Riding Horses and Doing Yoga

Had a riding lesson on Sunday, followed by a 4-hour yoga workshop. It was such a good day. I wore my legs out riding the horse, and at the workshop only did 1 hour of yoga, but both were great workouts and I am sore today. But it's a good sore. I was really tired last night, and fell asleep while watching Arrested Development on Netflix, but I felt SO GOOD.

Horses are amazing. There's something about sitting on that saddle, swaying back and forth as they take their steps, communicating with them by just pulling the reins a little bit, or looking down, or squeezing certain muscles. It's amazing that you can communicate with an animal by making very subtle changes to the way you are sitting on them. They read every muscle twitch, squeeze, or release. They can tell when you are gripping the reins and when you're relaxing your grip. They know which way to move when squeezing your legs a certain way. They know to slow down when you look down because they're trying to be careful. No wonder people rode horses as their primary mode of transportation for a long time. Hell, I'd do it now...If it didn't take so long...And weren't so dangerous.

In my lessons, we've just been walking and trotting, nothing major. But my instructor yesterday had me trot in circles, literally. It's hard to actually keep the horse trotting while going in a circle, oddly enough. He would slow down and get lazy, or sometimes he'd think what I was doing with my body meant he should slow down. You have to be careful about what you're doing, because as I said before, they interpret certain things as commands. But when you do finally have that synchronicity with the horse, you're doing all the right things, and they're responding in the way they're supposed to, it's smooth, and magical. I just love it!

Also, because you are using so many muscles to guide the horse, you are working every part of your body at once. I think swimming is the only other activity that will do that. So my stomach is sore, my legs are super sore, my arms are sore, my shoulders are sore...And doing yoga after riding a horse doesn't help with the soreness factor either. Yesterday evening my legs were shaky, but when I got home, I lounged around and watched shows on Netflix. I felt I had deserved it.

So in case you can't tell, I've been feeling better. I wish I could do that much exercise every day, but I don't know how I would make that work. I also wish I could take riding lessons every week, but I just can't afford it right now, so I go every other week. Being on a horse just clears your mind, even though you are thinking about lots of things at once. It's hard to get carried away thinking about your everyday life when you're on a horse, at least, at first, when you're learning (or re-learning in my case). But I think I could use mind-clearing activities a lot more. Yoga and riding are the perfect combination, it seems.


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