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Don't you ever get sore when you ride for a long time?
- K. C.
Actually, I never have gotten sore. Tired, yes, but not sore. I think
it's a result of at least four things:
Here's the proof of the pudding: Even at age 63, I finished the 60 mile trail ride from Grand Rapids to the Effie Rodeo (in brutal heat) with nary a sore spot or bit of stiffness. Several of the younger riders, however, ignored the tips listed above and had sore rear ends and/or painful knees by the second day on the trail. Adjust your stirrups to the correct length and follow the tips I've just shared, and you'll have a comfortable ride!
Good riding technique and posture. Keeping the heels down, pushing
the chest slightly forward, and a slight forward-and-back motion at the
hips all combine to take a lot of the impact out of the ride.
Finding a saddle that fits you and the horse. With all due respect
to the mail-order folks, I can't imagine how you can buy a comfortable
saddle sight unseen. I tried more than two dozen saddles (and rejected
many more just by looking at them) before I found the right one for Willy
and me. A Western saddle is designed to be a cowhand's mobile office, and
- when properly fitted and adjusted - it should be at least as comfortable
as any secretary's chair.
Common sense about how much you and your horse can take. I like
to pull up every 15 or 20 minutes to give myself and my mount a break.
You wouldn't like it if I made you carry a 20-pound sack for 10 or 15 miles
without a break. That's what you're asking of your horse on just an easy
afternoon's ride. Being considerate of your horse will benefit both of
you. (By the way, except on a forced march, U.S. Cavalry regulations called
for ending a day's ride after 20 to 25 miles, depending on terrain.)
Staying in shape. If your body - especially your legs - is in good
shape, you are much less likely to suffer from sore muscles the next day.
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COPYRIGHT © 1999 BOB LEMEN, GRAND RAPIDS,
MINNESOTA. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
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