I’ve been thinking lately about cardio for Equestrians. There’s quite a few of the ladies in my classes that have started couch to 5k which I think is great and several others including myself who already run as part of their fitness.
I’ve seen various opinions as to whether running is beneficial to Equestrians so here’s my thoughts on it.
Firstly when considering what kind of cardio to do you need to consider the requirements of your sport.
For example a show jumper will ordinarily go into the ring for about a minute so that’s quite a short burst and would lead me towards HIIT. So short bursts of fast work.
A Dressage rider will be in the ring for up to around 5 minutes so this makes the demand more endurance based.
An eventer will need a huge amount of endurance to get round a cross country course, alongside the short burst required for the showjumping.
Endurance riding kind of speaks for itself and showing again can be a long time in the ring so endurance based (particularly if it’s in hand!).
There are also a couple of other things to take into account such as what you do at home training horses.
For example I spend a lot of time long reining with two of my ponies so that can be 40mins to an hour of walking and trotting with a pony which is basically a cardio workout for me. So my at home training requires a certain level of endurance even though if I’m Carriage Driving I only really need my upper body.
So take into account your home training too.
I think from that though we’ve pretty much confirmed that endurance is a requirement of most aspects of Equestrian sport.
Back to running then. Well it uses your heart and lungs, legs, bum and core so ✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️ all of those are required to ride so making them stronger will help.
If you are generally fitter those riding lessons that feel more like boot camp will become just a little easier so you will be more effective for longer.
So if you fancy upping your game then give a couch to 5k a go. One of the other benefits of running is that it only requires some decent running trainers and some basic Lycra (I’ve run plenty of time in stretchy breeches and riding socks!) You don’t need a gym membership etc. Just some will power to get out there. You could always rope in a yard buddy or join a running club to help. I use my collie dogs as running buddies.
There are of course other ways to train your endurance so as cycling, rowing , swimming etc and maybe I’ll look at the benefits of those another time.
How many of you already run as part of your fitness training?