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Use these guidelines if you need to adapt your riding fitness program because of changes in your body due to injury or aging.
By Heather Sansom, Owner, Equifitt.com Equestrian Fitness
Heather Sansom is the author of rider fitness ebooks Complete Core Workout for Riders, and a regular columnist in several equestrian publications including Dressage Today. Equifitt.com offers personalized coaching through clinics and convenient online coaching available anywhere. Clinics available include fitness, yoga and fitness, and sport-psychology and fitness. You can get a free subscription to monthly rider fit tips, or download the ebooks at Equifitt.com.
In the December issue of Dressage Today, 2010 Alltech World Equestrian Games competitor Bonny Bonnello (Canada) shared her comeback story as an older athlete bouncing back from major joint replacement surgery in "Back in the Game." Sometimes as riders, it seems that we find ourselves reaching the understanding we've been seeking for years, only to find our body isn't keeping up. The rules have changed. You may have prepared to ride using your body a certain way, but an injury, aging or other circumstance change the rules on you.
Sometimes I see riders at this stage getting frustrated. Often other people don’t see the changes- but you know they’re there. There is usually an adaptation curve. It looks a little like the grief cycle: denial, anger, blame, acceptance and moving on. The quicker you can move through to constructive solutions, the better.
Some people find it useful to think of changes as managing your performance effectively. You can be active as a rider well into decades most people have long ceased to practice other sports. If you are competitive or a professional rider, trainer or coach, you have very solid vested interest in doing whatever you need to do to ride, teach and train for as many years as you can. If your riding is more about developing yourself or your horse for your own sense of achievement, or because it’s your passion but you aren’t competitive, you still want to enjoy it for as long as you can...
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