So with everything going on, riders everywhere are in different situations – some barns are on full lockdown and owners are unable to visit their horses, some have allotted time to be at the barn, and others are still carrying on somewhat normally. I happen to be in an unusual situation as well, with Quinn having had back problems on and off since January. She’s been in somewhat of a rehab program with my trainer the past couple weeks, so it’s made the decision of whether or not to carry on with private lessons a little bit easier. Due to various injuries over the years (lol) I’ve learned a lot about downtime from the saddle, and I’ve found that taking action to keep yourself sharp when you do get to ride again has made a huge difference every time. Here are some tips that I’ve found have worked for me:
WATCH OTHERS RIDE
This has been the biggest help for me. When I was laid up for 6 months, as soon as I was ok enough to go to the barn I watched all the lessons I could – you’d be surprised as to how much you can learn from watching others. Now, this isn’t to say that you should just get on YouTube and watch all the “trainers” on there and run with it – please, don’t do that. If you’re not going to the barn, watch videos of pros riding, or videos from your old lessons. I’ve found that just watching people jump has helped to keep my eye sharp! When the rider is on course, see if you can count and predict their striding.
Both are taught by top-level pros, so here is where you can trust the advice you’re getting – but as always, remember to include your trainer in on your online education endeavors. Not every exercise or method is right for every horse and rider, so when you’re back in the saddle, your trainer can help you implement what’s right for you. I truly believe you can learn something from everyone (even if it’s learning that something isn’t right for you) so take the opportunity during this downtime to further your learning.
Staying active during your time off of riding is SO important – even if you don’t break a sweat while riding, it’s exercise your body is used to and keeping your cardio and strength up is vital to picking back up where you left off. I know working out doesn’t target riding muscles like riding does, but staying strong will make it a whole lot easier to get back in the groove than having all your muscles start from square one. I’m taking it a step further and really trying to improve my fitness level while having this time at home! There are a TON of options when it comes to at-home exercise – here are just a few:
- Take a long walk
- Go on a bike ride
- Support your local gyms and trainers by seeing if they’re streaming classes
- Jump rope
- Look up exercises online
- Do a program from The Fit Equestrian
- Pull out that old workout DVD from the 2000’s
Stay safe, stay healthy, and STAY HOME! Remember to do your part during this crazy time – you are making a difference by being safe.