Monday, January 2, 2017

Tough As A Billy Goat: Conditioning For The 25 Mile March Mudness Ride

Deer season ends here the first Saturday in January. Our woods riding is radically reduced from Oct1, when bow season comes in, until the close of deer season. Our winters are generally damp and the woods often muddy until the spring vegetation comes out.

We jump start our program by training for our in house "March Mudness 25 Mile Ride". The event is  timed and there is a heart rate check for the horses at the tenth mile and the 20th mile. Riders go at their own pace. The purpose of the event is not to see who has the fastest horse. It is to allow individual riders to reap the benefits of having worked their horses and their bodies to a level of fitness that allows for the completion of such a ride.

Everyone is different both physically and emotionally. There is no one perfect conditioning regimen for every rider. The one thing true for everyone is that the best exercise for riding is to ride and ride..and then ride more.

Here is how I prepare for the event.

I am 57 years old, by most measures fifty pounds over weight, by my own gauge about 30 pounds over weight, with my most significant limitation being a bone spur in my neck that causes chronic and, at times, severely acute pain in my left shoulder. I am a prosecutor with a very heavy caseload. Though I have ridden little in the last three months I am used to heavy mileage having ridden a total of 1002 miles during the first six months of 2016.

Diet--emphasize protein and fat consumption and work hard to keep simple carbohydrate consumption in check. Work hard to keep biome in my digestive tract in great shape by eating kim chee or sour kraught daily and taking a probiotic daily along with five spoonfuls of psyllium powder each morning. When training I take creatine monohydrate, a senior men's vitamin, B12 and D supplements and fish oil pills.

Exercise- Tabata Protocol five mornings a week, some days using heavy bag punching, other days using Farmer's Walk intense intervals--three days a week add in heavy quadricep curls--plan to put in short sessions of barefoot jogging three days a week.

Riding--Shoot for riding 30-50 miles a week with at least 85% of that being at a trot.

This is not much of an exercise routine for a twenty year old athlete but it serves me well. I am only putting this out as an example of my training regimen. I am sure that others will find other regimens that work better for them.

The bottom line is that the better condition you are in the more you will enjoy riding and the more your horse will enjoy being ridden.

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