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My wife rode horses while pregnant without any issues, but that was over 15 years ago. Now our older daughter is pregnant, and more than one friend has warned her that she shouldn’t ride her horse. I decided to research the issue to provide her with all the information she needs to make an educated decision.
You can ride a horse while pregnant, but you must consider your doctor’s advice, your horse’s temperament, and your riding experience, along with many other factors. Your doctor may advise against riding if you have a high-risk pregnancy. and it’s best to be cautious.
Horse owners want and often need to ride their horses for a variety of reasons. But you and your baby’s safety and health are most important so let’s look at the pros and cons of riding horses when you’re pregnant.
Can you ride a horse pregnant?
Over the years, “whether horse-riding during pregnancy is good or not” has been a common question—expectant mothers that typically ride debate whether they should continue riding.
However, we know it is vital to keep yourself physically active during pregnancy. But some concerns and questions are associated with riding while pregnant. Here are few common questions that come to mind:
- Will my baby be healthy?
- Will I be a good mom if I’m doing riding while pregnant?
- Is it OK to exercise and horse ride during pregnancy?
- Can I safely ride while I’m pregnant?
Apart from this, some concerns and questions surround the new mothers. So, today we will try to answer all those questions that can help pregnant women.
Is it safe to ride a horse during pregnancy?
I know there are many mothers out there who love riding, and it’s not only part of their routine; it’s their physical workout for the day. But how safe it is to keep riding during pregnancy.
So, the answer to this question is that women can do horse riding while pregnant but with caution. However, it varies from case to case, and you should keep yourself prepared for the worst outcomes.
Be careful while riding:
Pregnant women who ride daily need to be aware of their bodies and sensitive to changes. Riding can cause a miscarriage or premature birth.
Experienced female equestrians are typically in touch with their bodies and notice the slightest changes in riding ability so they should take precautions to ensure their safety.
Above all, most professional riders are aware of the risk, and they work to build pelvic muscle strength. As a result of this strength, they can deal with the motion of moving horses while pregnant.
However, not all riders are at their level, but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue to ride. It would be best to decide based on your personal medical history because every woman’s health, skills, strengths, and weaknesses are different.
So, many factors make every pregnancy unique and different. Thus, before getting into this, the first thing to do is get approval from your doctor. If he clears you to ride, then the ball is strictly in your court, and you need to weigh the risks and benefits of riding pregnant.
Risks involved with horse riding.
If your doctor isn’t satisfied and doesn’t give you the green light to ride, you should heed his advice and quit riding until you have the baby. The doctor has the training and experience to make this decision.
You should stop riding if your doctor thinks it is unsafe for you. However, If your doctor clears you to ride, you should consider a few of the risks before making a final decision because every person’s horse and body are different.
Here are some risks you need to consider that are associated with the riding:
- The danger of falling off
- Risk of being kicked in the stomach
- If you have a history of miscarriages, then you should reconsider your decision.
Moreover, there is much less protection for the baby after the first trimester, which we will get into in more detail below. But this is something to consider if you’ve already passed the first trimester.
Don’t begin riding horses for the first time when you’re pregnant.
We mentioned earlier that it’s recommended to watch pregnant women closely if they are riding. But if it’s your first time and you want to give this a try, then stop yourself.
We all know that horse riding is a sport and works many different muscles, plus it requires skills. So, it would be best to think again before taking a horse’s reins in your hands.
According to the experts’ advice, a pregnant woman should avoid activities that can cause abdominal injuries. According to research reported by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, trauma is the number one cause of non-obstetrical maternal deaths in the United States.
Also, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists warn women should avoid activities with a high risk of falling, and specifically list horseback riding along with snow skiing, surfing, and off-road cycling.
But if you are an accomplished and a professional rider, you can understand the risk and are not likely to put yourself in a dangerous position on a horse, so the risks involved in low.
It is vital to keep yourself physically active during pregnancy, and there is nothing better than horse riding. Moreover, a pregnant lady can control the stress and take care of the emotional well-being through riding.
There are still many other perspectives on this issue, so let’s dive in a little deeper.
Horse riding during pregnancy
I covered some aspects of riding while pregnant, but I thought it would be beneficial to examine horse riding risks during each trimester.
