Who Needs a Gym?

October 28, 2011

This morning, I read this article about getting fit with your horse. The author detailed how many calories can be burned doing many common horsey activities, and it got me to thinking about some of the many other ways having a horse can improve your fitness level. For example, you can get your heart rate up (cardiovascular exercise) by chasing him around his paddock while trying to catch him (Tank doesn’t help me out here—he usually meets me at the gate); getting excited (or scared) by trying something new on horseback; or riding through a spook. If that doesn’t get your heart rate up, I don’t know what will!

You can also develop a great strength training program with horses. Aside from the obvious hauling of hay or bags of feed, or shoveling manure, there’s always carrying your saddle (especially if it’s a western saddle—those things are heavy!), or attempting to hold up your horse as he leans on you while you clean his feet. Posting a trot and riding without stirrups are excellent exercises for the thigh muscles as well.

Don’t forget the fitness benefits of relaxation. Being around a horse, at least for me, provides a way to lower my blood pressure. Just looking at horses, stroking their soft coats and smelling that warm barn smell makes me feel calmer.

By all rights, I should be a lot thinner than I am after burning all those calories at the barn. (Maybe it has something to do with the chocolate one of my barn buddies gave me…hmm…)

Have you found any unusual ways to get fit?

Pet, friend, therapist, and now personal trainer?

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