Pregnancy is a very special time. And above all, it’s a very personal and individual experience, which may be perceived very differently by different women. During this time, every rider inevitably asks herself whether and to what extent she can still get into the saddle. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. It depends on so many factors. Just to name a few – personal emotions and worries, potential medical concerns, the level of training and character of the horse, or the rider’s skill set and physical condition. In general, moderate exercise during pregnancy has many health benefits. It lowers high blood pressure and increases oxygen supply. It can help avoid or relieve back pain. A good level of fitness and body awareness is associated with fewer complications during pregnancy and birth.nNevertheless, horse riding has an inherent risk and even the calmest horse is never 100% predictable.
Riding during pregnancy is always a personal decision
Whether you want to continue to ride during pregancy or not is a personal choice and should always be made in consultation with a physician or midwife. We are all different – so are our horses and our personal situations. Maybe you feel fine riding a certain horse, but don’t want to ride others. Maybe you don’t feel good about riding certain movements or in certain situations – for example in competitions, jumping training or lessons. Jessica is an experienced top-level athlete, effortlessly winning the recent World Cup Final whilst six months pregnant. „My body tells me, what is ok and what isn’t. I just have to listen to my body and be really honest with myself. I’m taking a break from competitions now. At the moment, I still feel very very good, but sitting trot and extended trot for example doesn’t feel so great – so I’m not doing that anymore! It’s important that I don’t fool myself, but that I’m honest and that I listen to my body.”
Listen to your own body
Being honest and listening sometimes means taking a step back and having to stop something that you love doing for a while. “Fortunately, we have an amazing team who I really trust. This allows me to take a step back but still lets me help from the ground.” Every woman should decide for herself what works for her and what does not. Other people often offer a lot of contradicting advice and it’s best to free yourself from that. “Other people trying to tell you what you should or should not do, is not something exclusive to being pregnant I think” emphasizes the double Olympic Champion. “You must have confidence in yourself and your own decisions. Naturally I haven’t always had that self-confidence. At the moment, I trust myself and my body very much and of course my first pregnancy also gives me a bit more security, so that I know for myself what works and what does not. And through the regular medical check-ups, I get reassurance from my doctor. It’s a balance and I’m basically trying to be reasonably unreasonable.”
Are you ready to get back into riding after pregnancy? Our fitness programme DressurFit® will get you into shape and fit for the saddle!