During what is typically the off-season for most horse owners (winter),
Megan takes her fitness in the saddle
to another level, by taking her eventing horse foxhunting through the
fields of northern Alabama. Since she
started the sport, she’s seen a big difference in not only her riding abilities,
but in her overall fitness.
“If you want to be fit, foxhunt,” she
laughs. “I lose 10 to 15 pounds every
season. When you’re foxhunting, you
can gallop up to two hours at a time
in a forward seat. I’m also having to
check up and sit, turn and adjust the
speed and rate of my horse. Thanks to
reining, I’m able to throw away the
reins and not rely on my hands for
balance, and that’s made a difference
in my core strength to where I can
hold a half-seat for hours, easily. And
that’s just the two hours of running,
not the four to five of hunting that we
do. Surprisingly, I feel like reining has
helped me a lot more (in foxhunting)
than eventing has.”
What skills can you master during
the off season that will improve
your riding skills and overall fitness?
Challenge yourself to try another discipline. Find those muscles and that
skill you didn’t know you had to see
the change you can make.
MEGAN ARSZMAN is a freelance writer based
in Indiana, where she’s learning to balance
motherhood with horses, dogs and writing.
“Although every discipline has their version or method of
doing things, you can pull the things that work and apply it to
your training routine. For instance, I thought I had a good feel
for a horse until I rode western pleasure, and I thought I was a
brave rider until I galloped race horses.”
Robertson has applied things she’s learned from riding
dressage to help all of her horses. She explained that dressage helped her be more
aware of her balance in the saddle and helped develop and strengthen what was
her weaker side.
“There were times I thought my horse had problems bulging out one direction,
but it turns out I was asking him to turn in a way that encouraged him to do so,
because I wasn’t balanced,” she says.
Fox hunting is a
great sport for
horse and rider
discipline has their
version or method
of doing things, you
can pull things that
work and apply it to
your training routine.