Horseback riding is a highly physical activity, and it's a great source of exercise. But sometimes riding leaves us sore - whether we've fallen off or just overdone it a bit, achy muscles are part of the game. These four methods can help you to minimize how sore you get from horseback riding so that you'll be ready to saddle up again soon.
Stretching is a great way to relieve pain and make yourself more comfortable after a ride. For the greatest benefit, stretch before you even mount up - this will help to prepare your muscles for the work that they must perform while you ride and it can ultimately prevent becoming sore from horseback riding.
It's very important to stretch after you ride, especially if you were riding for an unusually long time. Stretching helps to relieve tension that may have built up in your muscles while you rode, setting you up for a smoother post-ride recovery. When you stretch, focus on targeting the major muscle groups in your legs, arms, back, and neck. Perform stretches gradually and never push yourself beyond a point where you're comfortable - doing this can actually cause injury.
Icing your muscles and joints after a ride can help to relieve pain and prevent you from becoming sore from horseback riding. Ice can reduce swelling and helps your body to recover. Never place ice directly on your body; always wrap it in a towel so that you don't damage your skin. Ice each area for no longer than 20 minutes at a time. You can repeat the icing every two hours if needed.
Use Pain Relievers
If you're suffering from strong muscle aches due to being sore from horseback riding, taking a pain reliever may help give you some relief. Another option is to use a topical pain reliever, like a muscle rub, which is designed to cool and soothe your muscles. Be sure that you don't overuse either type of pain reliever, and consult with your doctor to make sure it's okay to take these pain relievers if you have any medical conditions or are currently taking other types of medications.
Get a Massage
Massage is a wonderful tool for relieving muscle pain and assisting with muscle recovery. If possible, try to schedule a session with a massage therapist after tough rides or long events. If you can't make it to a massage therapist every time, you can do some basic massage strokes on your own legs and arms.
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If you ever experience an injury or pain which is unusually strong or doesn't go away, be sure to go to your doctor for an evaluation. Most of the time aches and pains from riding will go away as your body recovers over the next few days.