What are your fitness challenges and what types of injuries have you had?

What are your biggest fitness challenges as a rider? Which areas of your body give you the most trouble and which do you wish you could improve?


What types of injuries do you have now or have you had in the past? What types of injuries do you think riders struggle with most?


If you could ask any fitness or injury-related questions to a top-notch osteopath and athletic therapist, what would you ask?


Thanks for your input!

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I began riding about 5 years ago.....what kept me from learning all these years was being deathly afraid of horses for the fear of being hurt around them! I am 55 years old.
Well, never having a broken bone in my life before this......I have now had broken toes, fractured both sides of my pelvis, two different accidents (within a year and a half)!...and a badly shattered wrist, that now has a plate and about 5 or 6 pins in it!
I have recovered superbly well! No major after effects! My wrist is doing so well...you wouldn't believe I shattered it. The doctor said it was the worst kind of injury to a wrist....bones were all over the place in pieces!!
I am doing well enough that I have begun picking up my lost lessons on "cutting".......you need the wrist to hold on!

I agree with Jan......for some reason I don't have the intense fear to ride again! I absolutely love this new passion in my life! I was back in the saddle about a month into recovery from my latest injuries this past July........the doctor thought I was "nutz"...but I took it easy .... I just wanted to be back on my horse!

Hopefully, I won't have any more.........maybe, I am becoming a little more aware of the seriousness of these injuries and have become a little more cautious....but, I will never stop riding........even if they have to throw my up on the horse in a body cast! I WILL RIDE! LOL!
Thanks for asking. I'm going to start riding again after about 2 years off. I found my knees to be the most painful problem whether I was riding the horse or on the back step of the carriage. The only injuries I've had are a separated shoulder (coming off over a big triple bar) and serious damage to my AC joint (coming off at a gallop and trying to hold on to the horn - darn western saddles). I would ask for some good stretches or yoga postures for the rider. Thanks! Tina at SLOHorseNews.net
Hi Tina,
I think Yoga-type stretches are a great way to compliment riding. It's a great way to keep the muscles supple and ready for action! I will be more than happy to add a video about Yoga type stretches.

A video would be wonderful. Would it be found on this site? My daughter teaches Kundalini Yoga which I love and I've been after her to do a video for a while. I really need the stretches and the movement as I have a very sedentary job and my only exercise is mucking out and the occasional walk. Thanks for your help! Tina
I don't have any core muscles -- really. :-) No, I guess they are actually there but I had my gall bladder removed when I was 29 and it sure wasn't Laparoscopic surgery. I have a huge scar across my abdomen. Since then, I have found that many exercises to strengthen stomach muscles just end up hurting my neck as I use my neck and shoulders instead of my core muscles.

I also had a subtalar fusion so I have a bolt in my ankle/foot. This has really restricted my walking so I have trouble finding something to increase my aerobic fitness. I have gained so much weight that my balance is out of whack so I find bike riding a little worrisome, plus I find that pushing on the pedal is uncomfortable because I can only move my foot to a certain angle because of the fusion.

I hate swimming and tried water aerobics and didn't like that either. I do go to Curves Fitness centres regularly (3 to 5 times a week) and find that helps. But I need to lose at least 70 pounds and really increase my fitness level as I'd like to start riding again. I am too heavy for my little mare and my big horse is retired. Even if he weren't retired I don't really want to ride big horses anymore. It is just too far down once you reach (late) middle age. I would like to get to a weight where I can ride sturdy 14 to 15 hand horses comfortably.

Thanks for listening.
Hi Jill!
I'm sorry for the late response but I have two kids that I swear to you have been sick off and on for the last month!

As for aerobic fitness, it has to be done repetitively for a minimum of 30 minutes and performed about 4-5 times per week to make it worthwhile for the goals that you're trying to achieve. In addition, 60% of weight management programs are diet related, which means no refined sugars, limiting bread and milk and eating lots of fruits and vegetables as well as lean meats and other proteins.

Biking would be a great way to get started on this path. That could mean stationary or outdoor biking but beginning with 2 times per week for about 15 minutes and then slowly increasing your frequency to 3 times per week for 15 minutes and then increasing your duration. Just remember this is not a track meet but a marathon....go slowly and start even slower.

As for the scarring, you would have to get it worked on to release any adhesions that would have developed and have been anchoring onto the abdominal muscles: a massage therapist or osteopath could do this for you. Only then, can you truly begin working on your core muscles properly.

As for the ankle, is extremely difficult to alter something that is structural but I have a video that talks about ankle strengthening that may help to develop the musculature around the area.

I hope this helps and please let me know if there is anything else that I can help you with.
I have a lot of problems in my lower back (below the waist)/ hip area. My SI joint is part of it but mainly it is the muscles. A lot of the problems started because my older horse has quite a wide back and I am only 5 feet tall.

I have tried pilates and had a personal trainer at one time. My chiropractor adjusts my sacro-iliac and I have also had Active Release treatments with a massage therapist with limited results. She thought I had problems with the muscle fascia. I also have trigger points .

I haven't been able to ride for about 5 years because of the pain and tightness in this area. Can you suggest exercises that would loosen it?

I take vitamins C, D, B50 plus potassium, and calcium and magnesium. Are there any that I have missed that would help my muscles to be more elastic?

Hi Valerie,
Has your back been diagnosed as just an SI problem or is there anything else that we should know about ....typically a true SI problem, once mobilized, will not have as much complications as you've stated above.

In addition, if the surrounding ligaments that hold the SI joint have become very lax and loose, there is no way of strengthening them but to help the muscles around it. I don't have a specific exercise video for this but will try my best to have this out to you in the next week.

Stretching should be performed on a daily basis (3-4 times per day) and held for 30 seconds each time.

Strengthening should be performed daily as you need to re-train the muscles on how they are supposed to act.

If these two important aspects of rehab have been missed then there is no way that the muscles are going to learn their place!

Please watch for the video entitled SI joint exercises and hopefully it helps!

Hi Everyone, Claire has done some videos based on your questions and I have added the first one today. Enjoy!
I have injured my shoulder falling off which was my worst injury with horses. Most of the time it doesn't bother me but it still does if I am reaching for things above my head a lot. I want to work on keeping my shoulders back I try and work on those muscles by lying on my stomach lifting my chest like a seal and then keeping my arms straight and clapping behind my back and above my head it has helped a bit but I need to do it more. Ways I really want to improve is stronger legs for better aids and stronger arms.
Biggest fitness challange.. being able to reach the stirrup when getting on! LOL.

I' have some hip unevenness, as well as several knee and ankle injuries. I find my ankles and knees are terribly stiff and sore after riding to the point that when I get off I have to hobble away painfully for a few minutes bfeore I can resume walking like a human being and not some swamp monster. Might I add I'm only 19 so this is only going to get better. I also have Fybro, which plays a big roll when I fall off. It takes a lot longer for me to heal and recouperate.


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