back into it. Also as mentioned I find that if I have a horse who is responsive I do much better than with some of the school horses (usually mares) who play up/require a lot of leg to do anything.

Therunecaster · 02/06/2022 17:39

Whitehorsegirl · 02/06/2022 17:35

I started riding at 48! at first every lesson (45 minute) was exhausting and I could only sustain short bursts of trot. It took months for my body to get used to it and now I can do 45 minute lessons without too many issues when it comes to stamina. Give yourself a bit of time to get back into it. Also as mentioned I find that if I have a horse who is responsive I do much better than with some of the school horses (usually mares) who play up/require a lot of leg to do anything.

Hi. Can I ask how you got started intially. I am 49 and have lost 4 stones. When I lose another stone I can start riding lessons. I hoping to do this in August. I've never ridden before!

Pleasedontdothat · 02/06/2022 18:29

You’re not anaemic are you OP? I had a couple of lessons last summer on a completely dead to the leg horse and I got off drenched in sweat, feeling like I’d run a marathon 😳. However normally I might ache a bit afterwards if there’s been lots of no stirrups work but I don’t feel exhausted and I’m in my late 50s. If I’m on a slightly lazier horse I usually find being very assertive in the first few minutes, with lots of transitions, gets them listening and means I have to do much less work for the rest of the ride. I’d ask your instructor what they think and also get your vitamin D and iron levels tested. My daughter became very iron-deficient about 18 months ago and it made her weak and breathless

Lastqueenofscotland2 · 02/06/2022 19:51

It maybe is a schooling thing. I like a hotter horse as quite frankly I cannot be arsed kicking, and if you’re nagging it’s a schooling issue.

core strength can be a huge factor too… get yoga-ing!

LightDrizzle · 02/06/2022 19:58

You’re probably fine but with that l vem if tiredness accompanied by unintended weight loss, I recommend a bit of a health MOT. Bloods etc.

is it only riding that leaves you so shattered? Have you any other health niggles or changes?

LightDrizzle · 02/06/2022 20:00

“but with that level of tiredness” FFS!

FizzyStream · 02/06/2022 20:11

I started riding again 8 months ago after a 25 year break. I'm 40 and have been riding weekly for 8 months and only in the last four weeks have I not been a sweaty breathless mess after 30 minutes. I have been walking for at least an hour every single day too. Core strength is your friend. Also recommend getting your bloods checked too though to be on the safe side.

coffeecupsandfairylights · 03/06/2022 06:14

With weight loss and extreme tiredness I would be more concerned about diabetes and/or anaemia. Maybe worth getting a health check from a GP.

I ride weekly (one hour lessons) plus do the occasional two hour hack on the beach. I'm sore after the back hack but not to the point of exhaustion or sweating buckets - that sounds like more of a health issue to me?

Aghh · 03/06/2022 08:06

Thanks for the great replies. I will definitely look into the possibility of an underlying health condition, I never thought it could be something like that. Thanks !

OP posts:
Shannith · 06/06/2022 08:54

Underlying aside riding is one of those fitnesses that you only get with... riding. Which is not much help but it's what I've found as a returning to riding adult.

Yoga - yoga with Adrienne free on you tube has been a game changer for me. She does a specific one for equestrians but I've currently been doing her 30 day move with a bunch of lovely ladies on here (coincidentally or not quite a few of whom ride)

Thread is in the yoga topic and it's massively helped my riding. I have a horse but this mean I can ride with everything in the right place which takes a lot of the effort out of it.

I still sweat a bit if I school properly for 30/45 mins. As does the (very fit) pony - it's hard work - gymnastics for horses Grin

DrHildegardeLanstrom · 06/06/2022 17:25

I'm having my first lesson for years tomorrow and am fully expecting to be absolutely worn out!

RatherBeRiding · 08/06/2022 15:40

During first lockdown my work hours were cut so I took up cycling again as my "daily exercise" seeing as horse riders were being discouraged from exercising their horses apart from what was necessary from a welfare point of view - was very unfit at first but was soon clocking up the miles and then i realised post lockdown HOW much fitter I was in the saddle (horse saddle, that is!). I'm only a happy hacker really these days but once the lockdown restrictions eased and we were all able to get back out on the roads on our horses again i was amazed at how strong my legs were after all that cycling and how much fitter generally I was.

