Riding Fit Over 50 – Exercise Program to Improve Your Riding

Take these tips for building an exercise program that will improve your horseback riding abilities even into your senior years.

In my business, I train more people over  age 50 than not. This age group is usually motivated to recover energy they felt from their youth and keep from feeling the aches and pains associated with aging. They also have the wisdom, time and the money to invest in personal training for themselves. These men and women who come to me often are dealing with chronic pain, i.e., a weak back, tight neck, sore shoulders, or are just trying to improve their overall health.

My workouts for the 50-and-over crowd start out very basic. I call it foundation strength. We work on balance, working the larger muscles of the legs and introducing core work. We talk a lot about posture. Eventually the workouts get harder, and I begin to push them and ask for more … increasing weight, increasing repetitions, doing more challenging core work and building intensity.

I get the same reaction almost every time: “I thought I was too old to do this!”

Then I see an amazing change in their stature. These men and women are growing, changing and feeling good. Not just feeling physically better but getting energy and confidence.

That is what is so wonderful about riding horses.  Whether showing, trail riding or just hopping on for fun, riding is for any age. The people who ride and train with me know this. They have a passion for their horses. They learn that their own bodies need to be balanced in fitness to keep riding healthily. And, in the end, they define themselves not by the number of years they have been alive, but how alive they feel for the number of years they lived!

–- Emily J. Harrington, CPT, equestrienne fitness trainer, is a multiple AQHA world champion and top-10 World Show finisher.