You’ll be happy to know there are some benefits of riding while pregnant. So, let’s start to learn about these:
1st trimester: You are good to go
So far, we’ve discussed the dangers of riding, primarily because of the risk of falling. But in the first trimester, you are all set to go because the baby is protected inside the bony pelvic girdle.
In simple words, your body provides an extra level of protection if you fall. In the first trimester, your helmet should be your first friend. However, if you aren’t wearing a helmet, you are still putting your baby at risk.
So, the crux is that you can ride in the first trimester (with permission from your doctor), but you have to act responsibly. It’s vital to keep your child protected, wear a helmet, and only ride a safe horse.
Horse riding: 2nd trimester
Now we head towards the 2nd trimester, where the body of pregnant women continually changes. However, in this period of the pregnancy, many things happen that affect the body’s stability. We are going to elaborate on these situations in-depth in the following sub-headings:
In the 2nd trimester, the baby starts growing, and you need to change your lifestyle. However, at this time baby weighs around 2 pounds. It would be best if you were extra cautious during this time because it’s easy to lose your balance because of the extra weight you’re carrying.
As you approach the end of the second trimester, your baby bump is likely pretty substantial and, making it hard and uncomfortable for the riding. It may be time to hang up the spurs.
In the 2nd trimester, your body releases high doses of hormones that help pelvic, hip joints, and muscles. As a result, it is easier for the body to stabilize the baby bump.
However, it doesn’t only work on your pelvic area. But it works on all the joints and muscles of the body, and it affects the balance that makes horse riding difficult and uncomfortable.
Seasonal risks of horse riding.
Seasonal and environmental risk is also essential, and you have to consider them while making the decision. By the word seasonal risks we mean, mud, snow, or other challenging situations.
Rough terrain and severe weather may give you more challenges than usual. So, your decision to ride or not should take into consideration these factors.
For instance, if there are snow and slippery conditions, you need to cancel your ride or make necessary adjustments. If you begin to find riding difficult, you may end up with complications such as:
- Joint pain
- Back pain
- Less protection of the baby
- The threat of falling due to bumpy rides
There are risks associated with horse riding in the second trimester beyond just falling from the horse. So if the weather or conditions aren’t ideal, it would be best to avoid riding.
Horse riding: 3rd trimester:
The third trimester is the crucial period, and you need to take proper care of yourself. Thus, most of the women stop riding during this period, and physicians recommend women avoid horse riding.
During the third trimester, the risk of falling and damage increases. As a result of severe injuries, you may lose your child. But it doesn’t mean that you have to put a pause on all equine activities, and you can’t touch your horse, but you do need to stay out of the saddle.
However, professional riders spend most of their time with other trainers to improve their skills. It is the best time to observe, learn, and later you can practice all those skills.
Moreover, you can remain in touch with your horse; it may improve your relationship with your favorite animal. Above all, spending time with your horse doing groundwork and relaxing has a calm and soothing effect.
As a result, it will give your child a warmth that a baby can feel inside the womb.
|1st Trimester||2nd Trimester||3rd trimester|
|Condition||Immense physiological changes where blood vessels and uterus enlarge||Mother and child both experience dramatic changes, and weight gain affects balance and center of gravity||Baby starts growing that affects the body’s stability, and add the risk of injury|
|Horse riding precautions||You can do horse riding if your doctor recommends||Body changes, so you should avoid riding||Time to stop horse riding|
Now, you need to remember that you are making decisions for two. So, it would help if you consider the pros and cons before making any decision. But you don’t need to worry if you can’t return into the saddle for some time.
Because you will have an opportunity to get involved in other activities, as a result, you will build a better relationship with your horse and stay calm and focused on what’s important, your baby’s health and well-being.
Non-riding options for pregnant women
Women can indulge themselves in horse riding in the first and 2nd trimester. But things start changing at the start of 3rd trimester. So, in this period, you have to decide how you want to interact with your animal.
Here are some activities that allow you to spend quality time with your horse when you can’t ride:
- Teach your horse some tricks: You can use this time to teach some cool tricks to your horse. For instance, teach your horse how to give a pose to the camera, sit or stand on your command. I know you would love to see these cool changes in your horse.
- Lunge your horse: When you lunge a horse, you move it around you in a circle on the end of a long lead rope, called a lunge line. Lunge training helps your horse burn off energy and teaches obedience. It will help you understand the horse better, and later it will benefit you once you are back at saddle.
