Is horseback riding good exercise?
For years we (my horse lovin' family and I) have cracked jokes about how horse owners don't need any exercise program- horse ownership is exercise enough!- and frankly, being a barn hand is definitely enough exercise. 

Or so it seems...

Here's the thing- I grew up riding and the amount of effort I had to put into the ride always depends on several variables: Are you casually trail riding or taking a few laps around the arena? or are you training for some level of competition? Are you riding Old Smokey, the 30 year old lesson horse, or Spike, who was just purchased by an inexperienced horse person from someone that swears he is kid safe- their kid just "doesn't like Spike" and they asked you to ride him because he has been dragon breathing with the whites of his eyes showing since he arrived?

In addition to these variables, my personal experience has been that riding and barn work isn't always enough. I was still gaining weight while working my ass off in the barn. I was strong in the best way, but I was getting a flabby belly. So, I took action and joined a CrossFit gym. Turns out CrossFit gyms are super expensive- but I loved it while it lasted and here is what I learned:

Even though barn work and riding will have you using muscles that most people don't even know they have, it's not enough to obtain your optimal fitness level. Why should you be striving for optimal health and fitness? Well, besides saving time and money on illness, it is how you best prepare yourself for situations you may find yourself in with horses. It's how you manage to mount under less than ideal circumstances. It's how you have the endurance to stay on in a bad situation (or the endurance to follow your mount the 5 miles back to the barn after sticking the landing of your unintentional dismount 🤷‍♀️). It's how you do your part to prepare for the next competition- we spend so much time worried about our horses' health and conditioning and we don't even THINK about our own conditioning... what kind of partnership is that?!

Your health and conditioning determines how you show up for your horse... and your FAMILY. You are nothing without your health and you may be thinking, "yeah, yeah- I'm young. I will be fine. I don't have time to workout or plan healthy meals." The truth is- you can't afford not to- especially if you have any less than ideal habits. Trust me- my 36 year old husband had a heart attack last week (he is doing well 😉 🙌). Needless to say, we have made big changes around our house- kicked some bad habits and established new ones. My health is now a priority in my life- no more putting it off with excuses about not having time or how the barn work is enough.

If you are done putting your health to the side and are ready to be the rider that your horse deserves, pop on over to my facebook group to learn more about how we are mixing things up and finding a healthy balance for life ❤


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