So for some weeks now, I have been commuting back and forth from New York City to New Jersey to see my horse CrackerJack. Between the long train rides and my constant attempts to stay in good riding shape, it has been a huge challenge. Here are some tricks I have learned:
1) Always ride with no stirrups your first
day back. Your legs will undoubtedly hate you, and you might even teach your horse a few new expletives, but it is the quickest remedy. After that first day go ahead and take your stirrups back if you want, but forgo spurs if your horse usually needs them. If walking the next day is excruciating, you are doing it right.
2) Stretch everything: literally every single muscle you know how to stretch. This will keep you from getting overly sore and injuring yourself. The best stretch you can do is the “butterfly” stretch you probably did as a kid, as those muscles won’t see much use during your work week.
3) Running only does so much. While running might give you that toned body you want, it won’t fully prepare you for riding. Instead, do the most absurd lunges thinkable: the more exaggerated and hilarious the better.
4) Eat before you ride. A fully energized rider is much better prepared than a malnourished rider. If you are counting calories before you get a horse, you should really reconsider your priorities. No one likes a rider that passes out.
Hope that helps any equestrian commuters!
(special thanks to Roger Wang and Carol Curley for some of the photos in this post)