Thursday, September 26, 2013

Riding as Exercise - It's POSSIBLE!

Hi, Hi. I'm here and alive and well.

So it's time for my bi-annual update! I kid, I'm just horrible at updating regularly.  We know this by now because I think I introduce each entry the same way.

Recently, my riding buddies and I have been on the subject of riding as exercise.  I know most all of us have come across some non-horse person that says, "What?? You just sit up there...You can't tell me that riding is a sport/exercise!"  Once I'm over my feelings of 'I-wanna-reach-over-and-choke-you', I usually defend myself by saying something unintelligible about "posting the trot, or hanging on for dear life, or you try it! You try it!" Pishaaw.

Lately on our rides, we've been tracking our distance, MPH (So fun), riding time etc. through an app called Runtastic.  There's either a free version, or you can pay for the full "Pro" app for $4.99. (Read: I am a sucker) Although mostly difficult for us to remember to turn on at the beginning of our ride (#FAIL), this app is super handy for tracking ALL sorts of data as you ride, but more importantly, is set up for HORSE RIDING. Yes. How cool. Go download it! (Sponsor me?)  At the end of your ride, it also tells you how many calories you burned during your ride.  Calories...wait - me, or the horse???

A recent ride of mine. Yes, 26mph, my horse is fast! :)

After a major brain fart, we deduced that this must be OUR calories, because a horse is much larger and therefore would burn MUCH more than 400 or so calories during a strenuous mountain trail ride (that would surely kill me if I attempted to do it sans horse).  Does that make sense, anyone with an education?  Of course, because we're big blabbers, us girls, we got on the topic of how many calories do we burn each day we come to the barn?  This of course, the question, because it determines how crappy we'll be able to eat & drink - guilt free - following a trip to the barn. Hey, I didn't say I was training for the Olympics, here.

So this app tells us one thing, but how about the interwebs? ...Since everything on the internet is true.

Google and The Ultimate Horse Site tells me the following:

Calories Burned in Horse Activities
Whoever thinks horse riding and care isn't excercise never owned a horse! Between the shoveling and the grooming and the training, you're burning up a lot of calories-- for example, riding at a trot burns more calories than a brisk walk!

Horse Activities - Calories burned per hour:
ACTIVITY:For 130 lb person:For 155 lb person:For 190 lb person:
Shoveling354 cal/hr422 cal/hr518 cal/hr
General Horse Riding:236 cal/hr281 cal/hr345 cal/hr

Riding horse at the walk:
148 cal/hr176 cal/hr216 cal/hr
Riding horse at the trot:384 cal/hr457 cal/hr561 cal/hr
Riding horse at a gallop:472 cal/hr563 cal/hr690 cal/hr
Horse Grooming354 cal/hr422 cal/hr518 cal/hr
Baling hay/cleaning barn:472 cal/hr563 cal/hr690 cal/hr
Shoveling Grain325 cal/hr387 cal/hr474 cal/hr
Fencing354 cal/hr422 cal/hr518 cal/hr
Polo472 cal/hr563 cal/hr690 cal/hr
Hiking, cross country (if your horse is hard to catch...)354 cal/hr422 cal/hr518 cal/hr
Brisk walking 4 MPH236 cal/hr281 cal/hr345 cal/hr
Walking, carrying 15 lb load:207 cal/hr246 cal/hr302 cal/hr

Burns more calories than a brisk walk??? NOW we're talking - says the girl who hates exercising, and loves her ponies.  Now, granted, you have to use your noggin, because you WON'T be trotting or galloping for an entire hour straight, but this IS a good ballpark for gauging your ride overall. Which is handy, because it's about how I calculate my calorie intake.  You know, "Well, I didn't LICK the bag after I ate all the chips, so that saved me 100 calories or so." It works, try it! Best diet ever - take that, Dr. OZ!

So I guess, if you have a dinosaur flip phone still, or don't usually bring your phone along on rides (UMM, you should), you can always go home and use your stone tablet and chisel to calculate your approximate calories burned on your ride. How COOL, Brianne! Thanks for sharing. AND, as an added bonus, next time someone tries to talk smack about riding not being a "SPORT," pull this up on your phone, hand it to them, say BOOYAH!, and walk away. But don't forget to come back and get your phone. You'll need it for Runtastic, afterall.  Am I bitter?

Let me know if you end up downloading and using the app (two very different things, I've found). I think it's worth a try!

Happy Trails!
The Horse Junkie

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