Ready to Ride?

Your Physical Fitness and Condition

Blue Sky Sage horseback rides are an active, faster-paced type of horseback adventure. There are not many rides of this type available in the United States and while there are probably several reasons for this, one of the main ones is the fact that participants on these trips really need to be in better than average physical condition. In fact, many guest ranches and pack outfits have had to start using more draft-type horses in their riding programs to accommodate their customers, who are bigger and heavier than ever before. Nearly all other guest ranch, trail ride and pack trip companies allow riding only at the walk, which can be done for short periods of time if the rider is not in the best physical condition. 
 
Horseback riding is a physical activity in and of itself, even at a slow walk. It requires that you have control of your upper body, good strength in your legs and the ability to control the movement of your body while you are on the horse. If you don't have control of your body up there, you are at risk for coming off the horse or at the very least, injuring the horse by rocking around on his back or pounding on him at a trot. Horses don't like pain any more than we do and they will respond to protect themselves if they are being hurt. 

Physical Conditioning = CORE STRENGTH!

      You need to be in above average physical and mental condition and lead an active lifestyle to ride successfully on a Blue Sky Sage horseback adventure. We highly recommend workouts that include Pilates and/or yoga, to build your core strength and breathing. One of the very best workouts for building core strength is walking/hiking uphill, or using a step-climber machine as part of your exercise in the gym. We highly recommend the practice of core building and awareness as explained in a neat little book by Tom Nagel entitled "Zen & Horseback Riding: Applying the Principles of Posture, Breath and Awareness to Riding Horses", Second Edition, Foreward by Sally Swift. This little gem is the best guide to explaining the importance of core strength as it relates to riding, and how to engage and build those muscles.
 
Your body proportions play a big role in how you sit a horse as well. It is very difficult for an overweight person that carries that weight in the top part of their torso to ride properly at any gait, particularly if you are short-legged too; the effect is that of a top-heavy load that is precariously perched up high that rocks and pounds right on top of a horse's back, causing pain and usually injury to the spine, shoulders, hips and legs of the horse. Generally, women should weigh no more than 160 pounds if you are 5'5" or less in height, relative to your overall physical condition, stamina, body type, etc. Taller women have a little bit more leeway, but only related to proportions of your body type, up to about 175 pounds. Men should not be over 180 pounds if you are 5'7" or less in height and no more than 230 pounds if you are taller, again in relation to your overall physical fitness level and body proportions.
The other issue that plays into the physical fitness requirements is one of fairness. Because these rides are advertised and sold as active, faster-paced adventures, the majority of our customers meet the physical requirements to safely and successfully enjoy the week. Persons who are not physically capable of keeping up and riding correctly hold the rest of the group back, and if someone is not in the best physical condition or does not have the necessary riding skills, it can create a dangerous situation for every rider, the horses and the staff. In other words, it's not fair to everyone else on the ride if someone has overexposed themselves physically and the rides are compromised for the rest of the guests.
 
For any Blue Sky Sage ride, it is imperative that as a rider, you honestly assess your physical capabilities before you book a Wyoming horseback riding trip. These rides are designed to offer physically fit riders the opportunity to ride at faster gaits across wide-open country.  Don't hesitate to call us at 307-260-7990 and talk about your physical condition, we'll be happy to help you assess your skills and ability to enjoy a Blue Sky Sage ride safely and successfully.
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