Unfortunately now I'm back at work with not as much time to keep fit, but cycling is great for both muscle strength and cardio.

ZooKeeper19 · 11/06/2022 22:09

Not sure about unfit, but professional riders do go to the gym to strengthen specific muscles, stretch and do cardio.

I agree, riding fitness comes only with riding, but if there is one exercise I'd advise it's cycling (ideally uphill, sadly). That is what keeps me riding fit (and I ride daily and do yard work too).

Whitehorsegirl · 12/06/2022 20:13


Apologies for the late reply! I only just saw your question. I has been a fairly bumpy but enjoyable journey.

I started by trying it out with booking just one lesson at a small local stables to first make sure that I would enjoy it. Many stables have some kind of ''have a go'' sessions where you can experience riding a horse for the first time with the instructor leading the horse around from the ground. You can also try a bit of trot that way.

My first lesson was a bit of an odd experience. They only had a small outside arena and it was raining slightly for most of the lesson. I was on the horse for way too long for a 1st attempt (almost 2 hours) so I was really sore for a couple of days after. The instructor led me around and then let me have a try on my own (walk only).

I then went to a bigger and more professional riding school and spent time with the basics of walk and trot with and without stirrups on several quiet horses. You can usually start with 30 minute lessons then when you body gets used to the process you move to 45 minute or 1 hour lessons.Although two of them ended having a little spook. I felt like I was not improving much after a few months so again I moved to a bigger place where I also learned the basics of cantering and I am still using these stables. They make you tack and untack your horse as well so you spend a bit more time getting to know them. The first time I cantered it was unplanned as my horse just took off after a fast trot in a group lesson...I have tried a couple of group lessons too but usually you get more out of individual ones obviously.

As you become more confident they move you to better and more forward horses and the make you do a test to put you on the next riding level.

I have found though that you do have to be quite resilient though as an adult rider. Some lessons/rides won't go well and other times will be magical. It also is not easy when you have a middle-aged body to do everything you need to do and to build the stamina. I must say many riding instructors are brilliants but others are not so used to dealing with adult new riders and one was actually really unpleasant to me. That instructor behaved like a bully (shouting at me that I was lazy and useless and they could not quite grasp that I might need to take a few minutes to get my breath back now and then) and I saw her bully other beginner adult riders too. Even the horses were scared of her which is never a good sign (I was on a horse and she came towards us and the horse literally jumped to the side when he saw her coming...). I complained to the school and to be fair to them they handled that quite well.

I did struggle with my confidence and still do but I am trying not to let that stop my enjoyment. I started with being quite fearful of horses if I am honest. I had some seriously grumpy mares who did not make it easy for me and you will probably have your fair share of horses who will suss you out as a beginner and refuse to move or completely ignore your commands and try to do as they please . When I was left on a pen with a horse on my own, the first few times my mind went blank!

I also did a hike in Hyde Park which is quite fun as you have to get the horses through the London traffic before you get to the park :)

I think it is like everything the more you do it, the more natural it becomes.

There are some great YouTube videos as well with tips for beginners. I spend a lot of time looking at these in between lessons.

My next goal is to be able to do group hacks.

Hope that gives you a bit of info on my journey!

Fuzzyhippo · 22/06/2022 19:15

I had a 10 year break from riding, previously owning horses before, but I applied for a job as a stable groom last year. Little did I know all they wanted to see was me riding, which wasn't in the job description. 10 minutes in I had to get off and passed out shortly after. Turns out I have a severe vitamin D deficiency as well as being very unhealthy (bed bound due to mental breakdown). Safe to say I didn't get the job and the lady was very pissed off at me Confused

Tinkerbell1281 · 12/07/2022 17:46

I ride weekly (after a 23 year break) and I’m also 40, and I still get very puffed out and dripping with sweat after schooling or an intense lesson. Whereas I can go to the gym and run long distances or do heavy weights and I’m fine. I forgot how different being “riding fit” is! 😳

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