- Liberty training: Liberty training is a unique method of training your horse without using ropes or force; it takes patience. But there is nothing better than improving your relationship with the horse. So, use this time to enhance engagement through liberty training. As a result of this activity, you can keep yourself physically and mentally active.
Above all, you can spend the time of 3d trimester by indulging yourself in yoga. I know it’s not related to horses. But yoga will help bring flexibility to the body, and it will be easy for you to resume riding.
Benefits of horse riding for body and mind during pregnancy.
The decision of the riding depends on the rider, preferably after a discussion with a doctor. But horse riding has so many benefits that directly relate to mental and physical health. Here we are mentioning some:
Physical and mental health benefits of horse riding
Like other forms of exercise, horse riding helps in the reduction of fluids that builds varicose veins. Moreover, it increases your strength and stamina for labor pain and delivery.
Many physical and mental benefits are associated with riding. Most importantly, with horse riding, a pregnant woman can provide strength to the pelvic floor muscles.
Apart from this, in pregnancy, a woman goes through different changes in her body. However, in this situation, she needs flexibility and body strength to handle all these changes. These are some of the benefits of riding horses:
- If you stick with horse riding during pregnancy, it keeps you feeling normal and maintains your sense of identity.
- It has positive impacts on mental health.
- As a result of good mental health, you don’t feel stressed or depressed.
- Above all, a healthy mind gives you the strength to deal with anxiety and mood swings.
- If you keep yourself busy riding every day, it will help you get a good night’s sleep.
In short, if your mental health is good, it positively impacts your physical health as well. So, spending time with your horse is very good for the body, brain, and emotional health. Apart from this, a less stressed mother has a low cortisol level, vital for the baby’s well-being and health.
If you are horse riding, you get the benefits of a workout—some physical trainer rate horseback riding equals a 30-minute exercise routine.
This means that riding meets all the needs of intense workouts. For a pregnant woman, it is vital to stay balanced in the saddle. But for this, you are required to use your core muscles.
Horse riding is one of those exercises that work on the body to build core strength. I wrote an article on this topic you may find beneficial: The 7 Ways Horse Riding Is Amazing Exercise
Moreover, you can involve yourself in exercises like walk, yoga, swimming, or any other activity vital for your well-being.
Guide to horse riding while pregnant.
After reading the above conversation, now you are well aware of the situation. So, the decision is yours based on your doctors recommendation and the risk your willing to accept.
If you decide to ride here are some more things you need to consider and and is beneficial information.
I’ve already explained that seasonal risk could make horse riding dangerous for a pregnant rider. For instance, if the riding path is muddy or slippery, you skip riding that day because of the risk of your horse falling or you falling from your horse because it slips in the mud or on ice.
But regardless of the terrain or conditions, if you have a history of miscarriage, keep yourself away from all physical activities, including horse riding. But this advice should have been given to you by your doctor.
Choose to ride a proper horse.
People who are already in the world of horse riding know horses have different personalities, abilities, training, and temperaments. So, some horses are suitable for riding, but other ones aren’t.
However, while deciding the horse, you should either know the horse well or only ride one that someone you trust recommends, don’t take chances riding a horse you don’t know.
If you know your horse well, then there would be fewer chances of accidents. But if you don’t know anything about the horse, then you should avoid riding.
How long after childbirth can you ride?
Every birth and body is different from another. So, if you want to return to horses, then read your body to make a decision. Some women have C-sections or complications.
If you are one of those, you shouldn’t return to riding until you are ready for all this. Here are some tips that will help to learn when you can return to riding.
- The first thing that you should do is listen to your body. If you can’t bear heavy exercises or facing a lack of sleep, then it’s not a good sign. Horse riding demands proper focus and energy. So, give your body time and attention to recover. However, at this time, you involve yourself in moderate physical activities to build stamina.
- You are returning from pregnancy, and your body deserves praise for this. But you don’t need to push and mold your body in a certain way. At first, there could be some challenges, and you have to learn ways to deal with them.
In short, things will take some time to develop patience, determination, and common sense to achieve the goals that you used to do. Also, rely on your doctor for advice. Be open and honest when describing how you feel and when they think it’s safe, they will release you to start riding again.